Artist Name: Tom Hanks (Thomas Jeffrey Hanks)
Job: actor, filmmaker
Career duration: 42 years
Net worth: $390 million (May 2014)
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“If you’re funny, if there’s something that makes you laugh, then every day’s going to be okay.” – Tom Hanks
Tom Hanks, well-known for many Hollywood hits like Big, Forrest Gump, Cast Away, Saving Private Ryan, Apollo 13, Toy Story and frequently being referred to as “America’s Dad”, is now in his sixties but still ranks No. 1 at the list of “The Best Actors in Film History” (Ranker, January 2019). He’s the actor beloved by Steven Spielberg, who has chosen Hanks to collaborate on his films for five times, as well as a winner of the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his contribution to the arts in November 2016awarded by the former American president Barack Obama. He’s the third highest grossing actor of all time with all of his films grossing a total of $4.3 billion in the US, and one of the “Most Trustworthy People in America” (Readers Digest and Forbes).
Tom Hanks is indisputably one of the most respected men in America, and for good reason. While there is no doubt that his acting talent is a major force in his success, it is his extraordinarily likable personal brand that has endeared him to all.
Unique values that differentiate Hanks from other actors
If I were to describe him with a single word, it would be likable. He’s one of the greatest Hollywood stars, but still perceived to be down-to-earth, amiable and congenial. While it is in large part attributed to his original personality, that aura of a really likable guy is closely linked to his onscreen persona.
There are some common characteristics that Hanks usually play onscreen. (i) A funny, sweet guy in his comedies, (ii) a childish man with disabilities, child trapped inside a grown-up man (Forrest Gump, Big) or mostly, (iii) an ordinary, law-abiding, down-to-earth, hard-working man who gets caught in extraordinary situations but rises to the top due to his true good character (Philadelphia, Cast away, Saving Private Ryan, Apollo 13, The Green Mile and many other).
Forrest Gump (1994) : Forrest Gump, a slow-witted Alabama native with an IQ of 75.who ends up witnessing or impacting some of the most significant events in U.S. history
Big (1988) : Josh Baskin, who starts out as a young boy, but is aged into a 30-year-old man overnight after making a wish “to be big.” As an adult, he is forced to get a grown-up job and even develops a romantic relationship with his co-worker, Susan.
Philadelphia (1993) : Andrew Beckett, a homosexual who is infected with the AIDS virus, who is subsequently fired from his job at a corporate law firm, because of his diagnosis. He hires a homophobic small-time lawyer who’s the only willing advocate for a wrongful dismissal suit.
Cast Away (2000) : Chuck Noland, a FedEx employee who finds himself stranded on an inhabited island after a plane crash; Chuck does what he can to survive, including befriending a volleyball he aptly names Wilson.
Saving Private Ryan (1998) : Captain John H. Miller, a commanding leader who shuffles to caring human being. In the search for a private whose three brothers have already been killed in the war, Hanks leads his battalion to find Private Ryan and bring him home to his mother.
Apollo 13 (1995) : Commander Jim Lovell, a real-life astronaut and a dedicated, courageous leader, whose dream of going into space is suddenly shattered.
The Green Mile (1999) : Paul Edgecomb, a head guard overseeing death row when a new inmate arrives. He can’t help but be moved by the new inmate, who is accused of raping and murdering a child but seems too kind to commit such a crime.
His characters are all reliable, moral and authentic, mostly along with Hanks’ affability that makes the characters lovable at the same time. Also, in (iii) case, the extraordinary situations that Hanks’ characters find themselves in give him a chance to reveal his talents, which show people that his characters can stand up for themselves, that they can “fight” when they need to, even though they seem very calm and peaceful at first. This is a wonderful transformation that people also desire in their own lives: from an ordinary man to a survivor, a savior or a fighter.
And what’s important here is that his acting brings genuineness – authenticity – to each and every role he plays. He is amazingly believable. His performances definitely make people believe what he’s portraying, and the same realness comes through in his non-acting roles in the real life. He seems often to play himself, and that’s part of the charm. While some actors are great at disappearing into characters, constantly changing their images with each movie (Think about Leonardo Dicaprio or Daniel Day Lewis), Hanks’ persona seems often to be the same, which is also in consistency with his off-screen persona.
Hanks is not overly handsome, dressed, fit or polished, but he’s the kind of guy that you’d like to be friends with, the kind of guy who would be a really nice guy, an everyman. Hanks’ persona which is consistent across on and off-screen makes people believe that he’s the character, makes them get used to that and love him for it. If this isn’t enough to make him stand out among many other brilliant actors, nothing can.
Hanks’ Personal Branding Traits That Made Him Influential
I’ve never seen anyone who doesn’t like Hanks or has ever heard anything bad about Hanks. Hanks has a very solid personal brand of a great and reliable guy beloved by everyone, just as the characters he played on screen. Here are some of his personal branding traits that made him greatly influential.
There’s no reason to hate him
Well, to be honest, it’s really hard to dislike him. Hanks has never gone off the rails. He has never been in the news for negative press. It’s his clean image that makes his onscreen persona even more believable as a reflection of his real self. If his private life was stained with dishonest scandals, he would not have been able to become as much likable and influential as he is right now.
He’s a talented and dedicated actor
Great actors make people believe they are the characters, and Hanks is a talented actor who is just capable of that. He’s been in some of the most beloved films in history, movies that made people cry, laugh and feel something (He definitely made all of us cry all over a volleyball!). He frequently works with Robert Zemeckis and Steven Spielberg, and he’s the second actor in movie history to win two consecutive Best Actor Oscars, for his performances in Philadelphia (1993) and Forrest Gump (1994). There is no doubt that Hanks’ acting talent is a major factor in his success – success does require more than just passion.
Hanks is incredibly dedicated to his roles as well. He wants to make you feel like you are actually a part of the movie. It must be why we always become emotionally touched and receive long-lasting impacts after watching Tom Hanks movies.
He has a lot of fun
There’s a reason why Hanks started his acting career as a comedy actor. He’s just literally full of fun. Not to mention his onscreen characters that often made us laugh ourselves through tears, the real Hanks is also funny, laid back, in on the jokes and doesn’t take himself too seriously. There are many proofs for this.
First, Hanks is the person who can answer to the question “Who’s the best-smelling actor that you’ve worked with” most brilliantly in the world. Because there is literally no better response in the world to this question.
Also, he must be the only one who can explain the reason why he’s been buying the White House press corps new coffee machines since President George W. Bush’s administration in such a hilarious way: “Those poor bastards need coffee,” and then, “I have a feeling the problem now is there’s an awful lot of spit coffee on people’s laps.”
Don’t miss out on some of other funny things he did listed below. He indeed has a great sense of humor that kills sadness and makes people happy.
– That Time He Volunteered To Lip-Sync In Carly Rae Jepsen’s “I Really Like You” Video
He’s amiable and congenial
The way he treats his fans is enough to be the reason why Hanks might seriously be the coolest person on the planet. He’s super friendly and intimate.
Just look at these photos. So, this fan asked Hanks whether he could borrow his glasses and then pretend that he was passed out drunk. Hanks obliged happily and there come these amazing photos.
Also, he happily took pictures together with a couple on their wedding day, who he bumped into while he was jogging through Central Park in New York. He later posted a picture to his own social media congratulating the newlyweds.
Have you heard about how one New York taxi driver got a nickname called “Mr. Ferrari” and became friends with Hanks? One day, Tom Hanks got into the driver’s cab. At first, he didn’t recognize the star, but, after clocking who he was, he screamed ‘WIIIIIIILLLSSSSSOOOOOOON!!!’” This made Hanks laugh so hard. As the driver got his Ferrari hat on, and a Ferrari shirt too, Hanks started calling him ‘Mr. Ferrari.’ Thereafter, when they got to his destination, Hanks snapped a quick photo with the driver and then went on his way.
Over the next few weeks, the driver just happen to randomly pick up people that know him, and whenever the driver meet them, he told them ‘Tell Mr. Hanks that Mr. Ferrari says “hello”.’ Then one day, he got a text from one of the people that he’d driven, saying That ‘Mr. Hanks wants to invite you to see his Broadway show.’ ”
The driver and his partner received tickets for the Broadway show, and met the star backstage screaming “Mr. Ferrari!”. The most amazing thing here is that the name of Hanks’ show was Lucky Guy. Yes, the driver!
He shows humility
What’s impressive about Hanks is that he has achieved a true level of humility – an ideal few people realize. Unlike any other snobby big stars, Hanks is able to accept his shortcomings exactly as they are – without minimizing or exaggerating, which makes him look even more professional and reliable. Hearing from a movie-going couple at a petrol station near his California home that they thought his film Larry Crowne wasn’t that good, Hanks reportedly said “Gee, I’m sorry you were disappointed, how about letting me refund your ticket money?”, and promptly offered them a $25 refund.
He has a quirky habit
Some unexpected quirky habits often make people more intriguing. Hanks is also known for a quirky habit, collecting typewriter. He’s not just a collector of manual typewriters but also their heavy user.
In August 2014, Hanks even released Hanx Writer, an iOS app meant to emulate the experience of using a typewriter; within days the free app reached number one on the App Store. Moreover, in 2017, Hanks published a book where he collected short stories inspired by his typewriter collection, named Uncommon Type.
He’s a romantic husband
Hanks married to his current and second wife Rita Wilson in 1988, with whom he co-starred in Volunteers, and has been together for about 20 years (Hanks married to his first wife, actress and producer Samantha Lewes whom he met while he was in college, and divorced in 1987).
Hanks is a romantic husband who doesn’t shy away from expressing his love to his wife in front of the public. He takes photos of her on the red carpet giving her a sweet look. While speaking of his wife, Hanks says “I still can’t believe my wife goes out with me. If we were in high school and I was just funny, I’d never have the courage to talk to her.” He once told People about the meaning of his marriage to him, which is exactly what we expect to hear from Mr. Married likable, “Every now and again you know, you gotta get over some stuff but life is one damn thing after another and its actually more pleasant to be able to go home with someone you like to spend time with in order to get with it.”
How Hanks uses media to get attention and popularity
Did you know Tom Hanks is the emperor of social media? His social media are the exact online representation of him we know, full of fun, likability and authenticity.
His Twitter is currently followed by 15.7M people who seem to be enamored of his works on Twitter, which are wholesome and witty, and reflect his unique view of the world. Another remarkable feature of his social media is serial contents under the common theme, which makes them strangely addictive. I’ve listed some of them below. You will definitely find them entertained.
“Lost and Found” series
Since January 2013, Hanks has been using his Twitter feed to share photographs of all the lost gloves he finds on the streets of New York, accompanied by his unique witty comments. Check out some of his recent finds:
Hanks once talked to NewsHour about the reason why he chronicle lost items. “It’s really kind of like a visual haiku of separation, loss, maybe freedom, maybe loneliness in the big city” As we’ve already seen, loneliness has been one of his biggest vulnerabilities since his childhood, while it is also what led him to the acting career. Loneliness is an innermost part of his personal brand which can’t be missing. He said “A lost glove looking for its mate, isn’t that just the way of the world? Aren’t we all just lost gloves, looking for our — if we’re a left hand aren’t we looking for our right hand?”
Meanwhile, his ‘lost and found’, which started with gloves, has expanded its service to other various forgotten items like socks, shoes and even a fork.
How Hanks will be remembered
Tom Hanks, that shy and lonely boy from the broken family, went on to become one of the greatest actors and one of the most likable men in this world. He’s loved by virtually everyone, and will continue to be loved, thanks to his No. 1 likable personal brand. His strong brand is the direct result of his nice, funny and reliable persona which maintains consistency across every part of his life, no matter if it’s on-screen or off-screen, online or offline.
He will be remembered as one of the most likable man, who is the finest and most respected actors of this generation as well as the our amiable companion.
Tom Hanks’ personal brand key points
A likable personal brand has a great potential to be the strongest brand as it can be loved by most people.
Your personal brand should be consistent across your career and private life, online and offline.
Social media presence is an effective – and even vital – tool for building a thorough and strong personal brand.
If you have a good sense of humor, show it on social media. Humorous contents can make people entertained and intrigued.
It is important that you don’t go off the rails, tarnishing your reliability. It can seriously weaken or completely destroy your personal brand that you have been establishing all the way over today.
Brizzo is a dynamic and energetic investor, marketing strategist, musician and online reputation specialist. He is the Co-Founder of AICY Create, https://www.aicy-create.com/, a leading marketing agency based in China, with expertise in Personal Branding and China Digital Marketing.