"Should I build a personal brand or a business brand for my service business?" 🤔
If you're asking yourself this question, I'm assuming you run a professional service business.
That means you're in the relationship business.
You pitch your services to clients, win them over, and personally carry out or oversee the work.
And when your offer relies on relationship-building, it isn't smart to be faceless.
For firms who have been around for a while, Let's begin with the benefits of a hybrid approach to branding your firm.
The Hybrid Strategy: Best for Service Providers Who Want to Scale
The hybrid strategy involves having a company name and brand that is not your personal name.
You use "we" instead of "I" in your copy, giving the impression that your business is larger than it is.
If you're a firm that outsources subject matter experts to support you in a project, this makes total sense.
Hybrid brands show their founders face, because well, they're the face of the brand.
You're the one who has spent your career building your network and reputation.
Your peers refer clients to you, the person, not your business name.
While you can have a logo, it should be obvious you're the founder, so get your personal brand photoshoot scheduled, stat.
I help professional service firms pivot their brand to fit the goals for their business—strategy, website, photos—I've got you covered.
Is a Hybrid Brand Right for Me?
Hybrid brands have room to scale. They're set up to phase out the founder if they want to exit the business in the future.
This approach works best if you're 100% confident in what you want to be known for and the type of company you want to build.
If you just launched your business, have minimal clients, and are still figuring out what you want to be known for, don't build a company brand.
It will distract you. It will stress you out. And heck, it might be totally misaligned with what you want in the future.
When I launched my brand, I thought I wanted to work with SaaS startup founders. Five clients deep, I realized my genius zone was in helping professional service providers. I understand their business best because I'm a professional service provider myself. 😊
So, for the entrepreneurship newbies, I suggest a personal brand.
The Personal Brand: Best for New Entrepreneurs and Thought Leaders
Personal Brand Positioning
Personal brands differ from hybrid brands because your company name, website domain, and content on your website are all written in the first person by you.
This website is an example of a personal brand.
I chose a personal brand because I want to be seen as a subject matter expert for branding services.
I want ideal clients to read this blog and experience how I think. If they resonate with what they read, I get credibility points from them and who knows, a simple post could blossom into a business relationship.
It's tough to do that when you're anonymous.
Is a Personal Brand Right for Me?
Personal branding is ideal for entrepreneurs in their first few years of business. When you're just starting out, the only thing you have is your reputation in your network. Personal branding helps to solidify what you want to be known for.
This approach is also great for service providers in industries where name recognition matters, like real estate and mortgage brokers, or for those who want to build thought leadership, write a book, or become a speaker.
If you don't plan to grow your business beyond yourself, I highly recommend a personal brand.
It eliminates the guesswork when trying to decide what to name your accounts, forces you to write in the first person and develop a point of view on your subject matter expertise.
Human names are more memorable than company names. That's a fact.
Eventually, you might outgrow your personal brand or decide to build a sub-brand beneath your company brand, like Brene Brown.
Your personal brand can coexist alongside a company you own, allowing people to get to know you better if they want to.
The Company Brand: Best for Businesses with Multiple Associates
Company Brand Positioning
A company brand is it's own entity. It has it's own values, mission, and culture that connect employees together.
Unlike hybrid brands, where the founder is an integral part of the businesses brand, company brands are faceless.
You might know senior execs who work for the company, but as a consumer, you feel connected to the company brand itself, not the people running the business.
A prime example of a successful company brand is Apple, where the brand's identity is much more than just Steve Jobs.
Is a Company Brand Right for My Firm?
If your business has multiple associates on payroll and your audience won’t care if they’re working with you or not, it’s best to build a company brand.
Company brands need to be established when you have many people delivering services and representing the company.
A company brand cultivates a culture for your organization; it’s used to attract top talent and influences decisions and processes made internally in the organization.
Company brands are ideal for businesses that want to scale beyond their founder's persona. They create a sense of unity and allow for growth and expansion, without being limited by a single person's expertise or availability.
If your goal is to build a legacy and have your company stand on its own in the long run, a company brand is the way to go.
Ultimately, the choice between a personal brand, a business brand, or a hybrid approach will depend on your unique circumstances and goals.
Take the time to evaluate your current situation, your future plans for growth, and your target audience.
By carefully considering these factors, you'll be better equipped to make the right branding decision for your professional service business.
Want help with that? I offer branding services for professional service providers and firms that want to position their business to align with their growth objectives. It all starts with your Brand Activator.