Who created a standout personal brand in the past year, and what made it so special and inspiring?

The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.

1. Tim Tebow

“Tim Tebow is still one of the most talked about figures in professional sports and he is not even the starting quarterback. I think this has to do with his strong beliefs and brand clarity. Tebow built a narrative around him being the underdog and it was his hard work, persistence, and faith that made him successful. It shows the value of likability as it relates to public figures.”

Lawrence Watkins, Great Black Speakers

2. President Obama

“I would have to say that President Barack Obama had a standout personal brand considering the fact the he won reelection. He was able to position himself positively amongst voters, despite some of the struggles in his first term.”

Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance

3. George Takei

“I don’t know a whole lot of people who wouldn’t recognize George Takei from his various acting roles, but the man has done amazing things on social media. He’s been outspoken on several key issues, including the Japanese-American internment during WWII, which in turn has lead to a play he starred in last year. He’s become a meme several times over and I’m sure he’ll continue to stand out in 2013.”

Thursday Bram, Hyper Modern Consulting

4. Alexis Ohanian

“Alexis became the defacto face of the SOPA/PIPA blackout for the Internet generation. As a voice for his fans on Reddit and the collaborator across the various media, he really captured the power of the Internet generation. I look for him to find ways to leverage that exposure to move the masses in the future.”

Eric Koester, Zaarly

5. Elon Musk

“Without a doubt this honor goes to Elon Musk. While cyberspace is fascinating, few things spark the imagination like the final frontier of space. From electric super cars to private spaceships — Elon Musk has it down. His wardrobe is also definitely a step up from hoodies and black turtlenecks.”

Nanxi Liu, Enplug

6. Psy

“The pop artist Psy did an excellent job of embracing the online popularity of his music video “Gangnam Style,” which went viral very quickly. He made television appearances, accepted a record deal, and successfully transitioned from a Korean pop star to a global sensation. Not everyone can harness that level of public attention so well, and he handled it like a true standout.”

Robert J. Moore, RJMetrics

7. Jeremy Lin

“Jeremy Lin showed that hard work and perseverance really do pay off. His sportsmanship and attitude, on and off the court, translated into fanfare across the world. Jeremy tapped into his personal authenticity and related to the everyday sports fan.’

Matt Wilson, Under30Media

8. LeBron James

“It’s tough, as a native of Cleveland, to write positively about LeBron James. But in 2012, after a year in which he alienated a lot of fans and seemed not to “get it,” James was able to bounce back. In leading his team to a championship — and owning up to some of his previous mistakes — he was able to regain his standing as one of the world’s top athletes and endorsers.”

Aaron Schwartz, Modify Watches