10 Questions to Ask Yourself in Making the Brand Decision
When it comes to naming your business, its a difficult task, and for some businesses it raises the question, should you use your own personal name as that of the business. Is it a good idea? or not? Here are some questions to consider before making that decision.
1. Am I well known in this space?
Sometimes if you are offering a professional service, it might sense to you to use your own name. Ask yourself, am I well known around the area? and what am I known as? You may already have a reputation for being a knowledgable source of information on the service you are offering, for example a social media expert, or business advice expert. You might use your own name to build on that reputation.
2. What is my Name?
Your own name does offer a differentiator to others, if your name is slightly unusual. For example, there are many Mary Murphy’s out there, which does not give you enough of an edge to stand out. But if your name is slightly different, it does stand out more and helps people to remember you better.
3. How do I promote myself?
Do you network in small business groups? Imagine yourself introducing yourself…how does that sound? Does your own name offer any qualification of what you are offering? For example do you call yourself Mary Murphy and follow with a tagline, photography expert? Or do you just call yourself Mary Murphy.
4. Am I the only one here?
You need to ensure there is no one else with the same name operating in your space that may be in competition with you. You don’t want to be confused with that other person. You are putting yourself out there as you, and have no control over what happens on social media or otherwise, and no control if someone else of a similar name comes into the space without considering the fact that you were already there.
5. Can people spell it?
Is it possible that people will misspell your name? Is it easy for people to pronounce? Or is it a name that might encourage negativity or jokes that don’t reflect positively on your business? However you may be able to use it to your advantage, for example your name might mean something that reflects your values or something positive you would like to promote.
6. Will it always be just you?
Or are you limiting your business expansion? Do you see yourself as remaining in control of the business in the future? How does it follow through if you decide to sell the business? Maybe you see it that the new owners would have to change the name, but then ask yourself, will the new owners lose the equity your name has built up, and therefore your brand is worth less.
7. Do I see my business taking on staff?
You may grow the business to a point where you find customers asking for something related to your business, but not necessarily your area of expertise. Do you take on staff with that expertise and add that branch to your business, or do you subcontract that work out? If you see it growing and taking on expert staff, perhaps with a reputation of their own, then it begins to make sense that the business should not be using your personal name.
8. What are your values?
Because you use your own name for the business, the values of the business become or are reflective of your values. Does this sit well with you?
9. Is my name too long?
Your name should be short and sweet. Long names don’t work. The human mind will remember three or four things at any one time, a long name is forcing people not to remember it.
10. But I’m a Solicitor or I’m an Architect?
There is a tradition for solicitors, architects and similar professions to use their own name for branding. You may be building on a reputation to use it, but if its too long, or you are in a partnership, often just the surname might sound better followed by the word solicitor or accountants, or the two surnames together might work better, again qualified by the profession, solicitors, architects or accountants. Another idea might be to have a business name followed by a strapline, which includes your name. For example, a business name, followed by Fantastic Architecture with Josephine Bloggs.
We hope this has helped you to make some decisions. But if you still need help to clarify what your brand is, why not book in with Barbara for a Brand Assessment. It will clarify your mind, and encourage you to put sentences onto your unconscious thoughts.