One of the most common questions I’m asked is…
“Kristie, should I brand my business with my name, or should I have a business name?”
This is a question I am asked often and countless times over the years. You want to make sure that the name you pick is the right name and one that positions you for success.
No pressure, right?
The good news is that choosing a direction is easier than you think.
First, let’s review the difference between the two.
What is a personal brand?
A personal brand is built around you, your lifestyle, and your personal interests. Therefore, you’ll want to use your name.
What is a business brand?
A business brand is built around your business and not your personal name. No matter your choice, each will have its own personality and the brand is built around a personality.
Take these into consideration before you decide.
The first thing you want to think about is your long-term goals.
- Do you plan on being the sole “talent” of your business? (Hint, personal brand.)
- Do you plan on developing a team to deliver services in addition to yourself? (Hint, business brand.)
- Or do you have plans to sell your business at some point in the future? (Hint, business brand.)
Here’s a general rule of thumb.
If your goal is to build a personal brand around your ideas, interests, expertise and knowledge or you want to be known as the go-to expert in your niche then using your name as your brand name is the route you want to take.
In comparison to a personal brand, know this about a business brand.
If your goal is to build a team of solution providers around your ideas, products or expertise and you have long-term plans to sell your business at some point down the road then build a brand around a business name is the way to go.
But Kristie, can I do both? The quick answer is YES!
You can do both and it’s easier now more than ever to build a business brand and a personal brand as a thought-leader and authority on a particular topic.
As you share your knowledge, thoughts, and expertise you’ll organically build awareness around your business as well.
This action creates a winning combination of personality, authority, and engagement.
Let’s break this down into a couple of hypothetical scenarios.
Scenario One – You see yourself creating physical products or adding people to your team that is helping teach or who are also providing services next to you? Or do you have a vision to license your service or products to others?
If the answer to any of those is yes, then it would be best to build a brand around a business name vs. your name personally.
Scenario Two – Is your goal to become known as the go-to expert and authority in your field or niche? You may choose to create content around your brand through programs, courses, workshops, etc. If so, then you want to brand yourself and your name as the content creator.
No matter which scenario you choose, you want to focus on building a personal brand first because no matter the program, product, service, or offer you decide to create down the road, you are still the person, the authority, and creator of the brand.
Building a personal brand allows you to become known for something great and you can carry that reputation with you no matter what path you decide to take along the way.
Contrary to some beliefs, building a personal brand based on your name is not limiting. Well, if that’s the case what do you think Oprah would have to say about that? She has done an impeccable job building both her personal and her professional brand over the years. It started however by building her personal brand first.
Use this analogy
Think of it like this (to know me is to know that I love a good analogy) …
Picture your brand as a toolbelt…
The toolbelt is the main structure that you can add items to.
The belt has different pockets and loops to hold items on the belt
As you add different things to fill the open spaces
It’s through this combination
that you end up with a collection of things
that work together to create magic
But the base of it all is the belt.
Your personal brand is similar…
You are the core of the brand
And as you create products, offers, courses, services
Or other ways to help your clients and student
It’s all held together by you
Because you are the creator
This toolbelt that is your brand is what allows you to become
And become known for something great.
So, no matter which scenario you choose, you will always be the creator behind the brand, and you should brand yourself first. Unless of course you’re a physical product creator or have a physical location then, you should brand a business name instead.
Here’s a quick video that I pulled from my vault if you prefer to watch and listen.
There are other things to take into consideration before you finalize a name. Be sure to use my checklist and guide to help.
Name Your Brand Guide & Checklist
This guide will help you choose the best name for your brand or business type
This guide will help you choose the best name for your brand or business type and give you a checklist with some tips on choosing your name and places to check availability before you carve it in stone.
Best of luck and congrats on naming your brand!
Business or Personal? How To Choose A Brand Name