The Personal Brand Paradox 🔄
If you're anything like me, you left corporate and started your consulting or coaching business. Most of your revenue was dependent on large corporate retainers. Given the “official nature” of your buyers, you rightfully propped yourself up with a corporate brand name and logo. For me, that was BRANDWISE MEDIA.
This is a smart move! After all, the traditional way to scale a consulting business is to hire other consultants, which necessitates a larger brand they can operate within. Otherwise, even with the most competent consultant at the helm of a project, most clients will still desire the person whose name is on the door (cough, you).
In recent years, however, the scalability of thought leadership and solopreneur businesses has taken hold, and we see the opposite problem plaguing consultants who want to scale through productization — your “corporate” name is actually creating more hesitation from your buyers, who are buying knowledge products because they follow YOU.
So what's the right play here? Should you keep your corporate name and website or scrap it all and strike out on a new brand?
Let's walk through 3 paths, and you can choose for yourself.
Path One: When keeping your corporate brand makes sense🏢
If your business’ revenue is mainly dependent upon products or services that others will deliver (i.e., a consulting firm with multiple consultants or a product company that isn't attached to thought leadership - say, lollipops or cars), keeping your corporate identity as primary and growing your social brand on social media is the way to go. The most popular (and perhaps divisive) version of this is Elon Musk. ElonMusk.com is not a property, nor does Musk have his own personal brand logo.
Even though he is Saturday-Night-Live-Host status popular, his business revenue is not based on his thought leadership or knowledge products (even if his posts on X — neé Twitter influence the marketing). His primary concern is that his brand drives sales for his product-based businesses.
Sara Blakely, the founder of Spanx, is another famous example of this. She has a massive social media following, but she isn't selling online courses through her own website, so she hasn't, nor does she need to, set up her own website or personal brand logo. Doing this would be a smart move if she ever decided to sell her expertise through books and courses. To date, though, she does this through other platforms, like Masterclass, so she's okay.
If thought leadership-based products don't take up a significant portion of your revenue, and your primary revenue driver is a business that doesn't rely on you but instead on your products or team members, you don't need to prop up your own logo or website. Stick to growing your brand as the company's founder on social media, and channel your personal brand equity into your corporate brand.