There has been a lot of talk in the social media and PR blog world about personal brands; what they mean (if anything), how they relate to reputation, and what your personal brand means online. Does your personal brand work for or against you? Is it self-promotional? Should it be?


I’m not one for confrontation, so I wanted to lighten up the debate with a few examples of some great personal brands. Answer these questions before declaring yourself a personal branding success (or expert). These are the real rock stars.


Are You on a First Name Basis? Think Britney. Mariah. Madonna. Diddy. Prince. Jay-Z. Oprah. Until you are mainstream enough to be known by one name only, then think twice about branding yourself as a real personality. Runners Up: Arnold (as in Governor Schwarzenegger), Dave (as in Dave Matthews Band), Donald (as in The Donald, Donald Trump) and Hef (as in Hugh Hefner). Up and Coming (Maybe): Sorry Ryan Seacrest and Simon Cowell, you may have to wait a bit to achieve a true personal brand.




Do You Have a Nickname? Chances are that anyone who is remotely familiar with pop culture will recognize the names Brit-Brit, K-Fed, Spidey, Bennifer, Brangelina, and TomKat. There’s a reason for that. Although some celebrity nicknames may be unfortunate, the plus side is that it gives some people a warm and fuzzy, comforting and familiar feeling. It makes you feel like an insider, smart and informed. And when you’re a personal brand, you want people to feel like they are cool with you, and that you’re one of them.

food_networkDoes Your Personality Persuade? The Food Network is a great example. There are top chefs, and there are lukewarm fillers. Consider the marketing and selling power of Rachel Ray, Paula Deen, Bobby Flay, Emeril Lagasse, Giada De Laurentiis and Ina Garten. People actually feel like they can cook like these people when they follow their recipes, buy their cookbooks, and use their cook and bakeware. They have multiple shows on Food Network and other networks. They sell cookbooks, cooking tools, readymade products and more.


But consider the second tier Foot Network stars like Guy Fieri, who people may relate to since he won The Next Food Network Star challenge or Sandra Lee who has become popular from her quick “home-cooked” meals. These chefs may be popular among their fans, but don’t have the national (and global) appeal and clout that Rachel, Paula, Bobby, Emeril, Giada and Ina do. There is no question that the top Food Network stars listed above can easily outsell anything compared to Aida Mollenkamp, Sunny Anderson, and the Neelys.

perezbig Does Your Personality Become a Brand? Not only does it pay off for your personal brand and celebrity status to sell a brand, sometimes you’re just good enough to build your brand off your personality alone. Think Perez Hilton or LC (as in Lauren Conrad from The Hills – and her posse). Perez turned his snarky outrageous celebrity blog and crazy personality into a brand. LC turned her once innocent self from a likeable-enough reality show star to a C or B-list celebrity that makes money just be being present. Oh, and she also was able to use her personal brand to launch a clothing line and help her co-stars create spin-off shows. On the negative side, think about Lindsay Lohan. Her party personality and late nights have pushed her personal brand to trash. Seen her in any good movies lately? Me neither.

paris20hilton2020thats20hot20s Have You Created a Popular Slang Phrase? “That’s hot.” If Paris Hilton says it, it must be true. If you have the ability to infer an others a feeling or action simply by speaking (and having the very words you utter repeated by the masses)…then you may be a personal brand with the ability to create a new slang phrase. And everyone needs a good one. That’s what she said. (Although not a new double entendre, fans of The Office will surely understand that reference.)



If you answered “yes” to one or more of the above questions, then congratulations, you are indeed a bona fide personal brand.