4 Tips on Personal Branding if You have a Common or Difficult Name

Whether you’re a serially successful entrepreneur or a first-timer, creating a strong personal brand for your latest product or service is no easy feat. With Forbes noting that personal branding is more important than ever in the age of digital marketing, you can’t afford to be lax in the process.

One problem you might face in building your personal brand is the popularity (or lack thereof) of your name. This blogger highlights the issue by listing snippets about the many people in the world who share his name on his page.

 If you plan to include your name in your branding, don’t panic (even if you’re a Smith or a Jones), we’ve put together a list of 4 tips to improve your personal branding if you have a common or difficult name.

1. Add a Qualifier

For the common names out there, adding a qualifier to your products or service can help to differentiate you from similarly named competitors. For example, John Smith’s Mowing becomes John Smith’s Superior Mowing. The qualifier should be a positive adjective, such as ‘top’ or ‘local’. Geographical qualifiers, such as your town name, may also help to set you apart in the marketplace, e.g. Smith’s Springfield Mowers.

2. Make a Change

Sometimes, your given name simply isn’t the best name to represent your personal brand. If you have a very unusual or extremely common name, why not select a pseudonym/alias to market under? This practice is widely accepted in Hollywood. For example, actress Emma Stone was actually born Emily Stone, but the name was already taken and The Screen Actors Guild does not allow duplicates. Similarly, actress and comedian Mindy Kaling was born Vera Mindy Chokalingam, but changed her stage name to make it easier for audiences to spell and pronounce. This illustrates that with a minor modification, you can stay true to your roots but lessen any confusion around your personal branding.

3. Craft a Memorable Logo

If you have your heart set on keeping your common or difficult name for your personal brand, making it stand out is key to cultivating a strong brand image. Work with a skilled designer to create a unique logo with bold and memorable typography. This will help to cement your brand name in the consumer’s mind. Keep any imagery simple but with a pop of colour. Use universally recognised logos, such as Mcdonalds or Starbucks, for inspiration.

4. Implement a Robust SEO strategy

If your business name is common, consumers will be less likely to see your site on the first page of Google results and subsequently less likely to engage with your brand. The way to combat this is to ensure your site is search engine optimised (SEO). You can do this by targeting specific keywords (use Google Analytics to determine which words customers search most to find your business) in your page descriptions and creating high quality content for your site. Including geographical information and making regular updates will also help you target local customers and appeal to search engine algorithms. 

Having a common or difficult name shouldn’t stop you from forging a strong personal brand. Simply follow the 4 tips above to optimize your personal branding strategy today.

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