15 Inspiring Brands or Personalities Worth Emulating

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The following answers are provided by members of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

1. Elon Musk

Elon Musk is Tesla. He conveys the same core concepts as his brand at all times. Whether you’re reading his personal Twitter or Tesla’s brand-owned platforms, you can see that the organization is focused on their key messages: cutting edge tech, environmental responsibility, forward-thinking practical political strategy. Any brand can borrow and benefit from that example of pure focus. – Brennan White, Cortex

2. Taco Bell

What I admire about Taco Bell is the way it’s wildly succeeded at getting customers engaged in its social media campaigns. The company introduced an innovative set of emojis that made it easy for customers to post their own content to social media pages. Taco Bell has figured out how to recruit customers to help with marketing, which creates lots of viral campaigns. – Kalin Kassabov, ProTexting

3. Neil Patel

Neil Patel has so much ownership of knowledge when it comes to the digital marketing space, he’s basically become a pseudo-celebrity among young marketing professionals. Look how he demonstrates thought leadership in the content he creates. It’s never fluff. He’s always creating value. – Nicole Munoz, Start Ranking Now

4. Michael Kors

Michael Kors has done a great job with branding. They’ve managed to combine their product with thoughts and images to put forth the idea that their product is associated with aspirational concepts. It has really pushed them forward in their niche, which is quite admirable. – Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance

5. Jeff Weiner

Jeff Weiner‘s authenticity has been a beacon of how brands and individuals should craft their personal brand. Jeff stays active on social media and shares true experiential content about his life and his career. Watching Jeff’s authentic approach and following his style should help others craft a “relatable” brand that the public can identify with. – Marcela De Vivo, Brilliance

6. Gary Vaynerchuk

Gary Vaynerchuk puts his entire entrepreneurial journey out there, via social media and his daily vlog. He isn’t using things like fancy cars and stacks of cash to attract his audience. He’s showing firsthand that putting in the work is the gateway to success. The market is saturated with fake entrepreneurs trying to lure people in with flashy objects. Vaynerchuk’s approach is authentic. – Jonathan Long, LAWYE.RS

7. Steve Jobs

While Steve Jobs may be long passed, his approach to branding and design, and his commitment to his company and its hardware and software platforms, is nearly unrivaled. Steve put the product first, sometimes before the consumer, believing he knew, even when he didn’t, what the consumer wanted. This strategy led to Apple’s best years, and his tactics, while harsh, were often successful. – Blair Thomas, eMerchantBroker

8. Ellen DeGeneres

Ellen DeGeneres has a great personal brand that is centered around humor and being a good person. We can all learn from her how to not take ourselves so seriously and create a greater vision for our businesses that help other people. – Jared Atchison, WPForms

9. Supreme

The clothing brand Supreme has used scarcity as its core branding strategy, attracting celebrities to endorse the product (Supreme has never paid for a celebrity endorsement) because the product is so exclusive and hard to access. As a result, they landed a collection with Louis Vuitton, a global brand who wanted in. Consider small product runs to generate hype around your brand. – Diego Orjuela, Cables & Sensors

10. Oliver Reichenstein

I’m constantly impressed by Oliver Reichenstein, a founder of iA inc., a design consultancy. iA uses a mix of branding techniques: great work, deeply thought-out content and popular conference talks, plus sidelines like the popular iA Writer app. iA eschews almost all the bells and whistles of modern online branding and focuses on the fundamentals: great work and truly influential content. – Vik Patel, Future Hosting

11. Dave Portnoy

The “Stool Presidente” has done such a brilliant job of creating a persona that has made him loved by millions. This in turn has driven the wildly popular Barstool brand. He found a way to appeal to the common man in a way not many brands have yet realized. He’s created an army of sports fans by making them feel a part of something. Brick by brick, he branded Barstool to salt-of-the-earth people. – Scott Kacmarski, Reps Direct

12. Andy Frisella

Andy Frisella is a 100 percent straight shooter who tells things exactly how they should be told, regardless of feelings or political correctness. He leads by example in all aspects of life and is an all around kick-ass human. He has built an amazing company and provides a ton of value on his social media and podcast, “The MFCEO.” He truly did start from the bottom and has worked his way to get to the top. – Jason Applebaum, Egear Media

13. Kevin Winston

Kevin Winston has been a mainstay in LA for over a decade, leading the largest digital networking group in Los Angeles, DigitalLA. He’s also the creator of Silicon Beach Fest. Kevin’s consistent and unique personal brand, combined with his penchant for red, makes him quite a magnetic personality in a sea of sameness. Kevin is always wearing red. Always. Red is Kevin Winston and Kevin Winston is red. – Robby Berthume, Bull & Beard

14. Pat Flynn

Pat Flynn branded himself as the crash-test dummy of online entrepreneurship. He observed what was going on in the internet marketing space when he first got started, and decided to take things in a new direction. Instead of hiding behind the anonymity of a blog or website, he embraced transparency. And, he’s done quite well for himself. – Erik Bullen, MageMail

15. Grant Cardone

“Uncle G” has a strong following because his message is raw and real. He tells you things that you don’t hear much on social media, and shows you examples through his life. The man changed my thoughts on sales, money, investment and life. I think a lot can be learned from how he approaches his personal branding on social media, Grant Cardone TV and books. – Richard Fong, Bliss Drive




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