Should a Virtual Assistant Use Personal or Corporate Branding?

A question many Virtual Assistants ask is: “Should I brand myself as an individual or a business?”

The answer to this is not quite simple. It depends on your needs and preferences. The good news is that by the end of this blog post, you will be able to make a clear decision on whether you should go for personal/individual or corporate branding.

Personal branding

Definition: Personal branding is the practice of people marketing themselves and their careers as brands. Personal branding is essentially the ongoing process of establishing a prescribed image or impression in the mind of others about an individual. -Wikipedia

When you choose personal branding, you have the freedom to be yourself. It’s about expressing your authentic self and allowing the right people to partner with you. You get to decide the value you will bring to your clients. You also get to decide the voice, tone and overall message your brand will put out to the world.

You build credibility much faster because people like to feel that they are talking to a person and not just a company with many employees. Instead of feeling like they are just a number, a personal brand helps clients to form a genuine relationship with you. You bring back the human touch.

A personal brand also allows you to focus on your specialities. Whereas corporate brands are always expected to do more, a personal brand has the luxury of specialising in one or two areas. For example, if you create a Virtual Assistant company, clients will expect you to have an array of services available, but if you start a freelance business, you have the freedom to choose what services you will offer. This makes personal branding desirable for people who only have a few set of skills and don’t have other people working for them.

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Tips for personal branding

Since you will be marketing yourself as a brand, you need to know who you are (your skills, values, passions, and personality) and who your target market or audience is, and finally how you will serve them (your niche).

To find your personal brand, make a list of your:

  • Values
  • Needs
  • Interests and Passions
  • Mission
  • Strengths
  • Education and work experience
  • Unique traits
  • Personality

Once you have done this, you should have an idea of the message you want to portray with your brand.

You should always use your name and surname for a personal brand. This is so that people can identify you easily. There is no need for a logo, but avatars seem to work well with personal brands. However, some people feel that avatars hide the real YOU. We suggest that you put a picture of yourself instead. This image should represent your core brand message.

When creating your social media pages and website, make sure you include:

  • Your story (people love to connect through stories of triumph)
  • The services you offer
  • If appropriate, your key clients
  • Your educational background
  • Optional extras that enhance your personal brand, such as a favourite quote or testimonials
  • Videos highlighting who you are and what you do
  • Your picture/image (standard across the board)
  • Links to — or PDF versions of — articles you’ve written, slides, or other visuals you’ve produced

Corporate branding

Definition: Corporate branding refers to the practice of promoting the brand name of a corporate entity, as opposed to specific products or services. The activities and thinking that go into corporate branding are different from product and service branding because the scope of a corporate brand is typically much broader. -Wikipedia

As we mentioned earlier, a corporate brand is expected to do so much more than a personal brand. They will usually have an array of services available, but the good thing is that corporate branding builds loyalty for a company directly and not only the products they manage and market.

Well-crafted corporate branding has made many companies succeed in creating a high-value brand image. Take Coca-Cola for instance. The brand name speaks for itself.

Another good thing about corporate branding is that its legacy continues. When you are no longer part of the company, the brand remains. Also, your personal name is protected when the corporate brand faces reputational damage.

A corporate brand image is determined by all its stakeholders:

  • Employees
  • Customers
  • Investors
  • Regulators
  • Local communities

By now, you should have a clear view of the difference between personal and corporate branding. Have you decided which you want to pursue? Go ahead, apply as a VA.