7 Examples Of Kick-Ass Personal Branding

10 Examples Of Kick-Ass Personal Brands 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 Laporte

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.

Danielle Laporte - White Hot Truth

Jamie Oliver

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.

Jamie Oliver - Food Revolution

Chris Guillebeau

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.

Chris Guillebeau - The Art Of Non-Conformity

Gwen Bell

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.

Gwen Bell

Jonathan Fields

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.

Jonathan Fields - Career Renegade

Erika Napoletano

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.

Erika Napoletano - Redhead Writing

Lewis Howes

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.

Lewis Howes - Linked Working

Final Thought

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…

  • http://whitehottruth.com/ DanielleLaPorte

    I always wanted to hag with Jamie Oliver! Thanks for making that happen.

  • http://twitter.com/chrisguillebeau chrisguillebeau

    Thanks so much for the props. These other peeps are great too!

  • http://www.mindthebeginner.net Christiaan – Mind the Beginner

    A lot to learn from these people, their names do get around don't they 🙂 It seems they turn up wherever you go.

  • http://www.shawnchristenson.com Shawn Christenson

    Great write-up. I am happy to see un-conventional people listed. I thought when starting it I was going to read about media personalities primarily. I like that you've shown that a personal brand doesn't only have to mean a big spotlight.

  • http://www.socialmouths.com Francisco Rosales

    Exactly the point Shawn, thank you. I was very easy to mention the usual suspects everybody has already seen. What I like about this list is that I really admire their work.

  • http://www.socialmouths.com Francisco Rosales

    Don't mention it Chris, I truly admire what you do.

  • beckyholland

    Great post! As I am working on improving my personal brand it is great to have some real life role models to keep an eye on for new and inspirational ideas. Thanks for finding some wonderful, fun fresh individuals!

  • jonathanfields

    Thanks for including me in this list of waaay smarter and cooler luminaries than I!

  • http://www.soundadvicesales.com Phyllis Nichols

    What an interesting group. I was not familiar with Gwen or Danielle. Looking forward to reading some of their work.

  • JoelRunyon

    Excellent List!
    Love them all!

  • http://www.redheadwriting.com The Redhead

    I'm with Jonathan – thanks for allowing me into the “cool kids” list. I'm so calling my mom – FINALLY I won't be the last one picked for the dodgeball team! Glad you found value in *me* – it's the only asset I have 🙂

  • http://www.redheadwriting.com The Redhead

    Any by the way – your Related Posts widget is way kickass…which one do you use? I'm always trolling for great WordPress tools.

  • http://www.socialmouths.com Francisco Rosales

    Thank you Erika, we're using “WP Popular Posts” to get the data but it was customized to look like that. Glad you like it.

    And… thanks for stopping by!

  • http://twitter.com/korneluk Keith Korneluk

    First, thanks for the great list. A couple of these people I hadn't heard of. However I hold you personally accountable for providing me with even more material in my RSS reader to sift through. 🙂

  • gwenbell

    Holy smokin' hotness. Honored to be part of this lineup of peeps. Thanks, Francisco!

  • http://www.redheadwriting.com The Redhead

    Giggity! Guess who's got two thumbs and is sending her developer a link…

    <<<This girl!

  • http://www.socialmouths.com Francisco Rosales

    Glad you liked it Gwen. Thanks for stopping by!

  • http://www.10thstep.com Wayne

    Really great list with great insight thanks for this

  • http://spotlightportfolios.com/ Allen – Personalbrander

    I had seen few people who emerged like a brand not with an intense of gaining marketing benefits but being realistic the way they are! And from such incidents we can learn that even businesses can build brand online being genuine with what they say!

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  • http://playitforward.posterous.com/ Kat Jaibur

    Love the Redhead and Chris. Recently discovered Jonathan. And really like what Danielle is about, so thanks for that tip. Lewis, also, as I need to dive deeper into LI.

    One thing I noticed from digging waaaaay back in the Redhead's blog posts is that a voice and a brand develop over time. As confidence grows, so does your presence. Even the boldest must have an element of “can I get away with this?” somewhere inside, don't you think? My hunch is that being true + time + positive response is the key to a strong brand.

    Would love to hear from the people featured here if that's right, or how they think they've done it.

  • http://www.socialmouths.com Francisco Rosales

    Love your comment Kat. I think you're right, along the way we all need some kind of validation to see if we're down the right path, in everything we do.

  • http://www.facebook.com/pages/FirstFound-SEO-Manchester/112773592075518 Andy @ FirstFound

    I remember Jamie Oliver as a young upstart just getting airtime. He's built himself into a fantastic worldwide brand. Great shout.

  • http://www.kyliewrites.com Kylie

    I'm a huge fan of Pace and Kyeli at Freak Revolution: http://freakrevolution.com/. I love that their identities are totally not mainstream, and yet they're relatable. They manage to somehow be themselves and still reach a wide audience, and I find it really remarkable.

  • ShellyKramer

    Great post, Francisco. And all these people rock. I was at SOBCon in Chicago a few weeks ago and lucky enough to share a room with my home girl, @redheadwriting and get a chance to listen to both Louis and Jonathan, who were both presenters. What a terrific group of people they all are. And Gwen is amazing …. so glad you recognized her here. And Jamie — love what he's doing with Food Revolution — what a recognizable brand he's created.

    Thanks for the read and, more importantly, for recognizing people who aren't the same cast of characters that we all read about all time.


  • ShellyKramer

    PS I forgot to mention Danielle, who is the only on in this cast of characters that I don't know — and I'll be stalking her henceforth … thanks for the nudge :)))))

  • http://www.socialmouths.com Francisco Rosales

    Thank you Kylie, I will check them out.

  • http://www.socialmouths.com Francisco Rosales

    Thank you Shelly, that was exactly the point, to showcase individuals in different segments that people can identify with. Personal brands are possible not just for the usual suspects, the ones involved in the social media circuit.

    Thanks for stopping by =)

  • http://www.pushingsocial.com Stanford Smith

    First time I ever signed up to get b_tch slapped – Follow @redheadwriting or else

  • http://www.alfaya.es JFA

    As I suggested in Twitter, Hugh MacLeod would be my choice 🙂

    Regards from Madrid!

  • http://twitter.com/simonvd Simon v Duivenvoorde

    Just a great list of inspiring people. Thanks.
    Everybody can be a brand / kick-ass personality. I'm still finding great people that produce amazing content on a daily basis on the internet. It's up to you (and me!) to act and be some else's inspirator!

  • http://budurl.com/ynfr Megan Zuniga

    Thanks for this great post! These people are truly inspiring. I love Jamie Oliver. And I love what's he's trying to do to America's food habits–which I think is a great challenge. And I also enjoy Jonathan Field's blog site. He always offer fresh perspective on different subject matters. It is truly a challenge nowadays to create our own brand–to stand up above the rest.
    PS…Sharing more tips on creating your own brand: http://sn.im/w6sgb

  • http://www.iulianionescu.com/ Iulian Ionescu

    Indeed awesome profiles! Well selected and nicely presented! Well done!

    All the best,


  • http://twitter.com/nandoism nandoism®

    what a great post and you shine the light on some positive people. I think Paula Deen has good branding and she's got her brand slapped on several items now–work it Paula! And nice meeting ya!

  • http://www.socialmouths.com Francisco Rosales

    Thanks for stopping by, I'll definitely check her out.

    Nice meeting you too =)

  • http://www.marsdorian.com/ Mars Dorian

    Really kick-ass examples, I especially luv Daniella and Chris – their styles are both inspiring and highly remarkable. We need more of those people !

  • http://cashwithatrueconscience.com/rbblog Ryan

    Hi Francisco,

    Excellent branding read, thanks for sharing these great examples.

    Branding is being you, with flair. It's not a picture or design but the total package plus a dash of charisma which helps to create a brand.

    As for awesome branders Mars Dorian is an emerging superstar in my eyes. The guy continues to churn out real posts on a daily basis which have helped me to expand my awareness of branding. Keep an eye out for him 😉

    Thanks for sharing your insight Francisco.


  • citysylvester

    This is a great list of some amazing personal brands, thanks for posting.

  • http://www.socialmouths.com Francisco Rosales

    Thanks for your comment Ryan. I agree with comment about Mars, he's been doing a great job building his brand.

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  • http://twitter.com/seobro Seo Bro

    Yeah, uncoventional is me. I find beige boring and then some. People need to be more. OK as for the seven exams you give us, what can we say – pure awesomeness.

  • http://www.searchengineoptimisation.com Phil

    One thing is sure that this post will make many of readers to create unique branded pages on social sites mainly on twitter….good work

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  • http://flawlessfitnessbook.com/blog FitJerk – No BS Fitness

    uh… Gary Vaynerchuk? Almost shat my pants in disbelief that he's not on this list. Don't get me wrong, these are some honorable mentions but c'mon now. Credit where credit is due.

  • http://www.brentter.com brentter

    Way to write another top 5, 7, 10, whatever… type post. You really must have some kick ass branding yourself..

    P.s. [high-five] to redheadwriting. Why don't you take your boyfriends balls outta your mouth and actually start writing something that u feel has meaning, not what you think will be link bait for yourself.

    P.P.s. dude, you sell an ebook. thats pathetic.

  • http://www.redheadwriting.com The Redhead

    Ummm…wow. I don't have a boyfriend, but when I *do* allow someone in my life in that capacity, I certainly don't walk around with a Nad Snack. Francisco's post was a surprise to me and I got two great things out of it: a compliment for what it is that I just…DO…and a kick ass plugin idea from another blogger.

    As a note, by writing “u” I'm confident you mean “you.” Possibly “ewe,” but likely the former. #hattip

  • http://www.redheadwriting.com The Redhead

    Gary V. – you're right 🙂 I've only had the pleasure of meeting him once, but he is everything in person he puts out there online. I'd have shat my pants to make the same lists as him!

  • http://www.redheadwriting.com The Redhead

    Gary V. – you're right 🙂 I've only had the pleasure of meeting him once, but he is everything in person he puts out there online. I'd have shat my pants to make the same lists as him!

  • http://flawlessfitnessbook.com/blog FitJerk – No BS Fitness

    Hah, well time for pantie clean up.

  • http://www.brentter.com brentter

    I was being sarcastic about this post being just another top 7 type niche.

    the high five was indeed for u erika and it was in response to the compliments made. Hell, if I had known you aren't into high fives anymore i would have just as happily given u a “respect knuckles” instead….. now i feel like i somehow got accused of faking the high-five and at the last second jumping away going “pysch! McDoyle Rules!”…(or whatever the damn movie quote is).

    I probably should have hit the enter key after that because the remainder of the msg was not directed towards you…It was actually in jest, and yes, aimed at the writer of the post… i found some irony in the topic + reasoning he gives at the top but then continues on with this type of piece.

    now if u could get the sarcasm from the p.p.s. about the ebook then i can't help u there..

  • http://www.redheadwriting.com The Redhead


  • http://www.redheadwriting.com The Redhead

    Sometimes things are lost in translation over the interwebz.

    And in Francisco's defense (though he doesn't need me to defend him), why would a top blog NOT capture a monetization opportunity like an eBook? And with regard to “list style” blogs, I think you were there in the session at Freelance Camp where we talked about the most well-received types of blog content. Lists are hot. You write for your readers, not to self-copulate 🙂

    C'est ca.

  • http://www.technoskillonline.com Blogging tips

    I don't know any personal branding tips…but learned something from here..

    Great post Francisco 😀

    — Sudharsan @ Technoskillonline

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  • Anonymous

    I think Annabel Candy from GetintheHotspot has done a great job on her own branding and I do love Chris Guillebeau too. I hope to improve with mine as I learn more with time. Thanks for introducing us to these amazing people.

  • http://www.integraphix.com Integraphix Chicago Marketing

    The ‘Personal Branding’ examples here are mostly ‘DBA’ rather than the person’s personal name. Red Headed Blogger is easier to remember than ‘Erika Napoletano’.

  • http://twitter.com/RyanCritchett Ryan Critchett

    Interesting examples, Francisco. It’s an art! Love J Fields. His authenticity is apparent, and that aligns really well with me. 

    I think Carol Roth does a pretty good job at personal branding. 

  • http://www.wfgreview.com/post/2011/04/18/World-Financial-Group-Convention-of-Champions-2011-e28093-Register-Now!.aspx WFG Convention

    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. 

  • http://www.sameerkamat.com/ SK @ Writing & Publishing Blog

    When it comes to personal branding,  Richard Branson comes to mind. He has done a fantastic job for himself and all his businesses.

  • Anonymous

    Your web site is top-notch I will have to read it all, thank you for the diversion from my classwork!

  • http://twitter.com/FenderJBass Jim Gurganious

    I follow a few of these folks but notice there are no people of color on this list-hoping to see more balance in the social media world

  • Anonymous

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  • http://www.appster.com.au/ android developer sydney

    Stop by his wab site and while you’re there, sign his petition to make school lunches better.

  • http://www.mybellasmile.com/ Malika

    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.

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  • http://pokeflirt.com/ Michael Vera

    This is my first time reading your website dude. And I have to say it’s totally kick butt. I’m 17 and I’m about to graduate, and I love learning more and more about these kinds of social media things. You just earned a new reader!!

  • VanessaElizebeth

    Thank you for the post.Thanks for letting me comment on it.

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  • Larry Hawkins II

    It’s great to see this list of people from almost 4 years ago and see that almost all of them are still going strong and engaged with the community. It’s inspiring for someone like me who is aspiring to establish himself in the same way that these people have. If anyone has any suggestions, or tips, in my current pursuit, I would love your input. Advice on how to make my website even more personal would be great. Thanks all!


  • Deeznuttz

    Did you mean advises, in the first description? I would think one great way to start a brand is to proof read your content.

  • Alan Scott

    When does “personal branding” cross the line to “toxic narcissism?” ‘Cause, like, really, these people are pushing themselves as businesses, not people.