The Difference Between Personal Branding and Business Branding

Typically, when people hear the word “brand” a company or product logo comes to mind. Think Nike swoosh or McDonald’s golden arches. But let me throw a couple of names at you:

  • Kanye West
  • Elon Musk
  • Tabitha Brown
  • Kevin O’Leary (“Mr. Wonderful”)

With each name you undoubtedly conjured up an image, a thought, an opinion, or an emotion. You might have rolled your eyes, shook your head in disgust, or smiled with admiration. Whatever the impression, that, my friend, is the power of personal branding.

A personal brand is, at its core, an individual’s reputation. It encompasses the perceptions, values, and characteristics associated with a person, whether they’re a professional, entrepreneur, influencer, or public figure. Personal branding focuses on cultivating a distinct identity and voice that resonates with an audience, often centered around the individual’s expertise, passions, and experiences. It’s about building trust, credibility, and authenticity in the eyes of others.

Now, a business brand, on the other hand, represents an organization, company, or product. It embodies the values, mission, and identity of the business entity as a whole. Business branding is really about creating a strong, recognizable presence in the market and differentiating the business from competitors.

Personal branding revolves around an individual, while business branding is broader in scope and encompasses the collective efforts and identity of the organization.

That said, an individual’s favorite color as an example, may or may not be the same as that individual’s company or organization colors. I’m not sure, but I don’t think Howard Schultz’s favorite color is green. But green differentiated Starbucks from other coffee houses who typically use brown.

A key difference between personal and business branding lies in their audiences. Personal branding primarily targets individuals, seeking to connect with a specific audience or community on a personal level. It’s about forging meaningful relationships and resonating with people on a human level. For entrepreneurs this is important as 63% of Americans are likely to buy from a person who has built a personal brand.

In contrast, business branding typically targets a broader audience, including customers, stakeholders, investors, and industry peers. It aims to appeal to the collective needs, desires, and preferences of the target market. Research shows 72% of people want brands to be positive contributors to society, while 64% want them to connect with their customers.

As we live in a world of advanced technology, artificial intelligence, and evolving innovation, it’s more important than ever to have a strong personal brand. Cultivating a brand that showcases a relatable human not only stands out but enhances your credibility and brings heightened brand awareness to your business or employer.