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Revealed: 20 Famous Personal Brands that Changed the World

Updated: Jan 15





What’s your personal brand? When you get out of bed in the morning, what do you do to make sure you look a particular way? What traits or values do you express on a day to day basis? What make up do you wear? A particular style of clothing or hair?


Everyone has a Personal Brand but few people know, or think about it.


Those who know what they want their brand to be, are often more successful, while others who don't can get swallowed up in ‘sameness’ or simply left behind to raise their 1.5 kids and pay a suburban mortgage.


Whether you're working the loading dock, a leading barrister or barber - how you present yourself, your look, smell or sound; is how people see and interpret you. The confidence they have in you and how much time they want to spend with you.


Developing your own personal brand allows you to craft an image that you want the world to see. It gives you control over what people think of you, often leading to greater success in your chosen field.


Luckily, by the time you finish reading this article, you will know what a personal brand is, why it is important to have one, how it leads to success, and most importantly you'll be more aware of the personal brand you've already created.



What's a Personal Brand? Your personal brand is the image of yourself that people see and how you promote yourself. Online and off.


This could be your appearance, personality traits and values, the telling of your story.


People develop, change and create their personal brand everyday by changing their names, choosing clothes, haircuts and by their actions.

Your character traits, values, sound and appearance all add to your Personal Brand, by acting a certain way, people assume you are a certain type of person. In order to create a favourable Personal Brand, you need to display the appropriate character traits and values.


People will judge you based on the clothes you wear and how you do your hair. Wearing a miniskirt and a top with minimal coverage may give people the impression that a woman is promiscuous or more "sexual" in nature. Marilyn Munroe knew this, but used it to great advantage.

Whether these judgements are true or not, it's crucial to understand that what we wear, how we talk and what we look like, give people certain impressions. Personal Branding is your message to the world, who you are, what you believe in, your unique principles, values, and traits. 



Will changing my name like "Bruno Mars" help? Isn't that a little drastic?


Maybe, it depends on what you want to achieve. People from all walks of life have chosen to do so, for a host of reasons. Some practical (they had a really long name), others spiritual (Muhammad Ali).


Maybe you want to start again and choose your own name this time around.


By changing your name, you may be changing your identity and the connotations that come along with that. Perhaps moving away from how people judge you, or your past deeds.


A particular name can imply a certain culture or ethnicity, types of jobs, and overall character of the person. However, often our names don’t create the image of ourselves that we want, this is often damaging to our success. For example, Bruno Mars changed his name from Peter Gene Hernandez because he didn’t want to be stereotyped as a Latin singer.


In 2016, 242,774 women got married in Great Britain. The majority of those women (69%) changed their last names to take their husband’s. Many people are changing their names to create their own personal brand, or new family identity every single day. 


Changing your name can be a great first step in defining, for yourself, who you want to be, and be seen to be. It's cheaper and far easier than you think. It's also something we can help with, or talk through with you if you wish.


Famous people who crafted a new Personal Brand and soared: Joaquin Phoenix

Real Name: Joaquin Rafael Bottom

Michael Caine

Real Name: Maurice Micklewhite

Larry King

Real Name: Lawrence Harvey Zeigler

George Michael

Real Name: Georgios Panayiotou

Kirk Douglas

Real Name: Issur Danielovitch Demsky

Audrey Hepburn

Real Name: Edda Kathleen van Heemstra Hepburn-Ruston

Dido

Real Name: Florian Cloud de Bounevialle Armstrong

Martin Sheen

Real Name: Ramon Antonio Gerard Estevez

Fred Astaire

Real Name: Frederick Austerlitz

Bruno Mars

Real Name: Peter Gene Hernandez

Helen Mirren

Real Name: Ilyena Lydia Vasilievna Mironov

Stevie Wonder

Real Name: Steveland Judkins

Cary Grant

Real Name: Archibald Alexander Leach

Marilyn Monroe

Real Name: Norma Jean Mortensen

Natalie Portman

Real Name: Natalie Herschlag

David Kotkin

Real name: David Copperfield

John Wayne

Real name: Marion Robert Morrison

Bill Clinton

Real name: William Jefferson Blythe III

Judy Garland Real name: Frances Ethel Gumm

Winona Ryder

Real name: Winona Laura Horowitz Why is Personal Branding Important? Having a well thought out and carefully implemented Personal Brand is vital as it allows you further reach, often achieving more personally than any other business tool. Think the modern "influencer". Taking a Personal Brand online is the ultimate millennial extension of this.


People trust people more than brands, so creating a constructive image of yourself (Personal Brand), is crucial to your success as a business.

  Personal Branding is an important tool to humanise your brand or business, encouraging customers to choose your service over competitors. It adds a recognisable face behind the product and a back story people can buy in to. Your business transforms from a cold, steel, money-making operation to a warm, living breathing, friendly face.


As the saying goes, “Customers buy the face not the product.”


When brand messages are shared by employees online, they get 561% more reach than the same messages shared by the brand’s company social media channels. Personal branding is incredibly effective in decreasing competition, increasing sales, and achieving success as a business. 



How Does Personal Branding lead to success?


Elton John is a great example of this - recreating his personal brand as he advanced through his music career. He beat competitors and brought joy to millions. He did this by changing his name from Reginald Kenneth Dwight to Sir Elton Hercules John, and made crazy, colourful, sparkly costumes, glasses, and hats his signature look.


This created an image of a flamboyant, powerful man with huge talent. This reinvention of his personal brand, led to great success. After-all, how many rock concert tickets would a young pianist in a sweater vest named Reginald Dwight sell? Conscious development of your personal brand leads to your success in many ways. By being conscious of and crafting your personal brand, you gain control over public opinion.


For example, presenting yourself as well-groomed, sharply dressed, wearing glasses while spouting a relevant fact here and there and people will assume you're smart and know what you’re talking about. They can't help themselves. It's human nature.


This could help generate profit for your business i.e. scientific research, or help with a promotion, as people would trust your ability.



How can you help me get the career I want with a new Personal Brand?


It's simple. We do it every day.


We get started with a little business or life coaching to get to know you, we help you set some goals and outcomes then carefully craft the brand new you that you want to portray. We then work online, and off, to present the new you to the world.


We follow this up with regular contact to make sure everything is tracking as planned. We're outcomes driven and believe in our long term commitment to clients.


Your personal brand is how people see you, how you promote yourself and is crucial to the success of your career or business. More often people are acquiring the help of professionals in this field like YESpbm to create, develop and build a clear personal brand.


To discover how to craft a new personal brand, with the above in mind, contact aaron@yespbm.com directly for a free confidential chat.

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YES Personal Brand Management (pbm) Ltd

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Swindon SN1 1HN

United Kingdom

+44 20 3900 0087