No doubt, one of the most important and difficult decisions you will have to take as an entrepreneur is how to name your business. There's obviously no right and wrong path that applies to all, but it is worth exploring the options and all of their positive and negative sides. The most common choice you'll have is whether to call your brand after yourself or to give it its own name. So today we are going to talk about what you are getting yourself into when choosing either.
Branding Your Name
This is the preferred route most freelancers, consultants and fashion designers go at the beginning of their entrepreneurial journey. It works well for individuals who are in the centre of the services they provide. Let's see what's good and what's not so good about going with the "branding your name" option.
#1. High sense of personality and transparency. - When you use your own name as your brand it is easier for people to connect with you and trust you. Also, in content marketing terms, being personal is vital for your success. It's easier to show your personality when your entire brand revolves around it.
#2. Perceived as affordable. - Most consumers will think that you offer affordable prices for your products or services if your brand your name rather than come up with a name for your brand. Potentially, it can bring you more clients and assuming you do your job well, many recommendations. That, however, doesn't mean you should be working for peanuts and entertain the unrealistic expectations of some "bad apple" clients.
#3. Easy to remember. - Provided your name is not really hard to pronounce (on a global scale), it could be the best strategy if you want people to remember your brand and services easily. It even makes payments to you more simplified and we all know consumers love what is convenient for them.
#1. Blurred line between personal and business life. - We said how important it is to be personal with your target market, but you also need to take every care to not become too personal. It would be easier for people to dig up the skeletons in your cupboard (we all have some) if they know your name and you are all over the Internet.
#2. Expansion Issues. - Branding your name can cause some trouble if your business expands. In such situation you are very likely to go through rebranding in order to accommodate the growth of your venture. Then again, if you've chosen to go only with your surname, expansion won't be an issue as it was the case of Lloyds, Morrison's and Disney.
#3. Work harder for recognition. - People may trust your personality if you show it, but they could doubt your professional experience and capacity. Generally, when big clients are looking for marketing services for example, they will turn to an agency (or something that sounds like an agency) rather than a single consultant.
Naming Your Brand
#1. Opportunity to get paid more. - Even if your business consists of only you, but you give it a name that is not yours, you can afford to charge more. Going back to point #3 above, if you sound like a big player, more big players will come to you.
#2. Easy marketing. - Marketing a brand name is easier than marketing your name. It can also sound so interesting that sticks to the mind of people forever. In addition, it provides you with more privacy and keeps your personal life truly personal.
#3. No calls for rebranding after expansion. - Any business, at some point, may find themselves in need of rebranding, but in this case, it's unlikely expansion to be the reason for such demand. As long as the brand name you've chosen covers the fields you are working on, keep on growing and worry not.
#1. Losing the personal touch. - You have to decide whether your privacy is more important than bringing yourself to the level of the consumer. Brands are rarely seen as human, while branded individuals always win that point.
#2. Relevance of the name to what you do. - A lot of businesses make the mistake to choose a brand name that they think sounds great and covers their services or products, but in reality, all it does is confusing consumers. If you are going to be creative and pick an awesome name for your brand, just make sure it is a true representation of your business.
#3. Trademark issues. - Oh boy, that's a biggie! Imagine you've chosen the perfect name - it reflects on your business values, products, services and mission, it sounds cool and it is memorable. You hit the jackpot! Until you find out somebody else has already thought of it and put a trademark on your perfect brand name. It happens very often, being one of the main drivers for people to use their own names and add something at the end to reflect on the industry they are in.
Bonus Tip: Think of a story behind your brand name. Why is it what it is? How did you come up with the idea? What is its personal meaning to you? Tuck all this in a good press release and you've made a great first step towards a successful brand launch.
Using your name or creating a generic name for your business can be a pretty tough decision to make but consider your options. Think of how flexible you want your business to be. A personalised brand will always provide way more flexibility than a brand named for a specific purpose. If you’re running the business as a sole owner you would also want to tilt towards a personal name tag. Consider a future sale of business. If you’re willing to sell your business at some point in time, it might be a little tricky as your name would have to vanish off the brand.
Regardless of these rules, your choice of a brand name can work interchangeably as is in the case of brothers Adolf ‘Adi’ Dassler (Adidas) and Rudolf Dassler (Puma). There are rules in the creative world but these rules sometimes bend into a full circle.
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