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Shape Your Brand with Personal Touch 3

Shape Your Brand

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Our look at the personal brands of big business names comes to a close with two of the very biggest: Richard Branson and Bill Gates. Read about the way Donald Trump the businessman used design, typography, imagery and tone to develop his public persona as a successful tycoon here, and about the conscious efforts of Mark Zuckerberg and Arianna Huffington to show their true colours here.

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Richard Branson’s personal brand is clearly built upon the corporate brand of Virgin. But, importantly, it doesn’t simply mimic it. Branson’s social media accounts frequently link to articles and thought-pieces hosted on his company’s website, but they also show the man not just behind – but beyond – his business.

Cutting the ties

A frequent employer of the quote card, Branson uses Facebook and Twitter to inspire and motivate others. Amongst clearly-Virgin-branded, red-and-white, team-building prompts, sit photos of Branson relaxed, happy and engaged – the embodiment of his ‘tie-loathing adventurer’ self-description. The inclusion of family photos and portraits of Branson the kite-surfer/tennis player help us to relate to him personally.

Wish you were here

Fonts used are simple and clear, photographs are personal and aspirational – Branson isn’t boasting of his wealth and lifestyle but he sees no reason to hide it. After all, it’s the bedrock of his charitable work.

The net effect is, unsurprisingly, a brand of personal success. But Branson’s visible investment in future generations, in helping others to succeed, and in relentlessly pursuing further achievements (collective rather than personal), paint a distinctly personal picture.

Bill Gates leans less on Microsoft’s brand to develop his personal identity. His $40 billion charitable fund is well-known, and he uses his social media profiles to show quite clearly how he invests it – and accordingly to shape his brand.

The Philanthropist

Gates’s feeds are busy with articles on curing disease, developing third world initiatives, and on the value of science. Portrait photos (generally of others) and topline teasers link to articles on his own blog, rather than Microsoft’s website.

This all contributes to his image as the ultimate ‘people person’.

Split personality

There are nods to his company – the liberal use of bold colour in illustrations and videos, and the frequent celebration of technological advancement – but the personal brand and the corporate brand are distinct from each other.

The world of computer hardware and software, by its very nature, lends itself to clean, minimal brand design. Gates’s personal brand is much warmer. The need to differentiate so clearly between the two may have contributed significantly to the personal brand of Bill Gates we see today.

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