You might not make a distinction between your personal and business brand. Unless you’re selling products, you might not think about branding at all. If so, you aren’t alone. When a new doctor comes to Ekwa Marketing, one of the first questions we ask is, “Do you want to brand yourself, or your practice?” Many are surprised or confused by the question.
Branding is about identity, public image, name recognition, and reputation. A brand name on a product package is just one example. Think of Amazon. It is a retailer, not a manufacturer, but it is one of the most recognizable brands in the world. Now think of Jeff Bezos. Chances are, you recognize the name, and associate it with a specific persona. You likely know that he is the founder of Amazon, but his image, his personal brand, is separate from that of the company.
Personal branding opens opportunities
Keep your opportunities open. For example, one of Ekwa Marketing’s strengths is our extensive experience in a very specialized niche. Our team understands the intricacies and unique challenges of the medical industry. While I take great pride in founding and leading Ekwa, my personal skills and interests are not limited to medical marketing.
What would happen if I decided to found a new corporation, in a drastically different industry, or start a coaching or consulting business? I have a strong professional network, and a reputation as a thought leader in the business community.
My associates are well aware that I am CEO of Ekwa, but they also know that it is not my only successful endeavor. Therefore, I would likely get a lot of support. However, if I were simply known as “the Ekwa guy,” then my new venture would probably be met with considerable speculation.
Are you making the same mistake as a coach or consultant? The TRUTH, most coaches and consultants brand on their own name and in a specific way – which can hurt then when they pivot (or even when they go to sell their business, because in that case, their business identity and personal brand are the same).
Your brand is not for sale
Separate branding is especially important if there is a chance that you may sell or close your business. Once you no longer own or operate the company, you will lose the benefits of its brand strength. Your personal brand is forever. Name recognition, credibility, and professional reputation should not be dependent upon any single business entity.
This does not mean you should neglect branding of your coaching or consulting business, even if you plan to sell in the near future. In fact, we advise our clients to make branding and marketing their practices a high priority if they intend to sell. No matter what industry you are in, goodwill, a good reputation, and a well-known name add value to the business. Just be clear that your personal brand and your business brand are not the same!
Tips for building your brand
Not sure where to start?
- Define your brand, decide how you want to be perceived, and convey that message with consistency.
- Have personal social media profiles, separate from your company’s profiles. Actively work to build and engage your audience. Put special emphasis on professional networks such as LinkedIn. Then also have profiles for your coaching and consulting brand and con
- Participate in conferences, workshops, associations, and other professional networking opportunities.
- Let your audience know when you are speaking on behalf of your company and on behalf of yourself. And, yes, as a coach or consultant this can be tricky if you’ve name your business the same as your name (or similar). This will add credibility to the message, as an official statement from the owner or CEO. It will also make your words more personal when you are not acting as a company spokesperson.
- Give media interviews, contribute articles to professional publications, deliver lectures, write a book… The possibilities for outreach are virtually endless. Remember that you are more than your company, and show that to the world.
About the Author:
Naren Arulrajah is President and CEO of Ekwa Marketing, a complete internet marketing company that focuses on SEO, social media, marketing education and the online reputations of doctors/business owners. If you have questions about internet marketing, call 855-598-3320 to speak one-on-one with Naren.