In order to be visible in the world and build awareness about your work, in an effective way it’s useful to know firstly, which type of brand you’re building; a personal, business or hybrid (personality driven) brand. Each type of brand builds awareness of itself in a slightly different way and has different visibility challenges associated with it.
Let’s run through what they are.
A personal brand is a brand that focuses on the individual, the founder, or leader of the organisation. There’s a heavy emphasis on sharing your name, face, personal experiences and expertise.
The benefits of a personal brand include:
There are, however, downsides to personal brands. They include:
For a personal brand to work, you have to be willing to share a lot of yourself and you have to be comfortable showing up often on a platform – be it socials, emails, on your YouTube channel, podcast show, or in another public forum of some sort – as people become dependent on seeing you regularly.
A business (or corporate) brand focuses on the organisation itself, on the values of the organisation, the offerings, the environment or atmosphere you might connect with that brand. A brand identity is created around an entity that’s separate to any one individual. Think of Tiffany & Co or Ford Motor Company, Patagonia or Oxfam. They all have organisational brands which are designed to exist beyond the lifetime of any one individual.
The benefits of a business brand include:
The downside to creating a business brand is:
For a business brand to work, the challenge is to make the anonymous nature of the brand feel more relatable and personal. You want people to build a personal connection to your brand in the absence of a specific individual for people to attach to.
Finally, there’s the hybrid model – a personality driven brand that is separate from the founder’s identity, but it is highly reliant upon the founder being visible to promote and champion the brand. We adopt this approach at the School of Visibility where I, Samantha Nolan-Smith as founder of the brand, am visible in support of promoting it. I share occasional snippets from my life as they pertain to our topic of visibility but on the whole my visibility efforts are directly entirely toward promoting the business and its vision.
The benefits of the hybrid approach include:
The downsides of a hybrid brand aren’t as stark as the personal and business brands by virtue of the fact that it was designed to overcome the challenges of each. However you do need to be aware that if and when the face of your brand steps away, there will be some sort of impact on the brand which will need to be managed. If the founder or face of the brand has done their job correctly though, they will have been directing people’s attention toward the brand itself each time they’ve been visible, rather than on themselves as individuals, which will have paved the way for a relatively smooth transition.
The visibility challenges of the hybrid model relate primarily to the likability and/or memorability of the founder. You want to ensure that the face of the organisation is someone that your ideal community can relate to. Ideally they’re a living, breathing embodiment of the values and promise of your organisation. They also need to be able to speak articulately about your brand’s vision, values, products, and/or services. If they’re lacking enthusiasm for the brand or present in a way that’s inconsistent with it – whether that’s in the way they speak, the way they dress or communicate, what they speak about, or how they conduct themselves when spotted in public places – you might think twice about adopting this model.
Ultimately there’s no ‘right’ branding approach. There’s simply the approach that aligns with your vision, your intentions for the business, and your visibility preferences. As you read back through the pros and cons of each you’ll likely have a sense of what either rules something in as a good option for you or rules it out as a definite no. Start there and build out your visibility strategy accordingly.
This article was extracted from The Visibility Strategy Journal, a day by day approach to building a visibility strategy. The journal is coming soon! Our subscribers will be the first to be notified when it’s ready. If you’re not already a member of our community, you can join us here and gain some free training to work through while you wait.
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