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Personal Branding Examples – How to Use Brand for Business Success

Every marketer wants to get personal branding right but only a few are actually able to build a noticeable brand presence that helps them propel their business. Reason? Most personal branding lessons and ideas you’ll find out there are based on reverse engineering cases of successful personal branding. While it’s easy to draw lessons from these cases, you can’t use them to build brands. This is where this post intends to help. We bring you the top 5 personal branding examples with key takeaways that you can use to build your brand from the ground up.

1. Neil Patel

top personal branding examples neil patel

His Success Story

Popularly known as Neil Patel the SEO, he is an entrepreneur, angel investor, and analytics expert. He helps companies like Amazon, NBC, GM, HP, and Viacom grow their revenue and expand their web presence using digital marketing. President Obama has recognized him as one of the Top 100 Entrepreneurs under the age of 30, while the United Nations has acknowledged him as one of the Top 100 Entrepreneurs under the age of 35. Neil also has a Congressional Recognition from the United States House of Representatives up his sleeve.

How his Personal Brand Propelled his Business?

He is the co-founder of four multi-million dollar companies – HelloBar, CrazyEgg, QuickSprout, and Kissmetrics. If you are reading this article it’s likely that you already know most of this. (Yes, he is that popular!) Every digital marketer comes to know about Neil at some point during his learning curve.

Neil Patel

The reason most people fail to scale their businesses or achieve grand success is due to the lack of demand/popularity. And that is exactly why Neil is successful. He has utilized his popularity and established brand among his target audience (digital marketers) to turn mere tools into four million-dollar-companies.

Related Read: How Neil Patel Got Kissmetrics $16M Worth of Traffic for Free

Key Takeaways

Here are two key takeaways from Neil’s personal branding success

Be an early adopter– Neil started digital marketing in 2001 when only agencies were talking about it.
Build your expertise fast– As an early adopter, you don’t have the option to go slow. You have to learn fast and then start teaching people to establish your expertise.

Think You Know Neil Patel Well? Take this Assessment to Find Out.

2. Rand Fishkin

Rand Fishkin personal branding examples

His Success Story

Rand Fishkin is dearly known as the Wizard of Moz, which is one of the most renowned SEO entities out there today. It has raised three rounds of funding since its inception – $1.1 Million in 2007, $18 Million in 2012, and another $10 Million in January 2016.

How his Personal Brand Propelled his Business?

Rand’s personal brand as the top SEO expert and Moz’s brand presence as the best place for all things SEO have helped Moz grow to ~24K paid subscribers, generating ~$38 million/year revenue.


Moz Revenue Chart 2015

This pinned tweet on Rand’s Twitter pretty much says it all –

The best way to sell something – don’t sell anything. Earn the awareness, respect, and trust of those who might buy.
— Rand Fishkin (@randfish) February 4, 2015

Key Takeaways

Find something that you really like to do and stick to it till you become exceptionally good at it. Keep doing it till the world recognizes you as an expert. This might take some time and test your faith but it is the only sure-shot way to becoming a hot-shot.

3. Joe Pulizzi


His Success Story

Joe Pulizzi is the founder of the Content Marketing Institute. He is one of the leading evangelists for content marketing, an entrepreneur, a speaker, and the author of four books on content marketing. His third book, Epic Content Marketing, ranks among the “Five Must-Read Business Books of 2013” by Fortune Magazine. He also has the 2014 John Caldwell Lifetime Achievement Award from the Content Council in his kitty.

How his Personal Brand Propelled his Business?

At the time of inception of the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), the idea of using content to market any or all businesses was non-existent. And mostly the advertising agencies were in charge of content marketing for offline businesses. Content for those businesses was what they saw on the ads and billboards.

Today, however, content is everywhere and any story can be turned into a campaign. Not only did CMI bring about this content revolution but it also played a major role in making everyday marketers, like us, a part of the revolution.

Today, CMI has more than 150K email subscribers and more than 200K followers across social media channels, the numbers only going up. Their how-to guide section is a perfect place for any marketer looking to get started with content marketing.

Key Takeaways

Want to prove your mettle in a highly competitive niche? Carve your own micro-niche and work on expanding it. While everyone was busy learning and teaching people about ‘digital marketing’, ‘online marketing’, ‘starting an online business’, or ‘creating passive income’, Joe Pulizzi’s aim was to ‘advance the practice of content marketing, through online education, print, and in-person events.’ This is what made him stand out.

4. Seth Godin


His Success Story

Running the most successful blog in the world (just type ‘Seth’ in Google and you’d know), Seth Godin is the super marketer, entrepreneur, author, and public speaker all of us folks look up to. Rightly known as the Godfather of Modern Marketing, who does the kind of marketing we’d all want to do. This quote from Forbes perfectly sums up Godin as we know him –

[Godin] is a demigod on the Web, a best-selling author, highly sought-after lecturer, successful entrepreneur, respected pundit and high-profile blogger. He is uniquely respected for his understanding of the Internet.”

His Success Story

He is the author of eighteen bestselling books that have been translated into more than thirty-five languages. He writes about the post-industrial revolution, the way ideas spread, marketing, quitting, leadership, and most of all, changing everything.

We all know that the rules of business have changed, people’s habits and behaviors have changed. The mindset, marketing, and management methods of the industrial revolution era don’t work anymore. Success in business is about understanding people and their wants. Understand what ticks for them and how you can build that into your business. And this is exactly what Seth’s books are all about.

From Permission Marketing that talks about how you can turn strangers into friends and friends into customers, to Purple Cow where he talks about the need to build remarkability into every aspect of your product/service. Or as he puts it –

“The old checklist of P’s used by marketers – Pricing, Promotion, Publicity – aren’t working anymore. The golden age of advertising is over. It’s time to add a new P – the Purple Cow.”

How his Personal Brand Propelled his Business?

Almost all of his success, be it his numerous bestsellers or his best-selling courses on Udemy, is because of his personal brand as the post-industrial era marketing genius. His blog is ranked #2 in Inbound.org’s ‘Top 50 Marketing Blogs On The Web’ list. He was inducted into the Direct Marketing Hall of Fame in 2013. However, his book, ‘The Icarus Deception’ is the most remarkable example of his business success because of his personal brand. He launched the book on Kickstarter with a $40,000 goal. The campaign reached its goal in less than 3 hours and went on to raise $287,342 from 4,242 backers and it remains one of the most successful book launches on Kickstarter.

Key Takeaways

If there is one thing that you can learn from Seth and his success, it is-

Winners don’t do different things, they do things differently.

Inbound.org’s top 50 marketing blogs list calls him ‘the godfather of modern marketing.’ Quite hard to quantify, but he is arguably one of the most influential marketers today. What’s even more interesting is – he did not invent any of the modern-day marketing methods that he talks about in his books. In fact, his books are more observations than steps, guides, and to-do lists. He simply observes to understand the most common problems that people face, experiments to find out what works and put it out there for the world to benefit from his insights.

You can be innovative and immensely successful at what you do; you just have to be stubborn enough to ignore the general perception and curious enough to look beyond the obvious.

5. Tim Ferriss


His Success Story

Tim Ferriss is the renowned author of ‘The 4-Hour Work Week’, a book that has been the #1 best-seller on the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Business. It has sold more than 1.35 Million copies in thirty-five languages worldwide and remains one of the best success literature out there among the likes of Rich Dad, Poor Dad, and The Lean Startup. Hundreds and thousands of entrepreneurs around the world have used Tim’s ideas from The 4-Hour Work Week to create their own success stories while crafting for themselves a lifestyle of their choice.

How his Personal Brand Propelled his Business?

The 4-Hour Work Week remains Tim’s most renowned work and the brand that he built from it helped him make into the A league forever. Today his blog at fourhourworkweek.com gets more than 2.4 million visitors per month, his podcasts from ‘The Tim Ferriss Show’ gets more than 100 million downloads, and he has featured in Mashable’s 5 Must-Follow Twitter Accounts for Entrepreneurs along with Richard Branson, Mark Cuban, Marissa Mayer, and Jack Dorsey. All the dazzle aside, Tim’s freestyle business and his status in the ‘A league’ allow him to live a lifestyle of his choice, or as he puts it –

“Assuming you can find me (hard to do), and depending on when you ask me (I’d prefer you didn’t), I could be racing motorcycles in Europe, scuba diving off a private island in Panama, resting under a palm tree between kickboxing sessions in Thailand, or dancing the tango in Buenos Aires. The beauty is, I’m not a multimillionaire, nor do I particularly care to be.”

The Four-Hour Work Week

Key Takeaways

To build a brand like Tim, it’s necessary to find comfort in being different. If your ideas do not conform to the way the world works, if you are a misfit, it is not necessarily a bad thing. Just test if your ideas really work and put them out there to see if they help others as well. Be it ‘The Lean Startup’ or the ‘Rich Dad-Poor Dad’, they were all born out of radical ideas put to the test of reality, ideas that defied established trends and created new trends.

Today everyone talks about breaking out of the rat race, starting lean etc. It’s important to understand that personal branding does not necessarily mean being the best among everyone. You can be completely different and that can be your personal brand. What’s important is to be yourself. I will quote Tim on that again-

“The beauty is, I’m not a multimillionaire, nor do I particularly care to be.”

What Can You Do? Personal Branding Rules of Thumb

“Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.”

– Jeff Bezos, Amazon

So the first step in personal branding is to understand what you really are and then find out if that’s the way people see you. Some people think of personal branding as presenting and being perceived the right way. There’s one problem with that- you can fake it only so far. Here’s something that’s a bit tough to start but eventually gets easier-

Be the person you want to be seen as.

What do you want to be? The best marketer in the world?

It’s not easy, but you can do it. Here’s how –

  • See who you want to beat and what they do, your aspirations.
  • Imitate them to find out what works for you, and your strengths.
  • Identify what you want to be seen as, your persona.
  • Find out the medium that can give you the recognition that you desire, your platform.
  • Share your knowledge, let people rip it apart, and validate it as you learn and build your expertise.
  • Identify your values and set your priorities.

Remember, personal branding is all about becoming and being seen as the best version of yourself.

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