Personal branding vs. business branding – where's your line?

The issue of personal vs. business identity online keeps coming up.

It was a recurring question at the Marketing Now conference last week.

Jeremiah Owyang’s grappling with how much to reveal . Courtney is amazed at how personal business has become .

And every time we talk about Twitter , we get two responses. Some people love the real, human interaction; others can’t bear hearing what others have had for breakfast. It’s extremely polarising.

At iJump, we believe (or at least I personally believe!) the real brand is made up of the people who represent it, far more than the brand identity as written down by experts. So businesses with a healthy culture shouldn’t fear their employees’ personal brands busting through the screen. It’s a positive thing.

Of course this solves nothing, it just brings up more questions – which we hope to answer in due time! Questions like:

  • How much should you mix personal and business identities online? (eg. is your Facebook profile for business, or friends and family, or all of the above?)
  • If businesses really let their staff build their personal brands, don’t they risk losing customers when the staff move on? (A problem faced by sports teams, TV shows and sales departments especially)
  • How much personal information is too much information on Twitter? (Your stories are most welcome!)

17 thoughts on “Personal branding vs. business branding – where's your line?

  • Jason

    Hi team,

    I think it is an interesting thought, where do we draw the line and what is too much information?

    Hmm I seem to always have to think twice about my tweets…:)

    Jason – @jasonarmishaw

    Reply
    • Simon

      Hey Jason! I wonder … does having to think twice about your tweets mean you’re looking after the needs of your audience? Or does it mean you’re withholding something special from the rest of the world.

      We talked with a client last week about blogging and they said they were going to start posting more opinion pieces, to break through the “I can’t think of what to blog” barrier. Will be interesting to see how they go!

      Reply
    • Simon

      Hey Jason! I wonder … does having to think twice about your tweets mean you’re looking after the needs of your audience? Or does it mean you’re withholding something special from the rest of the world.

      We talked with a client last week about blogging and they said they were going to start posting more opinion pieces, to break through the “I can’t think of what to blog” barrier. Will be interesting to see how they go!

      Reply
    • Simon

      Hey Jason! I wonder … does having to think twice about your tweets mean you’re looking after the needs of your audience? Or does it mean you’re withholding something special from the rest of the world.

      We talked with a client last week about blogging and they said they were going to start posting more opinion pieces, to break through the “I can’t think of what to blog” barrier. Will be interesting to see how they go!

      Reply
  • Jason

    Hi team,

    I think it is an interesting thought, where do we draw the line and what is too much information?

    Hmm I seem to always have to think twice about my tweets…:)

    Jason – @jasonarmishaw

    Reply
    • Simon

      Hey Jason! I wonder … does having to think twice about your tweets mean you’re looking after the needs of your audience? Or does it mean you’re withholding something special from the rest of the world.

      We talked with a client last week about blogging and they said they were going to start posting more opinion pieces, to break through the “I can’t think of what to blog” barrier. Will be interesting to see how they go!

      Reply
  • Toby Ricketts

    Just a real world example of the software boundary between work and play…
    The thing I find frustrating is that I have a personal igoogle account, which has my twitter and gmail widgets, and then whever I want to change some adwords settings, or view analytics, I switch to my business account which then defaults to my business igoogle page etc until I logout and change again. Should google implement a multi-login ability for those of us straddling the online world in a professional and personal capacity?
    Anyone else have this problem?

    Reply
  • Toby Ricketts

    Just a real world example of the software boundary between work and play…
    The thing I find frustrating is that I have a personal igoogle account, which has my twitter and gmail widgets, and then whever I want to change some adwords settings, or view analytics, I switch to my business account which then defaults to my business igoogle page etc until I logout and change again. Should google implement a multi-login ability for those of us straddling the online world in a professional and personal capacity?
    Anyone else have this problem?

    Reply
    • Simon

      That’d be nice indeed. A different issue to the communications issue of “which persona do you present to the world?” – but related.

      Reply
    • Simon

      That’d be nice indeed. A different issue to the communications issue of “which persona do you present to the world?” – but related.

      Reply
  • Toby Ricketts

    Just a real world example of the software boundary between work and play…
    The thing I find frustrating is that I have a personal igoogle account, which has my twitter and gmail widgets, and then whever I want to change some adwords settings, or view analytics, I switch to my business account which then defaults to my business igoogle page etc until I logout and change again. Should google implement a multi-login ability for those of us straddling the online world in a professional and personal capacity?
    Anyone else have this problem?

    Reply
  • Toby Ricketts

    Just a real world example of the software boundary between work and play…
    The thing I find frustrating is that I have a personal igoogle account, which has my twitter and gmail widgets, and then whever I want to change some adwords settings, or view analytics, I switch to my business account which then defaults to my business igoogle page etc until I logout and change again. Should google implement a multi-login ability for those of us straddling the online world in a professional and personal capacity?
    Anyone else have this problem?

    Reply
    • Simon

      That’d be nice indeed. A different issue to the communications issue of “which persona do you present to the world?” – but related.

      Reply
  • Scott

    Simon

    You make good points here.

    Personally, I try to tweet about interesting data I encounter during my working day: to add value to the stream. Usually tweets are about website usability. In addition, I do engage in conversations with those I follow, if I find their tweets interesting or inquisitive. Frankly, tweets like “I am about to go to bed” or “breakfast bites” are somewhat useless; so I filter those out and avoid posting them myself.

    Regarding facebook: I use it only for friends and family but do employ pay per click ads targeted to prospective website usability clients; and I use facebook pages to generate interest in causes (e.g. business-related, political) that fire me up.

    If a company is using social media primarily for marketing purposes, I would indeed recommend that a social media marketing strategy is carefully planned ahead of time. And – as you imply – there can be a mix of personal and corporate identity in the campaign, as the company culture allows.

    Cheers
    Scott 🙂

    Reply
    • Simon

      That’s great Scott! “As the company culture allows” is going to be a key battleground for organisations in the next few years, as companies struggle to differentiate themselves to their customers, and also to potential employees.

      Reply
  • Scott

    Simon

    You make good points here.

    Personally, I try to tweet about interesting data I encounter during my working day: to add value to the stream. Usually tweets are about website usability. In addition, I do engage in conversations with those I follow, if I find their tweets interesting or inquisitive. Frankly, tweets like “I am about to go to bed” or “breakfast bites” are somewhat useless; so I filter those out and avoid posting them myself.

    Regarding facebook: I use it only for friends and family but do employ pay per click ads targeted to prospective website usability clients; and I use facebook pages to generate interest in causes (e.g. business-related, political) that fire me up.

    If a company is using social media primarily for marketing purposes, I would indeed recommend that a social media marketing strategy is carefully planned ahead of time. And – as you imply – there can be a mix of personal and corporate identity in the campaign, as the company culture allows.

    Cheers
    Scott 🙂

    Reply
    • Simon

      That’s great Scott! “As the company culture allows” is going to be a key battleground for organisations in the next few years, as companies struggle to differentiate themselves to their customers, and also to potential employees.

      Reply

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