Whether you are establishing your first brand or are thinking it might be time to reposition your brand, we, as solopreneurs, have a choice of using our own name and being our brand, or creating a unique name. Both have strong upsides – you just need to discover which positives you can make the most of in your business. Let’s lay them out.
Upsides to being your own brand
1. Natural passion with unlimited growth
You already live what you’re passionate about. If you started your business out of your own interests, using your name brings authentic personality. You don’t have to try to be consistent or on point when you are your brand. You already know, in your gut, if it’s you. In addition, as your offerings (products/services) expand in subject matter, you aren’t limited by a creative name that’s descriptive of a certain expertise. Using your own name allows you to share what you love and be what you love.
2. Instant branding
Only you can be you. You don’t have to worry about trying to create a brand that stands out or differentiates enough from the competition. You won’t have to try to tweak one thing here or there to be “just different enough.” There is only one you. You are already unique. As you are creating your brand under your name, you can be proud of the individuality and distinctiveness built in.
3. Easy communication
This is such a pragmatic reason to be your own brand, but it’s a reality and something to consider. If you are your brand, it’s very easy for people to confidently contact you by name. However, if you are functioning under a creative name, your first name might not be immediately obvious. This is especially true if your brand name happens to sound like or play off another person’s name. If you are using a creative, unique name, make sure your real, personal name is used often throughout your brand content and readily available.
Upsides to not being your own brand
1. Provide context
While your name is specific to you, it doesn’t shed light on exactly what you offer or sell. Your unique brand name can allude to, or fully describe, what your brand is about. There is so much competition and noise out there –- a brand that can tell its own story in a name can sometimes gain the upper hand.
2. Common vs. original
In a world of domain names and social media accounts, we can’t all be “JohnDoe” or “MarySmith.” And some of us just have those names. (My maiden name ensured that there was always a name twin in any large group I was in.) By creating a unique name for your brand (so long as you’ve researched to make sure it’s not already taken), you get around all of that and are able to nab the domain and social media names you want.
3. Ready for (team) expansion
When your name is your brand and your brand is you, it can potentially be limiting in the future. As you expand your services or seek to bring on new employees, you may start to feel like your brand name is limiting. Of course, plenty of big name brands and celebrities have done it with ease (cough, Marie Forleo, cough) – but if you anticipate wanting to distance yourself from your brand and let your brand be emblematic of your employees, you may want to think today about choosing a creative name that allows for expansion.
“This above all, to thine ownself be true…”
Whichever direction you choose, make sure it feels natural and comfortable to you. Whether it’s your own name or a creative one, it’s a name you will be using often –- to represent you and your business. If it feels forced or just isn’t working, keep looking. Naming isn’t easy, but when you find the right name, all the authentic pieces of your brand will come together. And after all, “a rose by any other name is just as sweet,” but that’s a different play.
What road did you take for your brand — and what have you found to be the pros + cons?
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- To Be or Not To Be… Your Own Brand – November 12, 2015