The Buffett of Everything

Everybody wants to be Warren Buffett. And it looks like everybody can.

The Oracle of Omaha's Latest Riddle

There’s the Warren Buffett of the flavor industry. There’s the Warren Buffett of “super-fancy hotels.” There are Buffetts of barges and of bass fishing, of Tampa,Thailand and Turkey.

There’s even a Warren Buffett of C-block, where a stock-picking, Buffett-quoting convicted murderer has been dubbed the Oracle of San Quentin.

Some of the far-flung Buffetts — particularly those of Canada, Mexico, technology and Africa — are accomplished businessmen who join Buffett on Bloomberg’s list of billionaires.  Buffett himself, the man dubbed “Saint Warren of Omaha,” is the rare investor whose image has been summed up, fittingly, in a number — a Q Score, to be exact. The scores quantify the emotional connection a celebrity or other public figure has with consumers, including credibility and trust.

hat’s the thing about the Buffett brand — its appeal is broad and, for a really, really rich guy, curiously demotic. The third-wealthiest man in the world is also a sort of Great Leveler, seemingly exempted from the rancor and distrust between Main Street and Wall Street.

Dangote, Kinder, Zuckerberg and Son do join Buffett on the Bloomberg Billionaires List, as does “the Warren Buffett of Mexico,” Carlos Slim Helu. And LeBron James is friendly with Buffett. Zuckerberg reportedly spoke with the Oracle for hours about taking Facebook public, and has joined Buffett’s pledge to leave the majority of his wealth to philanthropy. Watsa is a contrarian investor who heads up Canadian insurer Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. and is said to model his management style on Buffett’s.

All of this reputational coattail riding hardly diminishes the Buffett name. A big part of Buffett’s investment philosophy is making sure a business has a “wide moat” — a big and sustainable competitive advantage over rivals. And Warren Buffett’s image may be the biggest moat of all. You could call him the Norman Rockwell of Investing. Or the Einstein of Omaha. Or just about the most accessible, elite brand ever.

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