The advent of social media has led to many large brands having a ‘human’ side to them. Notable examples include the recent support for the Black Lives Matter movement from competing tea brands, or Sainsbury’s endorsement of Pride.
What’s refreshing about this is that these brands are not simply ‘faceless’ – they are not impartial, and they are not afraid to have a singular spokesperson on sensitive issues.
But what about smaller brands, or indeed, one-man bands? Should you stick to corporate values, or should you promote yourself alongside your company?
Understanding the differences between a personal and company brand
You may decide you want to try a little of both – particularly if you’re well-known within your network, but represent a larger company. If you are, consider the individual facets of personal and company brands.
- Are built on published values which are espoused through work culture, professional practice etc.
- Have a collection of digital assets such as a website, logo, typography, tone of voice and more.
- Speak on behalf of a larger group of people, who are expected to uphold the company’s values.
- May stray from strict conventions on tone of voice, vocabulary, formality etc. as outlined in brand guidelines.
- Put the spotlight on one person but may spill over into the reputation of the brand they represent.
- Allow people to build up trust with other people by demonstrating expertise, meeting others in person etc. – which then leads to conversions with the brand they represent.
It’s also crucial to understand that people have good and bad days. One bad mood could lead to a poorly worded social media post, which is likely to be far more damaging if it’s done through a brand’s social media account, than through an individual’s.
The implications for marketers
We’ve seen through bad examples of what individuals can do when they have a brand’s reputation in their hands, such as PureGym’s insensitive Facebook post.
Marketing company brands
If you’re going to market a company brand, you need to ensure that everybody with access to its public-facing content espouses its values. Have an approval process to avoid slip-ups like the above, and to maintain consistency with your audience.
In particular, company social media pages are a bone of contention among marketers. Do they really drive engagement, or will people keep scrolling?
Social media pages, at the very least, give your brand authority. Even if it’s something as simple as having a company icon in your job description on LinkedIn, it will help your brand stand out. They’re also great for sharing announcements, or repurposing content from your personal brand.
Marketing personal brands
Like much of marketing in 2020 and beyond, it’s all about content. You need to demonstrate that you are in fact an expert in your field. You can share your content on your company pages, but it needs to be valuable and credible – otherwise, your audience will keep scrolling.
By all means, add a little personality. Be cheeky. But remember to give users a reason to interact, for example:
- Asking a question
- Citing eye-opening statistics from credible sources
- Sharing opinions based on your own professional experience.
So, which brand is best for me?
If you’re a senior employee or have an overly representative role, for example, a business development job, it may be best to use both. Use your personal brand to make those connections, and back them up with the assets of the company brand – case studies, portfolios and such like.
Otherwise, it’s always key to have a company brand, even if you’re not supporting it with your own voice. This helps you to stand out against your competitors and encourage customer loyalty.
Speak to branding experts in Bolton and Chorley
Need more help getting these brands off the ground? Speak to the Tall Zebra Designs team today.