When it comes to branding, is there a more troublesome topic than to brand or not to brand your name?? We struggle in our heads with ‘looking more official’ with a business name than using our own name (because, who’s heard of me yet?). Am I right? And not to mention: what if my name is too long, too hard to spell or worse ALREADY TAKEN! {insert cat emoji with hands on face here}. Fret no more, let’s talk through some branding options to consider here!

To brand of not to brand

First I will say that there is no “clear-cut-must-do-or-fail” solution to this. In other words, there is no reason why your business would fail regardless of which route you take. Surely, you’ve seen quite successful independent entrepreneurs leading with their company name, and others doing just as well with their name. I’ve also seen back and forth going on (like me). So, read through my thoughts here and decide what would suit you best and then just go for it.

GRAB YOUR DOMAIN NAME (regardless)

Ok, so all that said above one thing that I would highly recommend, regardless of which direction you decide to go is: try to secure your name in a domain. If your name + last name is already taken, try these variations:

  • first name
  • first name + middle initial
  • first name + middle initial + last name
  • last name + enterprises
  • last name + co
  • last name + industry (buckhannonwebdesign.com)

You do NOT need all these variations btw. You only need to stick to one of them if your first name + last name is taken. 

Get creative here, but don’t make this name so far fetched from recognizable that no one will associate it with you. The whole point of it all is so that in the event your business becomes cleverly successful and fame knocks at your door (why not!?), then you will want to own any assets, like your domain name, that will help solidify your brand. Plus you don’t want someone else benefiting from your success simply because you didn’t spend $10 to seize it when you could have. Also, because not everyone will want to benefit from your name on purpose; someone might rightfully want the same domain for something else cuz that is also THEIR name. Lots of Wendy Jones in the world I gather.

PS: Even if no one ever will give their kids your name, just get it. Just to have it. It’s a branding thing.

Now that you have your domain name, if you haven’t decided on using it as your business name yet, don’t worry. Just park it for now(leave it where it’s at).

WHAT’S IN A BUSINESS NAME

I went back and forth with this FOR YEARS. I really wanted to brand my name, but I also felt really connected to my business name. You see, Crisbella is the combined names of my kids (Cristian and Isabella), so to me it is a very meaningful name. It also always made me feel much more professional to put Crisbella Designs on a business card or when talking to people. My first name + last name is only SUPER LONG together, but also quite difficult to spell. So I have always had both domains: Crisbella.com, and AymeeBuckhannon.com and now CrisbellaDesigns.com (which is much more on point with my work).

Little more on this in case it helps: I am QUITE multi-passionate. So when I chose “Crisbella” I knew that I could easily expand that into anything I wanted to pursue such as: Crisbella Designs, Crisbella Photo, Crisbella Marketing, etc… That’s something to consider as well.

All domain names pointed to one, so regardless of which one I lead with, and I switched them often, they could all lead to the same business page (unless one was used for something else). It did however become an issue when it came to my social media networks. You can change your names there, but not necessarily your URL. So that took a little hit when I recently decided to start branding Crisbella Designs over Aymee Buckhannon.

Branding with your name over a business name definitely adds a layer of human connection to your business. It clearly tells your audience that YOU are the brand. Creatives and artists tend to go this route. If you are starting a business as a drop shipping company, then your first and last name may not be as effective or as telling to your audience.

I think in the end it depends on the level of attention you wish to add to your business and how personal you want it to be. And I don’t mean personal as in how many texts you will respond to. I mean Tony Robbins ain’t got time for texting anyone back. But his brand is his name because his business is very much PERSONAL! HE is the business. HE is the coach. HE is the service. And so HE is the brand. See what I mean?

Now if your service will be provided by a bunch of other people, then you might go with a business name instead. Or if you are a business to business business (a bee watcher, watcher anyone?) then also a business name may feel more appropriate.

It is SUPER easy to have all your domain names point to one. And should the topic arise where leading with your business makes more sense than introducing it by your name, then you can easily do so, no harm done.

WHAT ABOUT MY LOGO

Well, that’s a trickier thing. All this depends on how well you connect your services and business name to your name. The copy of your website and about me page should tie the both in well so that if you go with a business name, your name is still connected to it.

For example, when someone lands on my website now, the name and logo is Crisbella Designs. But if you go read about me, you will immediately realize that this is owned by me and not by an agency. It is clear that I am the owner, and the designer. This is important to me because my goal is to help my audience feel comfortable and aware that they will receive personalized attention and not be thrown into some routine process flow when it comes to their web design needs. In other words, I want my business to act like a business but feel like a trusted friend is working with you.

Almost every branding coach will likely encourage an independent entrepreneur to “brand YOU”. And they are right, you should. What I am suggesting is that this can be accomplished even if you choose to lead with a business name. In the end, it is up to you though and if you wish to just go with your name, then this kills two birds with one stone. If you happen to be a network marketer or direct sales consultant then DEFINITELY do NOT lead with your company’s name. Build a business and a brand around your own name, skills and content aside from your company. In this case, it is probably less confusing and more appropriate (as an independent consultant for another company) that you branded your name as your business name. But again, I’ve seen it done both ways (TLC Scents – Gold Canyon Candle Consultant).

SO WHAT’S THE VERDICT

Go with what feels right for your business in your particular industry, your gut and your audience. You can’t go wrong by getting your name as a domain regardless, and if you wish to be the face behind the biz, then incorporate more about YOU in your about me page, and/or, add lots of images of you more prominently on your website.

If you are still in doubt and not really partial to a business name then GO WITH YOUR NAME if available! You can’t go wrong with that and in my opinion it is a lot easier to re-brand from a personal name to a business name than vice versa.

What are your ideas or thoughts on this subject? 

 

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