When I went independent back in 2014, one of the first and most impactful decisions I had to make was naming my new PR agency. In my industry, it’s common for firms to be named after their founders. Despite that trend, I never seriously considered names like Hart Communications or Hart Public Relations, even though either one would have been a safe choice. The fact is, I went independent to break out of the traditional PR model, so I needed a name that leaves no doubt that we aren’t like the others. After much deliberation, I named my agency Flackable.
A primary advantage for startup owners and solopreneurs who create a brand independent of the founder is that it gives them ownership of two distinct brands: a company brand and a personal brand. This dynamic, if leveraged effectively, can deliver a powerful marketing impact.
Branding for the company you want
While I began as a solopreneur, my plan was always to build a team of some of the top digital PR talent in the country. Knowing that, it was critical that I not be perceived as a freelancer during the time I was on my own. To do that, I carefully crafted Flackable’s messaging to position us as an agency rather than an individual. By developing a strong agency brand, I was able to compete for new business against larger, more established competitors.
Much like the old saying “dress for the job you want,” if solopreneurs want to grow and build a team, they should create and communicate a brand that represents the company they want. And that all starts with developing a brand and vision much greater than themselves.
Having both a company brand and a personal brand allows entrepreneurs to double their digital presence – two websites, two Twitter accounts, a LinkedIn profile and company page, a Facebook profile and company page, etc. The websites should link to each other to drive referral traffic while boosting SEO. The social media accounts should compliment each other, sharing and liking posts from one another to spark engagement and tap into each network.
Too often I see entrepreneurs create hybrid social media accounts, especially on Twitter, that serve as both the company account and a personal account. I strongly urge against that. It’s 2016 – both entrepreneurs and their business need a relevant presence on key social media outlets, or they are invisible and irrelevant to customers who utilize those channels to find, research and engage brands and their leadership.
Brian Hart is the founder and president of Flackable, a national public relations agency supporting the communications needs of registered investment advisors (RIAs) and other forward-thinking financial services firms. Learn more at www.flackable.com or www.brianhartpr.com. Follow Brian on Twitter @BrianHartPR.