Is there a difference between a personal brand and a corporate brand? Quick answer… Yes and no.
A brand originated as a way for farmers and ranchers to identify their livestock when the cattle roamed the open range – often mixing with the herds of other farmers. Over time, the term ‘brand’ took on a corporate meaning starting with the ‘logo’ of a company. More recently branding has taken on a more holistic view of an entire organization, and lately, to include individuals as well.
By a holistic brand, I am referring to being able to identify an entity or individual by their brand attributes and what the brand stands for.
In a corporate sense, a brand means a collection of the organization’s customer perceptions, values (behavior), purpose, corporate social responsibility, performance, market dominance, etc. A corporate brand also implies how valuable their product or service is. With some consumers, showing off a brand on a handbag, watch, car, etc., is a sign to the rest of the world of the perceived status of that individual (or so they think). Some people will even get their body tattooed with the logo of their favorite brand (that’s just weird!).
A personal brand is similar in that it is made up of perceptions, values, purpose, community service, skillsets, (market dominance), etc. A personal brand also implies how valuable the abilities of the person are to others. Some personal brands even have a devout following – like those of rock stars where people will line-up for days just to get tickets to a concert. Some personal brands will have a loyal online following where people will watch their every move (no one has yet to get a tattoo of my brand on their body – to the best of my knowledge that is…).
The difference between a personal brand and a corporate brand is this… Most organizations will be very cognoscente of their brand whereas most people totally ignore their personal brand. Some companies have whole departments dedicated to the brand. Almost everyone I deal with in business has no idea they have a brand.
The biggest difference of all though is that brands involve strategy, attention, and commitment. Most companies have an awareness of that. Most people do not.
So how do you differentiate your personal brand? First, know you have one, then put a focus on building it!
Robert Murray is a Vancouver, BC based Business Strategy Consultant, #1 Best Selling Author, and International Keynote Speaker. For further advice, insight and inspiration on how to unlock your inner leader, follow Robert on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.
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