Should You Build a Personality-Based Brand?

By Ezra Firestone | April 8, 2020

“What do you think about building a personal brand vs. a business brand? Was there a strategic reason for making it ‘Smart Marketer’ and not ‘EzraFirestone.com?’”

To help answer this, I want to ask you 3 questions:

Question #1 – What are you selling?

I have run personality-based brands for both information products (through Smart Marketer) and physical products (through BOOM! by Cindy Joseph), and I can tell you that this strategy works particularly well if you’re selling information.

In this case, you already need someone to deliver your information (if you’re producing video content), so it makes sense that this person (often you) would also be the face of the company. They can serve as an authority to give your products credibility, and to produce content that leverages your knowledge, opinions and experience to engage your community. (This works for ecommerce brands too, but there’s a downside that I’ll get to in a second.)

That being said, I made my information brand “Smart Marketer” instead of, say, EzraFirestone.com because I had the goal of eventually including more people. I wanted to make Smart Marketer an education platform where people could get their voices out and share what’s working for them.

And it’s finally happening! In the last couple of years, we’ve added content contributors like Molly Pittman, John Grimshaw, Brett Curry, Laura Palladino, Colleen Taylor and Pepijn Gooiker.

Question #2 – What is your long-term goal?

Do you want to sell your company one day? If so, you should consider creating a business-based brand.

One of the downsides to creating personality-based brands is that they are not normally saleable assets. For example, I would have a hard time selling Smart Marketer because if I were to remove myself from the business — if I stopped producing content and creating courses — then it would most likely cease to exist because it’s built around me.

I faced this same problem with my ecommerce brand, BOOM!, which was built around the personality of my business partner. When she fell ill and was no longer able to be the face of the company, we had to transition into a business-based brand that still used her name but focused on more personalities in our community.

Question #3 – What sounds like the most fun to you?

This is the most important question.

Everyone is so focused on what will be the “best” strategy (i.e., the most profitable), and I think that’s often the wrong question to ask.

The right question to ask is, “Which strategy sounds like the most fun to me?”

In order to get any business to work it takes showing up every day with a positive attitude and enjoying the process of building it. That’s very difficult to do if you don’t enjoy the day-to-day operations because you’ve chosen to do something you dislike.

I think it’s smart to take each of these things into consideration, but at the end of the day, if one of these strategies sounds really fun to you — or if one of them sounds like no fun at all — then go with what sounds fun. This decision will have a huge impact on your life.

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