Q&A: Managing Personal vs. Business Brand Online

I have a personal website and blog about one of my passions — cooking. But I’m launching a retail business that has nothing to do with food. Should I acknowledge my personal blog on my business site, or just ignore it?

Your question resonates with anyone starting a business and wrestling with how to integrate seemingly unrelated backgrounds and interests into a new business message.

The answer is this: When in doubt, leave it out. Here’s why.

Your business success hinges on your ability to cultivate awareness, preference and trust in the minds of those in your target audience, where there’s room for only one concise, clear message about what your business is and does. If you jam extraneous or conflicting information into that message, you’ll cause confusion at the least. At the worst, you’ll weaken customers' capacity to absorb and trust your primary message.

For that reason, unless you’re certain your blog content strengthens your business message, it has no place on your business site. But that doesn’t mean it has no place in your business conversations. Once they choose your business, customers like knowing that the people they’re working with are interesting, knowledgeable and involved.

Follow these two steps:

- Keep your business marketing communications focused solely on your business message — what your business is and does, what market niche you serve, what unique and relevant benefits you promise, and why your promise is believable and trustworthy.

- Use the "About Us" section of your site to a share personal introduction that builds a bridge between your personal background and your business message. For instance, "When she's not fine-tuning her inventory of one-of-kind Italian fashions and accessories, she's replicating and writing about her favorite dishes sampled on her buying trips — which you can read about by following her blog … ."

Business on Main readers: Please share how you've woven fragments from your past into a personal introduction that enhances your business authority and reputation. Also, be sure to register for Business on Main’s upcoming branding webinar on June 28th.