Personal Branding vs Company Branding
on 05 June 2020
Our Creative Director Mat Lazenby did a Q&A with award-winning content creator Katie Lingo.
Do you have a personal AND a company brand?
Not consciously, I find the entire concept of personal branding as a conscious act really weird. Social media chops people into wafer thin slices of information, day by day, hour by hour, week by week. It is human nature to try and show our best side, or rather, post content that reflects well on us but that filter of showing our ‘best side’ can run amok in the wrong hands and the results are on social media for us all to see. When our best side becomes a computer generated facade that bears little or no resemblance to real life its effects can be hugely damaging, both for the viewer and author of that content.
I would happily assign the term ‘personal brand’ to the bin, we’ve always known that humans are individual, unique and capable of equally brilliant and terrible things, why invent terms that commodify that which is our most precious, human, vital and creative resource.
Do you just stick to one if so which?
Our studio LazenbyBrown has a brand for sure, we are known for things and we work hard to promote particular characteristics in our content because we know it attracts work we are really good at and resonates with the sort of individual we connect well with.
If you have separate ones should the message be the same on each? Should personal branding be more light-hearted and company branding more serious for example?
This is a really timely question because at the start of my career there was no social media, so you would have to be ‘light-hearted’ using a channel usually used for business communications which would have just felt out of place or too try-hard.
Social media (and many other factors) have bought with them a whole new relationship to the old definitions of ‘professionalism’. The blurring of boundaries between people and the brands they represent online has seen the formality vanish from most channels, in order for content to be relevant and recognised it has to be from a person, not a ‘brand’, what stops people on our endless scrolls is so often ‘a real slice of life’ something relatable, something you only thought you did, something that stands out and disrupts the flow a little.
This is a wonderful video about the 2 types of people in the world, and the 3rd type who are a mixture of the 2:
Do you adapt your content for each brand on social media channels e.g. more light-hearted on Instagram more serious on LinkedIn?
Yes, but LinkedIn is changing fast and you can reach more people by gently puncturing the ‘professional’ atmosphere with something out of step with the usual.
What are the benefits of having a personal brand?
I think if you have a solid sense of self and what makes you, particular, different, odd, and a pride in that – it can be a healthy way to express that, if you don’t, it can lead to an unhealthy relationship with social media.
Does it support your company brand? Should personal and company branding be the same?
Even in large firms, the people behind them have an enormous effect on their value and how they’re viewed. As a business we have developed brand workshop methods that draw brand value from the staff team that ultimately delivers the work of the brand, not just the CEO or marketing team but all those who have a connection to the mission and purpose of the business.
Could it even be damaging to have two separate ones or damaging not to?
People (individuals) and brands are not the same thing, brands are either the joint will of lots of very different types of people or in the case of a sole-trader or micro-enterprise they are a set of principles and promises delivered by the individual in charge. These promises and principles have to be consistent and dependable or they’re not a brand, but people have (and should be allowed to have) good days and bad days.
What are three things that are key to building a successful brand?
1) Don’t make castles in the sky.
2) Build your castle where everyone can see it, touch it, become familiar with it, make it with bricks that your whole team made, it will be all the grander and more individual that way, and you won’t kill your self carrying all those heavy-ass bricks.
3) Maintain your castle, refine it, care for it and those that helped you build it, preserve it, add to it, democratise it, make it known.