What is a Personal Brand?
A Personal Brand is your unique profile, reputation and image. It’s how your audience comes to know of you, what they perceive you stand for and what they think you do before they meet you. It’s particular to you and identifiable only to you.
Personal Branding anchors your reputation online, in the media and on social media. When you have a strong Personal Brand, you become the authority and thought leader in your field. Personal Branding is so potent and so valuable because it builds The Brand Spiral. This is exactly what makes it one of the smartest – and most commercially lucrative – marketing strategies available today.
The Brand Spiral
The Brand Spiral is a win-win loop where business brands are amplified through strong Personal Brands and, in turn, Personal Brands are strengthened through strong business brands. The signal is not only amplified on both sides, it’s an ever-growing, upwardly moving, win-win movement.
With a robust Personal Brand, you become a leader in the mind of your audience. This is why an audience will choose you over others. A strong, authentic Personal Brand makes you the leader your audience seeks out.
Examples of successful Personal Branding
Building your authentic reputation takes time and a concerted effort. However, it’s always helpful to learn from the experience of others and use examples of prominent and successful Personal Brands to motivate you to invest in the creation of your own, powerful Personal Brand.
Read through the following examples of successful Personal Brands to inspire you as you consider the evolution of your own Personal Brand and set your own goals.
Professional athlete turned lifestyle entrepreneur, Lewis Howes, is a great example of how you can activate the Brand Spiral to accelerate your business brand, whilst simultaneously building your Personal Brand.
After suffering a devastating loss, Lewis was faced with a choice: give in to the negativity and grief or pick himself up and use his experience to inspire, motivate and help others. He chose to create a lifestyle business based on his passions and personal goals, and in turn, created the ideal lifestyle for himself.
Building a new career based around his professional and personal pursuits saw him become a New York Times bestselling author and host of chart-topping podcast, The School of Greatness, which has amassed millions of downloads.
The key to Lewis’ success has been that he teaches others how to build a life doing what they love based on his own personal experiences – his work is a reflection of the Brand Spiral in action. He is authentic, passionate and driven to help people achieve greatness in all areas of life.
Along the way, Lewis also realised the importance of data capture as a powerful brand building tool. He developed an online quiz asking his audience what they were really seeking to achieve in their lives and how he could help them get there, which grew his database by a mammoth 42%.
An academy award winning actress, Gwenyth Paltrow, used a comprehensive Personal Branding strategy to diversify her career into lifestyle and wellness. She is now author of four New York Times bestselling cookbooks and the Founder and CEO of lifestyle company Goop.
Gwenyth systematically grew her audience by diversifying her communication channels and focusing on building authority. One of her most effective authority-building tactics was creating a catalogue of thought-leadership content. This allowed her audience to begin seeing her as a credible leader in diverse wellness topics.
Since then, Gwenyth has created her own branded lines of clothing, skin care, fragrance, vitamins and supplements and body products.
Her Personal Branding is purposefully inclusive and supportive of other female entrepreneurs, often featuring collaborations. This ensures that her Personal Brand is congruent with her personal values, creating a sense of authenticity for her audience.
It is an active example of how a Personal and organisational brand can use the power of the Brand Spiral to build and engage audiences and grow consumer response.
One of today’s most influential marketing experts, Seth Godin is a bestselling author known for his expert leadership and industry commentary.
Seth’s personal and business brands are built around his passion of observing common issues people face, experimenting with different solutions, and then making them available to his audience. His work allows people to benefit from his knowledge and deeply aligns with his own personal values.
Another great example of the Brand Spiral at work, Seth’s business brand very cleverly leverages his Personal Brand. For example, his book The Icarus Deception was launched through a crowdfunded KickStarter campaign that relied entirely on his already built, authentic online reputation. With a goal to raise $40,000 that he achieved in just three hours; the total campaign profits ended up at seven times that initial amount.
For those who haven’t heard of Kris Carr, her personal story is one of resilience and persistence. Faced with terminal cancer as a young woman, she chose to dedicate her life to wellness, using her experience to improve the lives of others.
Her Personal Brand is successful because it is, at its foundations, highly authentic. Her business brand reflects her personal values with clarity and congruence. At every touchpoint Kris’ Personal Brand is recognisable through her consistent visual branding.
From calming pinks to handwritten typography, Kris’ visual imagery, professional photography and colour palette capture her positive attitude and aspirational messaging. The outcome? An elevated sense of personal connection between her and the viewer. Her Personal Brand has solidified her reputation amongst her loyal followers.
Internet entrepreneur and best selling author Mark Manson is an excellent example of how creating a truly authentic Personal Brand can lead to exceptionally powerful results. Rather than pretending to be polished and perfect, Mark created a Personal Brand that articulates him as he is – swear words and all.
Now famous for self-development books such as The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, Mark initially began growing his audience through a blog.
With a loyal audience in tow, he began writing books, launched a subscription service and branched out into wider social media platforms. Mark also offers courses in life skills such as finding purpose, resilience and healthy relationships.
Mark’s Personal Branding messaging is clear, he is not your typical self-help ‘guru’. Much of his advice flies in the face of conventional self-help wisdom.
He has harnessed the power of storytelling and by revealing himself – quite vulnerably – to his audience, Mark demonstrates how his advice has worked for him, which endorses his message..
Like him, his Personal Branding website is unadorned and direct. It demonstrates a key pillar of a winning Personal Branding strategy – authentic content and genuine presentation win over polished perfection every time.
Brené Brown needs no introduction. A leading academic, researcher, presenter and expert on the power of vulnerability, Brené has built her Personal Brand through excelling in storytelling across multi-channels, placing herself front and centre as the vulnerable protagonist in her story. She does so by openly sharing her story – the good, bad and the ugly, and in this way she illustrates her precepts and research analysis.
Chief Executive Officer of The Daring Way, Brené has written multiple books, runs a professional training and certification program, lucrative public speaking career and podcast.
Her personal and organisational brands work symbiotically, each pushing new audiences to the other, amplifying Brené’s marketing power to grow audiences and delivering higher impact.
The Power of Personal Branding
Personal Branding anchors your reputation online, in the media and on social media.
When you have a strong Personal Brand, you become the authority and thought leader in your field.
Through the creation of a strong Personal Brand, leaders can activate the Brand Spiral. The Brand Spiral works to accelerate the growth of a business brand through the amplification of a Personal Brand. It is a win-win loop that sees the consistent evolution and growth of both brands in alignment with each other.
The key to a successful Personal Brand is authenticity. This establishes a shared pool of meaning with your audience, cementing trust and loyalty.
Successful Personal Brands are grounded in transparency and articulation of your personal values. Your values convey your ‘why’ and who you are to your audience. They help your audience to know who you are, not by what you do, but by why you do it.
A strong visual identity is essential to the success of a Personal Brand. It plays an important role in storytelling your message to your audiences and helps you become more recognisable and memorable.
Change makers and leaders can learn more about creating a strong, authentic Personal Brand that resonates with their audiences in our guide to Personal Branding Essentials.