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9 Great Personal Brands to Guide You in Your Strategy Building

December 17, 2020
10 MINUTES
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Stefanija Tenekedjieva

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Learn how to build a strong personal brand to position yourself as a leading expert in your field, and get relevant potential clients.

You don’t have to be a marketer or influencer to build your successful personal brand and reach a target audience. From social media and a great LinkedIn strategy to offline activities that connect you with the right people, there are plenty of simple, small tactics you can employ in creating your own personal brand.

Firstly, if you’re still not exactly sure what a personal brand is, Influencer Marketing Hub defines it as:

Your personal brand is how you promote yourself. It is the unique combination of skills, experience, and personality that you want the world to see you.”

It’s inevitably linked to your persona, skills and product or service you sell. But, it is as unique as your personality. Check out more about what a personal brand is and how to create yours here. If you want to go even further and learn simple actionable tips for personal marketing, check out this guide.

Of course, starting up and making a marketing strategy from scratch is not that easy. Luckily, we have marketing experts, self-help gurus, and even politicians to teach us all about personal branding. Here are some personal branding examples you’ll thank us for.

Neil Patel

It seems it is impossible to write an article about (personal) branding and all things marketing, without Neil Patel being the first one to be included. And it comes as no surprise since he is the definition of a digital marketing expert and branding strategist that helped many professionals and clients around the world.

Apart from being the co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer of the Neil Patel Digital Agency, he has a diverse portfolio in multiple companies that sell marketing tools such as KISSmetrics and Crazy Egg. Being the person that helps millions with SEO, naturally, his website is always the first thing that pops up when one searches for marketing tips.

Still, Patel is most recognized for his own website and blogging that has helped a million marketers and freelancers in their everyday work.

Patel’s face and persona is infused in everything representing him: his face is the logo of his personal website, and even the calls-to-action are referring only to his expertise.

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But even though he is so successful and influential, Patel’s sharing of knowledge makes him an industry giant that still cares about giving back. If you check his LinkedIn profile bio, you’ll see:

I am a New York Times bestselling author. The Wall Street Journal calls me a top influencer on the web, Forbes says I am one of the top 10 marketers, and Entrepreneur Magazine says I created one of the 100 most brilliant companies. I was recognized as a top 100 entrepreneur under the age of 30 by President Obama and a top 100 entrepreneur under the age of 35 by the United Nations.”

His bio perfectly sums up his brand: a marketing guru that is helpful, collaborative and on the top of his field.

Marie Forleo

The prominent American entrepreneur and life coach Marie Forleo is yet another example of a person who built an empire through hard work and dedication, and whose online presence is there to prove that she’s a girl who can have it all.

Forleo is the host of MarieTV, a weekly show with resources and actionable ideas for entrepreneurs, writer of a bestselling book and host of the Marie Forleo Podcast. She has appeared in multiple docuseries and even runs an online business program called B-Schools.

Still, Forleo has a down-to-earth and approachable personality and an eccentric mix of interests that make her, as she herself calls it, a “multipassionate entrepreneur”. She gave up a stable corporate job and worked as a bartender to prove to herself that you don’t need to put everything in one box.

From the non-stop frenzy working on the floor of The New York Stock Exchange to the well-heeled halls of Conde Nast publishing, to choreographing hip-hop on MTV and being one of the world’s first Nike Elite Dance Athletes, to publishing two international bestsellers, to founding a digital education company named in the Inc. 500, I’m undeniable proof that traditional rules were made to be broken”.

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Gary Vaynerchuk

There is no bigger proof of a person’s entrepreneurship talents than having a rags-to-riches story. Gary Vaynerchuk has that exact story: having moved from Soviet time Ukraine to New York with his family, his youth was spent in a small Queens apartment with 8 family members.

At age 7, he had a lemonade stand, and in his teenage years, he helped his family sell bagged ice. Later, when his dad had a liquor store, he recognized the potential of the Internet very early on and opened one of the first online stores for wine, called Wine Library.

The rest is history. He shared to his subscribers insights from his work and life at their business on WineLibraryTV, and the YouTube channel ran for more than 10 years. He went on to found VaynerMedia, a digital agency working with Fortune 100 companies as clients. True to his beginnings, being an online influencer before even figuring out how to make his best personal brand, he still updates peers and followers about his dealings and life through GaryVee, and directly answers questions through #AskGaryVee, an online Q&A show. He also has a podcast, and more than 12M combined followers across social media, producing content daily on Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Spotify and more. You can even text him directly, as per the logo on his website!

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Why did I include all of these examples from his vast portfolio? Because every single product is directly tied to his name, and it is impossible to think of his brand without his persona.

Tony Robbins

When you open the website of this business and life coach, and the first thing you see is testimonials by Serena Williams and Gerard Butler, you immediately are aware of the influence and omnipresent effect of his expertise.

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Tony Robbins is above all known as an entrepreneur and business coach, but he is an author, philanthropist and strategist as well. His personal mission statement wraps his expertise nicely:

A life dedicated to helping individuals and businesses succeed.”

It is a very wide spectrum of experiences but his messaging, website and social media presence color him as royalty amongst business coaches. Unlike the easygoingness and approachability of, say, GaryVee, Tony Robbins’ personal branding strategy is built around his charm, wisdom and charisma.

On his website, you can find tons of resources, from his personal book recommendations to his Netflix documentary, once again showing that he is an influential expert that always keeps a quick tempo in things.

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Seth Godin

Only starting up in the business of digital marketing, the first book I read on the subject was “Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable” by Seth Godin. Known as an unusual blogger, he regularly posts short lessons—around 400 letters each. Still, marketers around the world learn what is needed from his no-fluff lessons.

Godin has also written other books on marketing, called “Meatball Sundae: Is Your Marketing out of Sync?” and most recently, “The Practice”. He is the host of the Akimbo podcast, writes longer form articles on Medium, shares his teachings on YouTube, and is an all-round thought leader in the industry of contemporary marketing.

His face, quirky expressions and simple copy on his website’s home page will be enough for you to grasp his persona: Godin is a man that writes with humor and catches your attention with charm and wit.

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Elon Musk

Whereas all of our previous examples were inherently tied to their products—name AND face, you won’t see Elon Musk’s face anywhere on websites, Instagram accounts or ads for his biggest companies, SpaceX and Tesla. But he is famous and everyone knows him: tech lovers, space enthusiasts, even grandmas at this point.

Why?

Because Elon Musk is creating and nurturing a unique personal brand that doesn’t really follow a template or fit a mold. Anything, from his “Tesla in space” publicity stunt to the naming of his newborn, is an unusual step that makes headlines.

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Musk doesn’t have a personal brand statement like most of the other examples, but he is seen as a leader in innovation, space exploration and the power of technology.

Barack Obama

No matter your stance on his politics and performance as a two-term president of the United States, Obama’s personal brand is undoubtedly flawless. A family man who loves and respects his wife and gets Paul McCartney to sing to her; a compassionate leader that stands in the rain to give an interview to reporters that are waiting for hours; a regular person that makes a joke out of himself in a BuzzFeed video.

Both Barack and his wife Michelle are a masterclass in showing your personal branding statement in everything you do.

They are empathetic and always in the center of communication, a youthful and down-to-earth couple that is very atypically informal and, as such, loved by youth and seen as far more relatable than any other president in history.

Whether it’s the fact that the Obamas watched Game of Thrones, or that they are both adamant and enthusiastic about each other’s successes, anything they do is widely talked about. Four years after Obama’s presidency ended, they are still seen as relevant, always share their five cents about important issues, and are very influential. Their $65 million book deal is proof enough to convince you so.

Bill Gates

Bill Gates is, of course, known as the person who brought reliable and accessible computers on the market, and that way changed the world as people knew it before Microsoft. He was a dorky and charming Harvard dropout turned an unlikely visionary. But apart from his work as a software developer and co-founder of Microsoft, he is very well-known as a philanthropist.

The existence of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation heavily changed the perception and heft of his personal brand, because they are actively included in bringing healthcare, accessibility to free education, all the way to birth control and clean drinking water in key places in need.

In 2010, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation together with Warren Buffet created the Living Pledge, a movement of philanthropists who commit to giving the majority of their wealth to philanthropy or charitable causes, either during their lifetimes or in their wills. Philanthropy and charitable nature became a part of the Gates’ personal mission.

Nicolas Bordas writes on LinkedIn:

Bill Gates’ legacy will be nuanced. In addition to being an iconic figure in the world of personal computing, and a savvy businessman, he is also a leader in philanthropy in the corporate world. Gates’ brand is that of someone immensely intelligent who has succeeded in creating enormous structures: be they aggressive corporations, or well-endowed foundations.”

Rihanna

Finally, we have a pop star that turned out to be a business force to be reckoned with. When Rihanna first showed up on the pop charts, she was under heavy management and producing sugary pop music. After she became a mega-popular star, she regained some control in the type of music she published, and at the peak of career, she stopped making music altogether.

Now, Rihanna is the owner of FentyBeauty, a cosmetics and lingerie company, creating a $600 million fortune. Are Fenty products better than, say, Lancome or Deciem? Honestly, I am unsure, as I can’t exactly afford them. So what made these products so popular? Well, it’s Fenty BY Rihanna. When you have a figure as popular as her at the helm of a brand, you don’t need too much of a marketing strategy.

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Rihanna turned to social media and with the help of many famous influencers and celebrity friends of hers she made Fenty an extremely successful brand. Fenty is often seen on her personal Instagram account, and vice versa, you will often see her recognizable face on the brands’ company page.

She also creates cosmetic products for people of color, advocating for heavily underrepresented minorities in the skincare and makeup industry. Talk about being a favorite of the people!

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Stefanija Tenekedjieva

December 17, 2020

Journalist turned content writer. Based in North Macedonia, aiming to be a digital nomad. Always loved to write, and found my perfect job writing about graphic design, art and creativity. A self-proclaimed film connoisseur, cook and nerd in disguise.