Dueling Brands?

The Student Branding Blog is all about personal branding, as you well know. In this instance, personal branding really encompasses your professional image as you prepare to enter the workforce. What if I were to say that you can have TWO brands: a “professional” brand and a “personal” brand?

I have always viewed people as multidimensional. While your personality and values permeate every aspect of your life, your professional interests and your personal interests are often varied. While I know it’s been said, “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life,” many people wish to keep their personal interests somewhat removed from their careers. A job is still a job, with the related stress, bad days, etc. It’s nice to protect a hobby from the hassles of a job to keep it enjoyable. And either way, you can turn certain interests into your career and keep others for your personal life.

It’s possible, though, to have an interest that has nothing to do with your job but that you may wish to develop into a more serious activity. And here is where a branding split becomes possible.

How can you develop two brands? Here are some ideas:

  • Start a blog related to your hobby/hobbies.
  • Create two Twitter accounts: one to connect with professionals in your career field and one to connect with individuals related to your hobby.
  • Seek out opportunities for growth in both areas, such as contributing to related blogs.

My professional brand is well-developed, and I’m currently expanding the personal brand I’m building. Some might say it’s like I have dueling brands, but I say that I’m honoring more of who I am than my professional brand alone could. And if you thinks it’s challenging to build two separate brands, think again. Each showcases an aspect of my life distinctly different than the other.

I’m interested in your thoughts. Developing separate professional and personal brands: possible or impossible? Something you would do or wouldn’t do?



Laura serves as Internship Coordinator at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in the office of Career & Leadership Development.  In this role, Laura advises students who are pursuing internships, assists employers with intern recruitment, and supports university faculty who oversee academic internships.  She also provides students with job search readiness assistance through presentations, individual counseling, and social media.  Laura earned her bachelors degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she majored in French and Political Science, and she received her masters degree in Counseling from UW-Whitewater.  To learn more about Laura, read her blog, follow her on Twitter, or connect on LinkedIn.

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4 Responses to “Dueling Brands?”

  1. avatar Diane says:

    I’m very glad you brought this up! I’ve been struggling with the same idea the past year as I enter the professional world. Currently, I keep 1 twitter profile, maintain a personal blog and recently created a professional portfolio page. I struggle with merging my personal + professional identity. I don’t want to censor myself, but I try to keep my personal blog appropriate (I think – could I show this to my mom?). I’d be interested to see what others have to say. I thought of making a second Twitter account, but am already juggling many accounts as is! Nice post :)

  2. avatar McKenzie says:

    THANK YOU for posting this. I’ve struggled for a long time trying to blend a professional brand with my personal interests, and it just does not work for me. For me, there has to be a line between the personal and the professional–hearing that that’s OK is relieving.
    I do think it’s important to inject some personality in your professional brand, of course–too dry and corporate is never a good idea.

  3. avatar Lew Sauder says:

    I have to agree. I use Facebook to keep in touch with friends, old and new. I use LinkedIn and Twitter for professional relationships. Although I have some overlap of professional connections that have become close friends, I have been able to keep the two separate without much trouble.
    Lew Sauder, Author, Consulting 101: 101 Tips For Success in Consulting (

  4. avatar Lauren says:

    It is certainly possible to keep two separate brands – the professional and the personal. But, it is important to remember that we are all individuals. The professional brand for one person will never be the same as the professional brand of another. This, of course, is because we all have unique personalities and it is developing the perception of yourself to those around you that creates your brand, whether it is your personal or professional brand. If you think about it, we all already are “branded.” Consider this – how do your friends view you, how do your colleagues view you. I am sure that the majority of us act more professionally at work than at home. With this comes the natural formation of two separate brands whether we realize it or not. Like I said, all this talk of branding is actually recognizing this and working at it to make sure others see ourselves the way we would like them to see us. The question is, “What do others think of when they hear your name?” The answer to that question is what makes your brand.

    P.S. I also use Facebook and LinkedIn. Facebook for personal use and LinkedIn for professional relationships. It makes sense; think about what their purposes were when they were first created.

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  • Dan Schawbel

    Dan Schawbel, the founder of the Student Branding Blog, is a world renowned personal branding expert, the international bestselling author of Me 2.0, as well as the publisher of the Personal Branding Blog.

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