The 3 Brands – Business, Personal, and Professional
When it comes to branding most people think of two kinds of brands – Business and Personal. I think there is actually an important third brand that I call Professional. Let’s take a look at the differences between the three.
The Business Brand
The idea that a business needs to have a compelling brand is an almost universally accepted fact. Think of Apple or Nike – both are solid, well-curated brands that work hard to increase sales. Each new year brings articles listing the “Best” or “Most Valuable” business brands and there are lots of great books out there about business branding.
Here are 7 of my favorite business branding books:
The Brand Gap: How to Bridge the Distance Between Business Strategy and Design by Marty Neumeier
Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Seth Godin
Branding: In Five and a Half Steps by Michael Johnson
Designing Brand Identity: An Essential Guide for the Whole Branding Team by Alina Wheeler
Creating a Brand Identity: A Guide for Designers by Catharine Slade-Brooking
Building a Story Brand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen by Donald Miller
What Great Brands Do: The Seven Brand-Building Principles that Separate the Best from the Rest by Denise Lee Yohn
The Personal Brand
Through my company Spark to Bonfire, I have been working with clients building both business brands and personal brands since 2015. Over that time, personal branding has become more popular, better understood, and a very helpful component to career success. As I define it with my clients – a compelling personal brand helps people get to know you.
Building a compelling personal brand allows you to impact the story that is told when people talk about you. How you present yourself online can have a positive or negative influence on how people perceive you, whether they be prospective employers, investors, or even romantic partners.
How you present yourself is important and I mentor people on how to do this effectively by being selective about sharing the good stuff, identifying the stuff that should be left out to avoid damaging your personal brand, and making sure that you are never inauthentic. People can smell the stench of inauthenticity a mile away.
The Professional Brand
This third brand I believe is often overlooked but is of vital importance to anyone growing a new creative business, such as writers, speakers, influencers, artists and many more.
Just like a big business must cultivate a successful brand image to garner fans and sell their products, so too must a creative person build an effective professional presence online to attract fans, buyers, and make sales.
The only difference is, with a professional brand, the big thing you are selling is YOU. A professional brand tells us about you (personally) and is a tasteful and effective way to market your professional endeavor.
As a means to illustrate these points and to demonstrate the possibilities of how to achieve these goals, in my next 3 Personal Brand Wisdom articles I will share real life examples of 3 different successful authors; an author who has a compelling personal brand, an author who has a compelling professional brand that also tells us about her life and lets us get to know her personally, and an Author who has an effective professional brand that contains very little personal information (some of us are interested in maintaining a little more privacy and that is ok).
The growing awareness that creative people need build their brands as much as companies do has led to the publication of a bunch of excellent branding books that would be most helpful to someone like a writer, or a public speaker needing to build a compelling brand to assist them with making a living (or a fortune) within their chosen craft.
While many of these books show up in the “personal brand” category and even talk about helping you build your personal brand, I suggest that these books are actually teaching people how to build what I call a professional brand. A professional brand is most simply, taking your personal brand to the next level for business purposes.
Here are 4 books I love that are in what I call the Professional Brand category:
From Individual to Empire: A Guide to Building an Authentic and Powerful Brand by Laura Bull
Be: A No-Bullsh*t Guide to Increasing Your Self Worth and Net Worth by Simply Being Yourself by Jessica Zweig
On Brand: Shape Your Narrative. Share Your Vision. Shift Their Perception by Aliza Licht
Followed: The Content Creator’s Guide to Being Seen, Facing Judgment, and Building an Authentic Personal Brand by Amanda Bucci
The Personal Brand vs The Professional Brand In a Nutshell
The wisdom lies in knowing the difference. Basically, if you want to earn money through your endeavors, then you need to cultivate a professional brand.
If you want to advance your career and be attractive to potential mates & potential employers, and you are not trying to sell something or intentionally build a fan base, you need a compelling personal brand.
Both personal brands and professional brands are great tools. However just because you need one doesn’t necessarily mean that you currently need the other.
A compelling personal brand is easier to build than a professional brand. An effective personal brand consists of highlighting yourself in a tasteful, generally positive, interesting, and authentic way.
If you need a website to highlight and maybe even sell your content, you are building a professional brand. Then you create an online presence that is sort of like an artist’s portfolio – a showcase for what you create. Say you’re a photographer, you’d want to regularly post examples of your best photos to show what you do best.
The Personal Brand Wisdom Article Series
This article is the first in a series of articles I am writing about personal branding. Go to https://www.sparktobonfire.com/personal-brand-wisdom/ for more information.
Forthcoming Book ~ You Can Get There Faster: How to Build a Successful Personal Brand
I am currently writing my 4th book – You Can Get There Faster: How to Build a Successful Personal Brand. To sign up to receive advance info about this book when it is ready to be released, go to this link here:
Spark to Bonfire