Should you focus on personal or corporate branding? This expert says both

While the wealth of personal and corporate branding advice is overwhelming, many small business owners are unsure if either are necessary for their company's success.

While the wealth of personal and corporate branding advice is overwhelming, many small business owners are unsure if either are necessary for their company’s success. Greg Monaco is the Founder and CEO of Fearless Brands, and is a renowned coach who helps entrepreneurs use storytelling to grow their enterprises. On this episode of The Small Business Show, he joins host Jim Fitzpatrick to share his advice on personal and corporate branding, the relationship between the two types, and why both are important for leaders to cultivate.

What is branding

In essence, branding is the messaging an individual or entity uses to influence public perception. There are two types of branding; personal and corporate. Personal branding is an expression of the talents, knowledge and character which contribute to one’s professional image, while corporate branding focuses on the traits of a business’s leadership and employee body. Monaco notes that the two are entwined, and that successful leaders leverage both to further their individual and team interests. Referencing the late tech industry legend Steve Jobs, he explains that, “People were interested in what he had to say, and therefore he created more magnetism for Apple…part of the business was built on the back of his own personal brand.”

Why is it important

The way the public views a business or individual can have a massive impact on their success. Companies therefore need solid branding to build and maintain their relationships with customers. Professionals must cultivate their personality and skills to generate opportunities for networking and upwards mobility. Both are necessary to build a loyal following which is motivated to give support.

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How to implement branding strategy

So how do entrepreneurs use branding to their advantage? The tactics can look slightly different depending on their goals. “People want to do business with other people,” notes Monaco. For companies, this means portraying their values and characteristics in a way which the public identifies with. Professionals, on the other hand, must appear relatable but credible to earn the trust of their colleagues and followers. Thankfully, although they can appear unique in practice, the overarching strategies for both personal and corporate branding are identical.

The three steps

Monaco recommends splitting personal and corporate branding development into three parts. First, identify who you are. Determine the purpose or mission you or your business are pursuing. Second, identify who you are serving. Monaco recommends that business owners research their customer’s personalities and behaviors, and be as specific as possible when noting down details. Finally, build a bridge between yourself and the public by using a story. “Bridge building is storytelling,” clarifies Monaco, and it can be done through nearly any medium. By knowing their goals and the personalities of their consumers or colleagues, entrepreneurs and companies can tell stories in a way which align with their sentiments.

Despite their advantages, personal and corporate branding are sadly often overlooked by business leaders. While it would certainly be easier if the success of one’s product or career worked independently from public perception, the fact is that, in today’s technologically connected world, a good image is necessary to business growth. Knowing how to build a brand and grow an audience can be the difference between success and failure.

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