:Marketing / Copywriting and branding

Personal branding examples to use for your professional success

personal branding examples personal branding examples

Every entrepreneur, startup CEO, freelancer, and go-getter in the modern market needs to master personal branding. It affects how you are seen by your target consumers, competitors, and others in your industry.

In the long term, personal branding can impact how people see your company, what impression they take from your organization, and much more. Personal branding is vital for the success of all of your professional endeavors, especially in the modern era when our professional lives are so interwoven with our personal lives.

There are lots of ways to build a personal brand authentically and effectively. If you don’t know where to start, you’ve come to the right place. Today, let’s break down 12 effective personal branding examples. We’ll also discuss what a personal brand is, where to leverage it properly, and more.

What is a “personal brand”?

A personal brand is a theme, aesthetic, or persona surrounding a person rather than a company. For example, Apple has a corporate brand of being quirky, innovative, and future-focused. Steve Jobs, the former leader of Apple and arguably the reason it rose to such prominence, had a personal brand of related but different attributes.

When you hear the name Steve Jobs, what do you think of? You probably think of attributes and characteristics like:

  • Driven
  • Ambitious
  • Forward-thinking
  • Simple aesthetic
  • Professional
  • Visionary

All of these elements contributed to a personal brand that Steve Jobs leveraged throughout his professional life. Even Steve Jobs’ wardrobe was part of his brand; whenever he was seen in public or giving a speech, he always showed up in jeans and a black turtleneck.

In short, a personal brand is a brand you create around an individual instead of a company. It’s a form of social selling and will help you stand out from the crowd.

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Personal branding is essential for growth

Why develop a personal branding strategy?

While personal brands can be effective, why should you take the time to develop a unique personal branding strategy?

The right personal brand or branding strategy can significantly impact your company (especially if you started it) and your professional future.

Personal branding gives you credibility and authenticity. Your brand exists beyond the kinds of marketing materials you put out. It exists when people discuss you in a professional context, when individuals decide whether to hire or promote you, and whether lenders decide to give you money to begin the startup you’ve always dreamed about.

With the right personal brand, you will:

  • Seem more authentic and, in turn, more trustworthy to some individuals
  • Be better able to convince people to try your product or brand, especially for the first time
  • Have more professional charisma, which is distinct from the everyday charm that can also be useful

Personal branding is often inextricably attached to companies. Again, think of Apple without Steve Jobs. In the minds of many consumers, the two are still inseparable.

There are many more examples as well. For example, Elon Musk and Tesla are linked together, as are Bill Gates and Microsoft. Other brands like Tom Cruise and his movie series are linked thanks to Cruise’s personal brand and energy.

Bottom line: It’s important to consciously cultivate and maintain an effective personal brand, so you have good professional opportunities in the future. Without a personal brand, promoters, hiring committee members, and lenders will only have your resume to consider. That lowers the likelihood of you getting what you want. 

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12 personal brand examples

Now that you know what the personal brand is—and the importance of developing an effective brand strategy—let’s go over some real-world brand personality examples. Odds are you’ve heard of or seen at least most of these individuals.

Elon Musk

If you are interested in tech, you’ve probably heard of Elon Musk. Musk has one of the most influential and well-known brands in the world. A few of the key terms that describe Musk’s brand include:

  • Innovative
  • Eco-friendly
  • Boundary-pushing
  • Driven
  • SpaceX
  • Tesla

Musk has a massive personal brand that has both its positives and negatives. After all, as one of the richest people on the planet, his activities attract some criticism, particularly for certain publicity stunts (such as shooting one of his vehicles into space).

Nevertheless, Musk has cultivated a powerful personal brand over the years. He’s the face of many innovative companies, such as the electric car company Tesla, the rocket company SpaceX, the neurological research company Neuralink, and more. Musk demonstrates how one’s personal brand can improve the value of a company—for example, Musk’s popularity has risen (and fallen) in tandem with the stock price of Tesla. 

Alice Thorpe

Alice Thorpe is a freelance graphic designer who produces content both for her brand and for designers on YouTube. As an expert in graphic design, she has mastered the casual, lighthearted, yet attractive design aesthetic you can now find across the Internet.

 

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A post shared by Alice Thorpe (@alicethorpe_)

Her brand is also personified by a theme similar to those exemplified by popular companies like Apple and Progressive. This voice and theme help to communicate to her target audience that she’s informative yet approachable without being intimidating. On top of that, Thorpe’s natural personality seems authentic and cheery, two great elements for any online entrepreneur or freelance artist.

Bill Nye

Every child from the last few generations knows Bill Nye, the Science Guy. Nye created a personal brand after noticing a gap in the entertainment and educational industries, learning science simply wasn’t fun for many kids. Nye changed that and developed a personal brand and “character” for his popular educational show.

Nye’s aesthetic and style are earnest, appreciative, and informative (and a little cheesy). It’s all rounded out by a classical look of a suit and lab coat and a bowtie. Nye’s branding strategy involves regular additions to the scientific field and promotions for books and other science-related content.

All in all, Nye’s personal branding strategy is a master class in how to reach a wide audience that isn’t necessarily susceptible to traditional advertising techniques or energy.

Tony Robbins

Almost everyone has heard the name Tony Robbins at least once. As the self-help guru who took the world by storm several decades ago, Robbins is still a prominent personality, partially because of his prolific content output. Robbins still holds lots of seminars and publishes books regularly.

But all those sales and seminar appearances are driven by his personal branding, which is dominated by charisma, an energetic outlook, and a youthful drive to succeed. However, Robbins also provides an example of changing one’s branding as one gets older.

The Tony Robbins of his younger years was a lot more boisterous and loud, to say the least. While still enthusiastic and charismatic, Robbins is now more subdued and sophisticated. This has enabled him to not only retain his previous audience but expand it over time. His personal branding also uses a professional, button-down wardrobe and style that helps display confidence, authority, and authenticity all at the same time.

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Melyssa Griffin's brand identity relies on authenticity

Melyssa Griffin

Melyssa Griffin’s branding relies heavily on authority and empathetic authenticity. She’s an entrepreneur educator who offers books and other content to help bloggers increase their sales and conversion rates.

This can be seen in her website and image: simple, refined, and energetic, thanks to the colors used on her sales page. She has a personal brand that reflects her dedication to her clients and customers and her true empathy for the struggles of beginning bloggers who may not know how to make their websites reach their full potential.

At the same time, Griffin’s brand emphasizes her expertise and the potential help she can provide to her clients. This is an effective and winning combination that can work in almost any industry.

Shaun White

Shaun White is an X Games and Olympic Games athlete whose personal brand has largely stayed the same over the years but to great effect. As a snowboarding and skateboarding champion, White’s personal brand is dominated by energy, athleticism, and a go-getter spirit that says, “nothing is too tough for me.”

This brand attracts like-minded thinkers and startup entrepreneurs especially. His website doubles down on this aesthetic and personal branding strategy, offering energizing photos of his physical feats. It’s heavy on the visuals, but this helps to impose the impressiveness of White’s brand on visitors (and potential sponsors, certainly).

Martha Stewart

Like several individuals on this list, everyone knows who Martha Stewart is. The chef and interior design extraordinaire is a true Renaissance woman, offering a personal brand example that isn’t limited to a single industry.

Instead, Stewart’s brand is defined by aesthetics. Helpful tips and a grandmotherly attitude mixed with a healthy appreciation for life and new experiences combine into a brand that’s welcoming to everyone. Indeed, this is reflected on Stuart’s website, where one can find summer travel guides, tutorials on applying makeup properly, and delicious recipes.

Stewart’s personal branding is a good example of how to evolve one’s look over the years. She’s been in the public spotlight for decades and hasn’t slowed down once.

 

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Gary Vaynerchuk

Then there’s Gary Vaynerchuk. This driven entrepreneur turned a small family liquor store business into one of the world’s largest e-commerce corporations. He started as an influencer on social media channels but developed his brand over time by leaning hard on self-determinism, authenticity, and similar attributes.

As he created content on platforms like YouTube and Instagram, he eventually pivoted to VaynerMedia, now a major online content company. Vaynerchuk’s brand is as well known as some product brands in supermarkets and general stores around the country.

If you’re involved in social media or digital marketing, you’ve likely seen Vaynerchuk’s influence or his personal brand on major advertising platforms, guides, and more.

Charli Marie

Charli Marie is a major entrepreneur and design expert. She studied design before developing a T-shirt business based originally on a punk band called Fall Out Boy. By herself, Marie created a personal brand and an e-commerce empire based on selling T-shirts through her existing fan base on the social media site Tumblr.

However, Marie faced a setback as her T-shirt business eventually fell. This only inspired Marie further, who now has a design brand attached to her name. Her brand is characterized by a quirky, casual aesthetic, instantly recognizable to fans of YouTube design tutorials and guides.

These days, Marie hosts a very successful YouTube channel and uses her design skills to spread her brand far and wide. Her personal website demonstrates how your brand can be simple and lean heavily into the fundamentals while still being very effective and profitable. 

Nesha Woolery

Nesha Woolery has a personal brand that’s direct, to the point, yet also welcoming at the same time. As one can see from her online website, Woolery has excellent design, project management, and organization skills. She’s dedicated her brand to reaching out to female designers through offering online courses, articles, and video tutorials.

As essentially a freelance advisor, Woolery’s personal brand relies heavily on authenticity and authority. Her website and advertising materials double down on her knowledge and the value she can provide to aspiring entrepreneurs who take her classes and consume her services.

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Nesha Woolery has a clearly defined her personal brand

Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama would still be famous as the former first lady, but her personal branding strategy has cemented her as a pop-culture pillar for decades. Intelligent, resourceful, and well-spoken, Obama’s brand leans heavily into her former political position.

Unlike many male politicians, Michelle Obama’s personal branding is more empathetic and individualized and emphasizes making a difference through gathering opinions and affecting change. Her branding strategy is political but avoids much of the mudslinging the politics field is known for due to her earnestness (read: authenticity) and authority.

She’s a great example of a personal brand that relies less on raw charisma or charm and more on honesty, integrity, and empathy: key tools for public speakers, teachers, and future or current politicians. 

Richard Branson

Last but not least is the founder of Virgin Group, which includes the Virgin-themed airline, space travel company, and many more organizations. Branson’s personal branding reflects his corporations’ somewhat eclectic range of services. As an entrepreneur, philanthropist, and author, Branson nonetheless chooses to portray himself as a surfer uncle type: casual, laid-back, and wizened in perhaps unique ways.

This personal branding strategy is brilliant for more reasons than one. Branson’s brand makes him unforgettable, approachable, and authentic without diminishing his authority or intelligence. All one has to do is check his social media pages to see how his personal branding energy comes through the screen to potential viewers, sponsors, and customers.

What do these examples have in common?

The above brand archetype examples could not be more different at first glance. However, they do have several key similarities, such as:

  • Consistency. Each of these brands is consistent in its tone, offerings, and authenticity.
  • Positivity. No personal brand can be successful if it is pessimistic.
  • Helpful. The last shared note between these personal brands is an attitude of helpfulness. Each brand has something to offer prospective readers, users, shoppers, or consumers.

Keep these factors in mind when developing a strong personal brand for yourself.

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Authenticity is key to a branding style

Personal brand statement examples

While personal brands are important, you should also consider personal brand statements when devising a strategy or creating a personal brand from scratch. Personal brand statements are catchphrases or company-attached lines designed to intrigue consumers and give first-time visitors insight into what a brand represents.

For example, the marketing guru Neil Patel has a simple, straightforward, yet very effective personal brand statement: “do you want more traffic?”

This statement tells you immediately that Patel:

  • Is in the digital marketing industry
  • Probably knows what he’s talking about
  • Is confident enough to come right out of the gate asking if you want something very valuable as a digital marketer/business owner

Personal branding statements do a lot of heavy lifting and can quickly help you get a bigger consumer base or audience.

Here’s another example: “be a blessing.” That’s one of the many personal branding statements from Tony Robbins. Again, this branding statement tells you a lot about his energy, life outlook, and the value he could add to your brand were you to sign up for one of his seminars or take one of his classes.

Or take a look at CryptoWallet’s website. The big statement is, “Crypto is Money. Let’s use it.” This is short, easy to understand, and attractive for practically anyone interesting in making some cash with crypto.

So, it’s a good idea to develop a personal brand statement for yourself and your company. You can put it on your website, on the back of your book, and in numerous other places.

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Personal branding is essential to a business too

Personal Branding FAQs

What is personal branding?

Personal branding is the practice of creating an authentic, effective persona around yourself for professional purposes. With the right personal brand, you’ll be more successful, more persuasive, and draw people to your brand more easily than before.

Where should you use a personal brand?

Everywhere you can! This isn’t to say you have to advertise your business or website everywhere, of course. However, you could use your personal brand for:

  • Marketing materials you put out for your company or blog posts
  • The products you make, such as books, online classes on Teachable, and more
  • Your social media posts, especially when interacting with your target audience
  • Your website’s design. Your brand should influence its aesthetic, theme, and layout in several ways. For example, GetWeave’s web design is informative, intuitive, and caring from the get-go, showcasing a great brand identity for the company.

Ideally, your brand will feel authentic and as inextricable a part of you as your real personality. In this way, you’ll start to use your personal brand and benefit from it passively without having to think about it. 

What are the 5 As of personal branding?

There are many elements to a successful personal brand. For the best results, you can remember the 5 As of personal branding. Keep these aspects in mind when developing your marketing strategies, creating materials, deciding on a personal statement, and much more.

The 5 As are:

  • Authenticity
  • Authority
  • Aspiration
  • Affinity
  • Artistry

Authenticity is self-explanatory. The more authentic you seem, the more people will connect with your personal brand, and the more likely they will trust you as a salesperson, visionary, or startup entrepreneur. 

Make sure that your personal branding is similar to your true personality! If you try to create a personal brand that runs contrary to who you are in your everyday life, you’ll eventually slip, or people will be able to tell the difference. Don’t try to be someone you want; instead, take the positive elements of your natural energy and weave them into your brand.

Authority is also important when making a successful personal brand identity since it contributes to consumer trust. After all, no one will want to trust what you have to say about your subject if you don’t carry enough authority.

Aspiration is similarly important, though especially so for visionaries or startup entrepreneurs. 

Affinity roughly translates to perceivable talent or knowledge – people want to know that you know what you are talking about and how to bring about the major change or dreams you speak of.

Lastly, ensure that your branding efforts benefit from a bit of artistry. A little dramatic flair or style can go a long way to help you stand out from others building their personal brands.

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Author: Nahla Davies, Nahla Davies is a software developer and tech writer. Before devoting her work full time to technical writing, she managed—among other intriguing things—to serve as a lead programmer at an Inc. 5,000 experiential branding organization whose clients include Samsung, Time Warner, Netflix, and Sony.

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