May 20


Should I Build a Personal Brand or a Business Brand?

I love that technology enables me and other entrepreneurs to work online and run a remote business. I even try and do a lot of my meetings via online tools such as Skype and Hangouts.

So in all this business-building stuff, one reason why people can connect with me online and find me easily on the Internet is because of the brand I’ve built (and am still building!).

I have a blog, am active on social networks of my choosing, and have a generous and engaged following. All stuff that has happened organically over time.

All this wouldn’t have been possible without the ability to build a brand almost-exclusively online. In fact branding is such an important aspect of building a business, that many entrepreneurs agonise over just what kind of brand they should build.

Should they build a personal brand around their name? Should they find a corporate-sounding business name?

Both have pros and cons and since I’ve built both, watch the video below to learn from my experience building a brand online!

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Okay, so now it’s YOUR turn. I want you to tell me in the comments below what kind of products you sell and which brand (personal or business) makes more sense for you.

Video Script

On one hand you’re thinking that a personal brand will give you expert status and will get your name recognized.

On the other hand you’re thinking that a corporate brand will make you appear more professional and will lend you credibility and trust.

So which do you go with?

And yes I’m gonna say it – there’s no right or wrong answer. There’s a lot of factors that go into a decision like this.

And the problem is not just limited to websites, but it also transcends to your other online properties, such as your social media accounts. People wonder whether to setup a Twitter account or a Facebook Page in their own name or under their business name.

So it’s a very real problem most entrepreneurs who are trying to build a personal brand have!

So I’ve built both a corporate brand and a personal brand. And let me tell you what the first rule is.

#1: Don’t be afraid to constantly change and evolve your brand

A brand is a living breathing thing. Your brand will grow and evolve as your business grows and develops. So whatever strategy you go with – personal or business – keep experimenting with it to see if it fits with you are in business right now.

#2: How do you want people to know you?

Do you want folks to think of you as the CEO of Brand XYZ or with your personal brand? It’s a question I struggled with for a long time. My personal instinct was to build a personal brand with my name but I wondered about continuity – if I wasn’t doing the work myself then would people still do business with my “brand”? Then I looked at people who’ve built successful brands using their names – Zig Ziglar, Tony Robbins, Marie Forleo and I noticed they’ve all added a suffix to make their personal brands more professional. So Marie became Marie Forleo International, Tony became Robbins Research international, etc. And so I figured, that I can use a personal brand name and just add a suffix like Inc, or Media or International when it makes sense to do so.

#3: What kind of products and services will you be selling?

Think about what your products are and if they fit in better with a corporate brand or a personal one. Once I knew what I wanted to sell (digital products, courses, e-books) and services I wanted to give (speaking, training, workshops, etc), then I knew that a personal brand fit the bill better. I wanted my name to be associated with trust and quality.

#4: What online assets can you leverage?

I’ve been operating under the name Salma Jafri everywhere online – Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, G+, YouTube, Slideshare and more. I have a healthy amount of followers that I’ve cultivated on each platform.

Wouldn’t it be easier to just leverage that instead of starting from scratch?

#5: Can you maintain 2 brands simultaneously?

And finally, it’s just too much work maintaining and keeping up with more than one brand!!!! Seriously, I hate switching accounts, logging in as a different user, using incognito mode and so on. Even when I managed a few company accounts and used software to keep brands separate, it used to be a logistical nightmare for me and I didn’t enjoy it at all. I’d just rather give my 100% to one brand than spread myself thin trying to multi-manage different brands.

And a bonus point is that I can inject a lot more personality into my personal brand than I could into a corporate name. I was always afraid of sounding too opinionated when I was writing under a corporate brand while writing as just me has given me a greater sense of freedom of expression.

So, hope this helps 🙂

Now I would love to hear what you’re selling and which brand (personal or business) makes more sense for you.

Let me know in the comments below!

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Thank you so much for watching and I’ll see you next week for more content marketing tips.




business brand, CMtips, Entrepreneurs, online branding, personal brand

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  • Great blog post Salma! I agree this is a very serious dilemma even though people think changing/evolving brands until you find a perfect one is some sort of a paranoia or a syndrome!

    I started with (to comment on politics in a lighter mood) in 2008 and (to talk about advertising, PR, brands and other relative stuff) in 2007. I have also been providing consultancy on content marketing and services such as domain, hosting, business emails, website security etc to a handful of clients under another name Janjua Interactive!

    On top of all that, I have a personal brand website that currently serves as my personal blog and re-posts select writings.

    Maintaining four separate brand identities is stressful and has put me in sort of dilemma where I keep thinking of merging all that into one to avoid confusion for my readers and clients. I have another few names registered but haven’t been able to decide on that. Since most people know me by my name online, I might just go with my personal brand and put everything else under it. It could very well be a disaster so that’s why I am putting a lot of thought into it before taking the plunge.

    Best, Farhan!

  • “Maintaining four separate brand identities is stressful” << Just reading that stressed me out Farhan! Consolidation might sound like a risk especially if people are not aware of your personal brand yet, but its like what they say about planting trees: "The best time to start building a personal brand was 10 years ago. The next best time is now." Good luck! 🙂

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