Is it a good marketing strategy to name your business after yourself?
Stuck on what to call your business? Find out whether or not it’s a a good marketing strategy to name your business after yourself.
When starting a business, one of the first questions to ask is what you will call it. It’s a step you can’t skip because your business name is a crucial part of your brand identity, and the name and URL can be an important part of making your brand recognizable online.
Particularly for one-person businesses or small partnerships, incorporating the founders’ names is a go-to strategy in some industries. But there can be pros and cons to naming a business after yourself, and experts differ on what they suggest in this respect. We’ll take a look at some of the considerations you can’t ignore when deciding whether to name your business after yourself.
What’s in a name?
Marketing for a new business is more than simply advertising a product or service. It’s about building a cohesive brand identity that prospective customers can relate to and giving people a reason to trust and value what you have to offer. Your business name is a part of this, just like any logos, themes, websites, or social media accounts attached to your business.
You need to think critically about how you want people to see your company, who you want to reach, and what you hope to do for them. And it’s important to seek advice about any names or logos you develop to see how people respond to them.
You may also want to hire freelance copywriters, graphic designers, or consultants with experience in branding to help you get started. You can expect to pay around $25 an hour for an experienced freelance writer in the US, so this will save you money when you’re just starting out as compared to hiring full-time staff.
The risks and rewards of personal branding
Overall, there are a lot of things to consider in choosing a business name. We’ll look at some pros and cons of personal branding to help you make a decision.
Pro: Add a personal element to your brand
In a business world where so much of marketing takes place online, businesses need to work to incorporate human elements into their online presence. If you have the opportunity to put a human name and face to your company (that is, your own), this can do a lot for building trust in your business.
Personal branding can be a very honest, authentic, and relatable way to reach your prospective customers. It lets people know what – or rather, who – to expect, and it allows you to frame your business around your own values. This can be a powerful marketing tactic in itself.
Con: No anonymity
The downside, of course, is that if you are the personal element of your brand, your personal life is somewhat on display. There are a lot of things to worry about when getting a business off the ground like legal considerations, insuring yourself with comprehensive coverage in the event of a financial disaster, and keeping customers and employees satisfied. You might not want to also have to worry about how your personal social media account affects your brand.
For example, if you are someone who likes to post pictures of your kids on Instagram or tweet politically inflammatory things, you should think carefully about how your various accounts with your name attached to them will impact a business with the same name attached. If you opt for personal branding, your focus will have to be branding yourself on social media, which will limit what you can post.
Pro: Sometimes you are the business
The “right” type of name depends a lot on industry. If you are in a line of work that is solely focused on your ideas and creations – such as a writer, artist, or influencer – then having your name in your business name makes sense.
In fact, getting personal with your prospective clients is considered one of the best ways to boost engagement. So, if your product or service is something personal to you, then your name and face as the focus of the brand can make clients feel connected and cared for. This is especially true if you are not planning on expanding beyond yourself or a small team.
Con: What happens if you leave the company?
It can be highly beneficial to develop a relatable, personal brand image, but you must consider whether you plan to stick around for the long haul. If you are building a business to sell it, or if you’re hoping to expand significantly as you grow, then naming it after yourself may not bode well in the long-term.
There’s nothing wrong with rebranding a business down the line as you grow. Plenty of businesses do it, and it can be a great way to show adaptability and responsiveness to customer needs or sociocultural developments. But you do need to think about your long-term goals and factor them into your naming decision.
Pro: It can help you get discovered
The name you choose, and the related URL on your business site, will play a big role in boosting visibility and increasing web traffic to your site. If you have a unique name, incorporating it into your business name can make it easy to find you online.
But the opposite is also true – if you have a name that is commonly occurring in your language or primary country of operation, naming your business after yourself may make you blend in with the crowd. Using a full name can sometimes help, but plenty of people have names where all components are fairly ubiquitous.
A big part of why this is true relates to your website domain name, which is often the name of the business, in whole or in part. According to web developer Gary Stevens of Hosting Canada, getting a domain name is often easier through a web builder platform.
“Assuming you buy your domain through a website builder, you don’t have to figure out how to add it to a web hosting package and make everything play nice together, “ says Stevens. “With WordPress (or similar CMSs like Joomla or Drupal), you’ll need to point the domain name servers to your hosting package and understand rigmarole like PHP, MySQL, and FTP.” This can take away some of the pain of procuring the domain of your choice, but the choice is still up to you.
Con: Your target market may be looking for a firm
Let’s say you decide you want to be the face of your business and you have a unique name that lends itself well to a business name and domain. You will still want to keep in mind that a personally named business sounds like it’s a one-person operation.
In some industries, this is no problem. But other industries may expect to work with firms or more-established companies, in which case your small business might stick out for the wrong reasons. Keep in mind that if you name your business after yourself, some clients may expect to work with you directly – and some may not consider you at all – if it appears that you are a one-person business.
Your business name will have a lasting impact -so choose carefully!
In the end, how much you want to be associated with your brand is an individual choice. Everyone starts their businesses with different goals – you may seek to be the face of a one-person operation, or you might plan to grow your business with the end goal of eventually selling it. No matter what, your online brand is your business, and the name you choose will have lasting impacts on that identity.
Photo by Cassidy James Blaede