Personal Brand or Company Brand?

By  •  Updated: 06/22/22 •  3 min read

If you’ve decided to go down the path of a solopreneur, to not weigh yourself down with offices and permanent staff, and to give yourself a bit more freedom to operate when and where you want to, one question I’m sure you’ve asked yourself is what “name” you should operate under.

Should you be operating under your own name, or creating a brand?

There’s no perfect answer, and in the end it comes down to how fast you start, vs how far you can go.

Personal brands get more engagement, but company brands can grow bigger, and eventually be sold.

(There’s some very rare exceptions of personal brands that have become company brands, and the name has outlived the founder, but they’re very very few.)

This is my thinking on this and it takes a more marketing led approach than I’ve seen anyone describe so far.

(Anyone who has known me for a few years will know that this is something I’ve swopped back and forth with, so you should take this very much as a work-in-progress rather than a definitive answer.)

Whether you show your face or a logo, really depends where your traffic is coming from.

Broadly, we can split traffic into 2 groups:

1. Search traffic – people who know they have a problem to solve and are actively thinking about solving it

2. “Interruptive” traffic – people who weren’t thinking about the problem, but who you can “interrupt” to get them thinking about it. 

The 800lb gorilla of search is obviously Google, but then for specific topics there’s Youtube for video, Amazon for physical products, Ebay for 2nd hand products, Pinterest for images and a few others.

For interruptive traffic there’s your social media feeds, and the paid ads that run in them, but also ads that pop up as you browse other websites, and any sort of “you may also like” types of suggestion.

So, how does this affect how you brand yourself?

Well, people who are starting their user journey with a search end already know what they want and they’re looking for anyone who can solve their problem.

As the saying goes, no one cares about you until they know what you can do for them.

In search results, you’ll see a lot more company brands.

In social feeds, it’s very different. 

You’re interrupting them with an opportunity, and trying to lure their attention away. That needs an element of trust, and a. human-looking face is a lot better at that.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot as I’ve been helping my wife’s business with their marketing. All the search content is on their site, but the “cool stuff” that no one is looking for because no one knows it exists gets dropped in the social feeds, and shared by the team.

We’re not mixing them up.

Search is very matter of fact “how to” type content that we know people are looking for.

Social is all stories, smart insights, and new trends – the type of content that gets people’s attention.

If your solo business is using a blog or some other sort of web-based content, you might want to have a think about the type of content you’re putting there, vs out on your social feeds.

Stephen Pratley

I build email lists, that grow into one-man businesses.