Successful Personal Brands: Case Studies
Two examples of high-tech entrepreneurs who have built a successful personal brand are Elon Musk and Guy Kawasaki
- Elon Musk is a high-tech entrepreneur who is responsible for the Tesla vehicles, which are technologically advanced electric vehicles.
- He is also the founder of SpaceX, which "designs, manufactures, and launches advanced rockets and spacecraft."
- Tesla has become one of the most often mentioned car brands on social media, and Elon Musk is synonymous with Tesla. In fact, some experts believe his personal brand "overshadows his own companies."
- Experts believe that the reason Musk has been so successful at building his personal brand is because he "loves getting personal on social media."
- On social media and through traditional media, Musk has shared his story and his vision of transforming the automotive industry. He has combined his story with that of Tesla, which makes people think of one when the other is mentioned.
- He immediately responds to questions and issues on social media concerning both himself and his brands, which makes him relatable to the average consumer.
- Musk has also involved his audience in his story by making customers who purchase his cars feel like they are a part of transforming the automotive industry. As Sam Cawthorne stated, "They’re joining Musk on his quest to move humanity forward. And in doing so, they become the heroes of their own stories."
- Overall, Musk's work ethic and commitment to connecting with consumers are what have driven his personal brand. He is very deliberate about "putting information out there and actively working on how he wants people to perceive him."
- Musk's willingness to accept responsibility for his mistakes and to be forthcoming with information about his brands have created trust between him and his audience, which has in turn led to his strong personal brand.
- Guy Kawasaki is a serial entrepreneur who is focused on the tech world. He is "chief evangelist at Apple, founder of Garage VC Fund and Fog City Software...advisor to Motorola and chief evangelist of Canva."
- Experts say that Kawasaki has built his brand by teaching and sharing his passions with others and in fact, his sole reason for writing his first book was to "add value to people's lives."
- The first step toward building Kawasaki's brand was to find his meaning, He stated that "it’s crucial that you have a meaning behind your brand. This applies to both businesses and to yourself."
- The emotional connection between a brand and the consumer is what matters. Kawasaki stated, "Without a greater purpose or meaning behind your work, people will struggle to engage. Even if you know they can benefit from your product, they don’t buy because you’ve failed to connect on a more personal level."
- Second, Kawasaki advises entrepreneurs to "be themselves." He stated, "Be true to who you are in everything that you do. It’s about finding the audience that wants to hear your story, rather than trying to create a story that appeals to everybody."
- Third, Kawasaki says that one of the best ways for an entrepreneur to build a brand before anyone knows who they are is to find an influential person who believes in them. Kawasaki had Steve Jobs to fill this role and Jobs" loved Kawasaki’s energy and passion," which led to his role as Apple evangelist.
- To build a personal brand, an entrepreneur needs to showcase those who are their supporters and in return, those supporters will showcase the entrepreneur, which creates a stronger personal brand.
- Engaging the audience it the fourth tip Kawasaki has for entrepreneurs looking to build a successful personal brand. He stated, "The sale comes second to engagement when it comes to personal brand building. You’re looking to offer something valuable that engages your audience. This builds trust."
- Finally, Kawasaki built his personal brand by following the three pillars of a personal brand, which are "trustworthiness, likability, and competence."
- To build trust, be authentic. Kawasaki said, "If people don’t think you’re authentic, they’re not going to trust you."
- Likeability is harder to pin down, but Kawasaki believes that finding the audience that connects with an entrepreneur's story is critical to becoming likable. He said, "Figure out who’s going to connect with your story and you have a group of people who’ll like you."
- Finally, competence is critical because it shows that an entrepreneur is not just likable, but can back up the brand with expertise.