Personal Brand Examples From Oprah Winfrey, Tiger Woods, & Richard Branson

What Do Oprah Winfrey, Tiger Woods, and Richard Branson All Have in Common?

Well sure they’re all  successful, visible, rich and famous, but there is one immense underlying factor that supersedes all of those things: each of them has found, embraced, and capitalized on their own personal brand. This has given them the ability to achieve the ultimate dream: doing what they love day and after day, and getting paid a whole lot while doing it.  We would like  to pay tribute to these well branded individuals and highlight the common thread running through all of them. These individuals are true examples of the underlying potential all of us can tap into by recognizing our own unique personal brand.

Oprah Winfrey: The Undeniable Queen of Personal Branding?

Oprah is undoubtedly one of the most strongly branded individuals alive. She is constantly  building equity in the Oprah brand which has an estimated net worth of $2.5 billion, according to Forbes’ 2008 list of the richest people in the world. Oprah’s many accomplishments lie in sticking to her core competency: challenging millions of viewers to live the best lives possible by understanding their own potential.

Always Keep it REAL

Oprah won the enduring trust of her fans by simply being Oprah, by being real. Although she was shunned at first for not fitting into the cookie cutter TV host mold, that very resistance to conformity and her dedication to authenticity is what allowed her to flourish. This authenticity, honesty and genuineness are testament to the fact that staying true to yourself can pay off in spades. This is one of the most important parts of personal branding, NEVER TRY TO BE SOMETHING YOUR NOT because true genuineness is utterly transparent, and someone trying to fake it sticks out like a blistering, sore thumb.

Richard Branson is undeniably  one of the most visible, successful, and well-known men alive. Branson sure didn’t reach his current superstar status through following conventions. Much like Oprah Winfrey, Branson has purposefully stayed true to his core values, including adventure, excitement and risk-taking. By sticking to what makes him happy, he would often times do  exactly what other business leaders cautioned against, including wild publicity stunts like driving down Fifth Avenue in a tank for Virgin Cola. However unconventional, his unorthodox style and commitment to his own passions won in the end.

Throw Conventions to the WIND!

As business author and journalist Glenn Rifkin describes, “Branson has parlayed a lifelong disdain for conventional business wisdom into a $3.5 billion international conglomerate and one of the world’s most powerful and recognizable brands. Under the ubiquitous Virgin banner, Mr. Branson has ventured into a panoply of businesses – from condoms to wedding gowns, from airlines to financial services – and in the process has taken on entrenched giants and wrested market share from them.”

Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods is another massively powerful personal brand, in fact, Tiger’s personal brand is so strong that corporate brands like Nike and Buick literally pay him millions of dollars just to appear in public with their merchandise.

As Forbes columnist Lisa DiCarlo explains, “It’s no secret that Tiger Woods is a marketer’s dream. No company has capitalized on the appeal of the good looking, clean-cut, articulate, scandal-free golf whiz more than Nike. In 2000, Nike agreed to a multi-year deal with Woods worth a reported $105 million, extending an earlier multi-million dollar deal which originated in 1996, the year the then 21-year-old Woods went pro. For its money, Nike has purchased almost every aspect of the Tiger Woods brand, and a piece of almost every marketing appearance of the golf star.”

Just like Oprah, Tiger’s brand awareness is astonishing. Everybody knows who he is and just about everyone loves him as well.

Tiger’s personal brand is so powerful that he no longer manages it alone. His manager calls himself, “CEO of a corporation charged with enhancing and protecting the Woods brand.”

If you think developing your own personal brand is hard, try strengthening one that is under constant media attention and the scrutiny of the public eye.

So how well branded are you? How can you even measure your personal brand? If you are curious, check out our post How Well Branded Are You? for some helpful ways to find out where you stand now with your brand and how to keep tabs on that brand as it grows.