At a time when consumers crave authenticity in messaging, personal branding strategies have never been more important. Celebrities and big brands tend to make headlines often in this regard, offering the rest of the world valuable opportunities to learn and grow from their mistakes or successes.
Below, nine members of Young Entrepreneur Council each shared a brand or personality they believe has a top-notch branding strategy. Here’s what the panel thinks others can learn from these influential individuals and organizations.
One of my favorite brands when it comes to top-notch strategy is Patagonia. Anyone who knows the history of this company and its founder can quickly tell the entire company—from marketing to branding to the returns department—lives what it preaches. Their mission and values are perfectly aligned with their ideal avatars, and they routinely work to elevate their commitment to their brand’s purpose. – Richard Fong, SeniorStrong.org
Although some companies find success with new product lines and changing images, the most successful branding campaigns are those that stand the test of time. Pampers has largely kept their product image the same for decades: a cute, smiling baby with a simplistic package design. The Pampers products are just related to diaper needs; thus, the brand lacks failures attached to the name. Yes, Pampers updated the design of their diapers for efficacy and now has a mobile phone rewards program, but most everything else stayed the same. The brand demonstrates that a good, reliable product doesn’t need a gimmick. Their reliance on keeping their brand as the most-used in hospitals is also a fantastic marketing strategy—keep your product visible in a place of trust. – Peter Boyd, PaperStreet Web Design
3. Gary Vaynerchuk
A personality with top-notch branding who many companies can learn from is Gary Vaynerchuk. He’s synonymous with marketing. It’s not just about what he does, but how he got there that has made a big difference in us knowing that name today. He has been consistent about the things he preaches and is also always willing to give advice and share his knowledge. He’s also not afraid to innovate and try new things. These are all aspects of real people who we all naturally want to hear from. We don’t want to hear about the perfect story. We want to hear about the real things that people do to get to where they’re at. – Maria Thimothy, OneIMS
Unilever’s Dove brand has a top-notch branding strategy. They take a unique approach to marketing by focusing on the positivity of their products and the empowerment of women. They are a company with a mission and it shows in their branding. Unilever also listens to the data, which allows them to adapt its branding and marketing to the needs of the consumers. – Andy Pandharikar, Commerce.AI
5. Billie Eilish
The growth of this young singer is due to a very successful personal branding strategy. She not only stands out for her talent, but also for an original identity that highlights her and gives her a great advantage over her competition. She doesn’t act or look like a typical pop star, so she arouses curiosity in her audience and makes them easily remember her. From her songs, to her personal style, to her comments in interviews or social networks, she has created a complete concept of herself that attracts attention and that is even being imitated by fans or other artists. I believe that this transgression of the typical—and even more, the self-confidence when proposing a personal style—is a lesson that every company should learn. – Kevin Ryan Tao, NeuEve
McDonald’s has always been able to sell its food by marketing it well to its customers. The brand knows its customers are looking for fast, affordable options, so it uses speed and new deals to attract more people. Because McDonald’s knows its target market, it’s able to continuously boost sales year after year while coming up with new food items that appeal to its customers. – Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms
7. Neil Patel
I think that Neil Patel’s digital marketing brand is an excellent example of personal branding done right. His entire company is structured around his name and appearance, therefore making the company instantly recognizable. I also like how his image appears on the bottom of the screen whenever I navigate to the company’s website. NP Digital is a rather large company, but never fails to prioritize the “human” aspect of the firm by putting the founder front and center. – Tyler Gallagher, Regal Assets
8. YETI Coolers
The brand that I see with a top-notch branding strategy is YETI. It’s a plastic cooler that has evolved into a lifestyle and multiple adjacent categories. It’s not just about the product; it’s about a feeling, a memory and a place in this world. YETI embraced storytelling and aspirations around the outdoors and ultimately became a status symbol. When you see the YETI brand, you are immediately hit with a specific feeling, and that’s what it takes to have a successful strategy. People want to purchase this product because it means something to them. That’s the kind of connection you want to make between brand and consumer and it’s what sets you apart from the competition. – Tyler Quiel, Giggster
I love HubSpot’s branding strategy that revolves around making it easier for people to do business. In doing so, they have truly kept their users in mind by creating an efficient and customer-centric platform complete with various user-friendly tools and services like marketing automation, CRM, etc. But that’s not it—They have gone a step further by focusing on building a huge resource of user-friendly and customer-centric content that repeatedly attracts people to their website. – Josh Kohlbach, Wholesale Suite