When you’re in business, the most important distinction between you and other businesses is how your customers know you or think they know you — good or bad. The same applies to your personal brand. When someone first meets you, you leave an impression. You know, first impressions… Your personal brand represents what people think about you as a person.
Great brands are built over time. Think of your favourites. Johnson & Johnson’s is a great example of an American brand that has multiple sub brands from beauty care products to pharmaceuticals. I’ve read, more than 250, in fact! By following a consistent brand strategy, strong brands carry emotional connections from one product to the next.
It’s not uncommon for other brands to develop under a master brand or alongside a master brand. While these sub brands have their own unique characteristics, they share the same values and operate under the same principles as the master brand. They also benefit from the strength of the master brand. I may not think of Johnson & Johnson’s as my favourite brand, but I definitely align with one (or more) of its sub brands.
One of my favourite brands is a sub brand of something bigger. Sub brands can have their own unique characteristics, look and feel, while aligning with the master brand’s core values and principles.
Align with the master brand
Brand architecture helps consumers understand the business you’re in. It’s not about the company’s organizational structure; it’s about what the company offers to its customers no matter what department develops the product. The architecture defines each element of your brand and how they relate to each other. It also defines what elements each share and which will be unique. You may decide to use the same logo and follow a similar design structure, or you might decide that each will have a unique look and feel to target a different consumer set. Whatever you decide, your sub brands should leverage the same core principles of the master brand.
When you’re starting a small business, it’s easy to have your personal brand attach itself to your business. People can easily translate your personal brand characteristics to your business brand. That’s why, it’s important to create separation.
Take some time to build your business plan and define those unique characteristics that differentiate your business from other businesses. Keep your website and social spaces unique to the business and create distance from your personal spaces.
But don’t forget. We’re curious creatures and in this age of technology, information is at our fingertips. Keep check on what impressions your personal spaces are leaving. Your business may offer a great product, but are you the kind of person I want to do business with? Hmmm. Food for thought.