Can I be a brand? I’m sure it has crossed your mind at least a couple of times in the last year, specially witnessing so many people turning themselves into true web superstars in their niches.
The answer is simple: Hell Yes
But before the photography, the name, the design and all the cool stuff that goes on the front-end, there has to be a solid foundation. As Seth Godin calls it in his last book, you need to become a Linchpin. I wanted to say that because the 7 people I’m showcasing in this post are the real deal, they are not just a cool image.
The outside perception meets the inside reality. I like setting expectations straight, you do not become a brand by looking good online. The web is an amplifier, be careful with what comes up to the surface.
That said, let’s take a look at these people that have turned their names into kick-ass brands. I wanted to show people that have leveraged the social web to build trust around them, at the same time, I didn’t want to go with the obvious (before you go screaming that I didn’t mention Gary Vaynerchuk…).
Danielle is a living brand that goes beyond the online world, she is a published author (Style Statement: Live by your own design), and more recently a contributor on the TV show Connect with Mark Kelley. She advices entrepreneurs through her “Fire Starter Sessions” and blogs at her own White Hot Truth. You can also catch her on Twitter.
Jamie Oliver and his Food Revolution. I’m sure you’ve seen his Ted talk that took his name to the next level. Jamie is today a true media powerhouse. Stop by his website and while you’re there, sign his petition to make school lunches better. Also follow the revolution on Twitter.
Chris Guillebeau is the founder of “The Art Of Non-Conformity“, an awesome blog about unconventional living. Chris has it all as a kick-ass brand, great design on everything he puts out there, great writing style, but what I love about it is the message he delivers on his blog and products. I just noticed on his site that his book will launch this fall, I’m not one bit surprised.
Here is how I will describe Gwen Bell: Influence Powerhouse. She doesn’t have a million followers on Twitter but was able to get more than 700 bloggers involved on her “Best Of 2009 Blog Challenge” with a simple hashtag. 2 places to find Gwen, her blog and Twitter.
Jonathan Fields runs his own blog Awake@TheWeel where he shares great content about entrepreneurship, work and life. He is also the author of Career Renegade and more recently founder of Tribal Author, a great resources on everything related to book marketing, publishing and launching a book and more. Also follow Jonathan on Twitter.
Anybody that refers to her followers as “bitches” deserves my immediate respect. It is a pleasure to read her just for her kick-ass writing style. She blogs at Redhead Writing, has guest-posted at CopyBlogger and you can also follow her on Twitter.
His book LinkedWorking has establish him as the go-to-guy for everything LinkedIn. Lewis Howes is a big player of the social game, he blogs at his own LewisHowes.com and if it wasn’t work enough to run a successful blog, he’s the founder of SportsNetworker. Follow him on Twitter.
Personal branding is not just about the visual image, we have said that, but when you’re ready, make sure you have the resources in place to help you not only with good design, the right messages and the technology but to also represent exactly who you are.
If you’re an entrepreneur, YOU are more important than the current venture you’re involved in. If you work for a company, position yourself as a stand-alone brand, bigger than that company. The transparency on the new web allows you to see a person from all angles. Take a look a these people and the brand created around them to use as models to follow or, if you have your own in your industry, pay attention to them.
Now It’s Your Turn…
Suggest your own now in the comments section. Who do you think has done a great job at branding his/her own name? No matter what industry…