When building a brand, there are three approaches you can take. You can brand a business, brand a person, or brand a thing.
Branding a Business
When branding a business, the brand is built around a value, an idea, or a service. The relationships and the connections formed are with the brand name and the values of the brand itself, instead of an individual person or product. With this approach, the brand may have multiple products or product lines, services, or programs under its umbrella, and team members or employees are easily interchanged.
Branding a Thing
When branding a thing, the brand is built around a single product or a program. With this approach, the visual design, the message, and the marketing all revolve around the branded item. The focus is on how the consumer interacts with it, how it benefits them, and how they feel about it.
Branding a Person
When branding a person, the brand is built around the charisma, talent, and expertise of a single person. This person is the celebrity face of the brand. The voice is their voice, the marketing and the message comes from them and the visual brand uses their photo and likeness. With this approach, the brand completely revolves around the celebrity or expert, and the team or employees in place exist to support them.
Which Approach Is Right For You?
In many cases, businesses have multiple brands that may include all of the above. Take a company like Apple — Apple is a branded business that sells branded things like the iPod and the iPad, and has Steve Jobs, a branded celebrity leading the company.
Or take my multi-millionaire, business coach Ali Brown: her company Ali International, LLC is the branded business, Ali herself is the celebrity expert for brand and the face of the company, and she offers branded products like her Millionaire Protege Club, her Online Success Blueprint System, or her Product Launch System.
Which approach you choose to take when branding your business will depend on the type of business you are starting and what your goals for the business are.
If you want to grow and then sell or franchise your business, building a brand around you and your expertise isn’t the best idea. Instead, you’ll want to build the brand around the business. If you are developing a product and you hope to one day sell it to a larger company, branding the product itself would be the best course of action. In both cases, by branding the business or the product, the brand equity that has been built will be protected when the brand changes hands.
If you are a service-based entrepreneur, branding yourself is often the best choice because you are the brand — you are who the clients will work with, you are the person behind the marketing, you are the voice and life of the company.
In many cases entrepreneurs start with one main brand and evolve and grow into multiple sub brands. For example, there is the celebrity chef who builds a brand first around himself, then expands his empire by opening a restaurant; or the chef who first opens a restaurant and then earns his celebrity by reputation. The chef may then expand his empire even further by launching a line of spices or cookbooks.
The key is to pick one primary brand and decide whether you are branding a business, branding a person, or branding a thing.