An interesting brand strategy to me has always been putting the owner's persona front and center. Make them the face and voice of the brand. Everything we read today speaks to the relationships we build with customers. Make 'em smile when they see you coming. Volunteering for local charities. Networking. A good number of small business professionals I come into contact with invest a lot of face-time in their markets. These efforts make their names synonymous with their brands. In the greater world, think of Richard Branson, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. As you read each name, no one had to tell you the company behind each. Attaching the visionary to your brand image extends the effort you put out to a greater effect. Relationships extend to your marketing and sales, benefiting from your notoriety in the marketplace.
Humility often gets in the way of this strategy. It may seem like boasting, but if you identify yourself as a product for the greater good of the brand, then the benefit becomes obvious. By coupling the two you would also benefit from the fact that your marketplace won't view the brand and the very public owner as two separate entities. As it stands, the public owner is seen as the pillar of the company. If they were to die tonight, most would view the brand as vulnerable. Viewed as a spokesperson on the other hand, the company has brand cache of it's own. It carries on in the spirit of the spokesperson, i.e.: Walt Disney. Of course this strategy takes some nurturing, but at the very least it can be argued that cohesiveness of efforts bears more fruit than separate strategies for a common goal.