The difference between a corporate brand and a small business brand

I like to talk with people who are different from me because I get to learn a lot. This one time, my brother in-law and I were talking about corporate business because he is brilliant at that stuff and I am not.

I’ve known my brother in-law for over ten years and if I had to state his brand in one word, it would be Trustworthy with a capital T. Like, if there was an apocalypse, everyone who survived would end up sort of following his lead and instinctively knowing that it was the right thing to do to increase the chances of survival for the human race.

You know what kind of personalities tend to succeed in large corporations? The people who can act the same whether they are in the office or not. Like, their natural personalities tend to lean sort of corporate at personal gatherings, sort of personal at business gatherings, but it is actually the same personality the entire time, if you really think about it.

It’s easy for those people because they are just being themselves. My brother in-law stands the same way whether he is in a business suit or shorts and a T-shirt, and talks the same way to everyone he meets. He looks just like he does in every picture of him! He is Trustworthy and Consistent with a capital C.

I tried doing that for a while, but I doubt that I ever actually pulled it off. I rarely even look like the photo of me displayed in the sidebar of this webpage. My hair is a wavy mess and I like to put it in a scrunchie. I wear T-shirts and jeans with holes in them. On purpose! I have a capital B for Birkenstocks.

The reason why I used this picture is because Gabriel thought it looked like a good consulting picture. I originally picked a picture of myself where I had a big smile on my face, and he was like, No. He’s a lawyer, and lawyers don’t like to look too happy in their professional photos, because they want to look like they are concentrating on winning. We compromised on a picture of me that has a little smile.

I can tell you all this because the people I want to work with are like me -- small business people. Bright, creative people with independent spirits have brands that are very different from those of corporate leaders, and it works because their markets are completely different.

I mean, I have a relatively professional picture up to show that I’m serious, but I get my market enough to know that it’s cool to be me. That’s one of the best ways to know if you are in the place where you belong -- it shouldn’t be that hard.

How do you connect who you are with your professional brand?