Branding is a pretty hot topic these days. Whether it’s rebranding campaigns by corporations or businesses (like Airbnb), or personal branding on any level and in any niche (like many politicians), it’s becoming a well-known fact that anybody can be a brand.
And if what you’re marketing is yourself and what you can provide to others, then personal branding is incredibly important to your overall success.
Personal branding means “establishing and promoting what you stand for,” according to Brand Yourself’s Definitive Guide to Personal Branding. Your brand is “the unique combination of skills and experiences” that make up who you are and what you do.
Ultimately, good personal branding should serve to make you stand out in a crowd. And it should especially differentiate you from anyone who might be potential competition.
So effective personal branding does require knowing yourself very, very well. And knowing what you do best, and who would benefit from it.
Let’s take a look at ten personal branding examples that can help inspire your own personal brand.
It’s hard to think of a more successful example of a personal branding journey done right than Oprah Winfrey.
Anyone who has her own TV show and magazine with her name on it obviously has personal branding down pat. A quick way to test it would be to say her name to anyone — anyone! — and see if they don’t automatically know who it is.
Unless they’ve been living under a rock, they will definitely know who you’re talking about.
Oprah is a good example to start out with because her brand isn’t just about aesthetic, or about what she actually does on the business front. She also has leveraged her brand to be about people, and to do what she can in behalf of others.
Overall, her brand is fueled by staying on-message as much as it is by the way her branded products look.
Not that it isn’t also about a certain aesthetic. You can recognize an Oprah-branded product from a mile away.
But she’s also obviously very passionate about making sure that what she puts her name on stays true to her brand personality.
Neil Patel is another name which shows up on a lot of lists of great personal branding examples. He is, apparently, the person for whom the term “marketing guru” was created.
Having created and co-created multiple businesses and programs to make marketing and generating leads easier, he also established himself as one of the foremost leaders in blogging about marketing, drawing on established resources and often his own experiences.
When it comes to aesthetics, Neil Patel notably uses the color orange throughout his website and his social media platforms, tying his overall brand together with the main palette.
He is also the “face” of his online presence, quite literally: whether a real photo or a cartoon drawing, his face is featured throughout media platforms and his website.
Lewis Howes is a man of many talents. Starting off as a professional athlete, he later overcame an injury and transformed his life and career into something totally different.
Opting to focus on teaching others to build their lifestyles to an optimal degree, he became a New York Times best selling author and fashioned a business around something he was passionate about.
That passion shows in how he presents himself, and the work he does.
He also spread his brand across other platforms, such as creating a podcast, “The School of Greatness,” which has reached millions of people.
If ever there was a name that seemed unlikely to become a brand, this is probably it.
But Elon Musk is a great example of taking passion for innovation and channeling it into project after project.
When we hear of an exciting new project being developed that sounds like big dreams meeting big money, what do we say? “I bet that Elon Musk is involved in that.”
There’s no better testament to personal branding than statements like that.
You may not know who Robby Leonardi is off the top of your head, unlike some other names on this list of great personal branding examples. But once you find out, you’ll definitely remember.
Robby Leonardi is a personal branding example to aspire to because he lets his work speak for him. As a graphic designer, every piece of design that has his name on it also has his clear mark on it. His website is designed in a way that makes it obvious what he does for a living, even if it wasn’t written anywhere.
He created a resume on his website which actually functions as an interactive video game. Combining a definitive aesthetic with a unique level of engagement from the viewer, he managed to achieve the main point of the resume — telling the viewer what he does — while transcending the resume format to create something completely different.
Alex Baackes is the blogger behind Alex in Wanderland, writing extensively and in depth about travel and photography. With a focus that guarantees a steady interest — who doesn’t like to read about new and exciting places? — she branded herself with a simple, effective logo design and color palette.
She also makes sure to use this same logo and color palette combination across all of her social media platforms, tying her brand together.
Peg Fitzpatrick is another expert on personal branding who employs her expertise in her own case, letting her brand stand as an effective case study and testimonial as to her prowess.
One of her features, which she helps others to incorporate, is the creation of personalized images for social media posts and blogs. She focuses on a cohesive aesthetic and branded images, helping each piece of content to stand out from the crowd.
Godin is a marketing expert who has built up quite a reputation in his chosen business over the multiple decades in which he has operated. Of course, having time to build a reputation like that can only help with personal branding — provided you do it right.
But it’s also possible to succumb to “branding exhaustion,” which could make an individual slip on promotional tactics, or not follow through on an opportunity, or neglect to ensure that a product fits in with their brand personality.
Godin has done none of these, as far as anyone can tell.
He’s also one of the foremost examples of using short, to the point blog posts to capture and keep attention. His blog posts, unlike many popular blogs, hang around the two hundred word mark. This means that the attention of the reader rarely flags, and his readers remain engaged throughout.
Molly Mogren Katt
Katt is a writer and blogger who has also built up a business helping other writers to brand themselves and find success. She does this by focusing on the personal: the personal voice, the personal experience, the authenticity of the writing experience.
Overall, she is an outstanding example of remaining true to the personality of a personal brand.
Another big-name businessman, LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner is not only focused on the brand of his business, but on his own personal branding as well.
Much like Elon Musk, mentioned earlier, Weiner has a large social media presence, and engages with his audience on a regular basis.
Engagement with your readers and viewers is a huge part of what makes personal branding successful. After all, just as a company’s brand is centered around how they interact with their customers and clients, a personal brand cannot exist in a vacuum. Your personal brand is only truly effective if you’ve made a connection with your audience.
Jeff Weiner is a great example of reaching out and establishing bridges in order to enhance and hone a personal brand.
Branding On Every Level
One of the most important things to remember when it comes to personal branding is that you are never off the clock. If you’re crafting yourself as a brand, promoting your name and services as a business, you are always representative of your brand.
That might seem intimidating. But in fact it means more opportunities.
Opportunities when you write a blog post, share a photo or an experience, write about an opinion, create something new, or appear in public. Opportunities when you speak to someone who is interested in what you do, or take on a new client, or use your abilities to help others.
The overall look of a personal brand is an important factor that ties your brand together. But how you use your brand, and what it means to your audience, is what ultimately defines what you have created.