Personal Branding 101: How to Make the Right Branding Decisions for Your New Business
Personal Branding 101: How to make the right branding decisions for your new business
Inevitably, at some point for freelancers who target corporate decision-makers, the question comes up:
"Should I create a company name?"
And usually, the answer is "no"...but the answer is not always "no."
Here's the logic:
When you are an individual who provides a service...a designer or copywriter or coach or speaker (you get the idea)...you are the company. Therefore it makes sense for you to brand your name.
Word-of-mouth about your work, your byline on articles or publications you write, your name as a "draw" for public speaking events...your name on your business card, in your URL, on your Web site...all of this adds up to name recognition.
Think for a minute...
Do celebrities and speakers have a company name?
Think Sigfried and Roy...Elton John...Jerry Seinfeld...Tony Robbins. What about copywriters? Here are some contemporaries:
* Bob Bly
* Gary Bencivenga
* Gary Halbert
* Dan Kennedy
* Clayton Makepeace
* Joe Vitale
* Michael Masterson
And some who are not contemporary, but who are nevertheless still "present":
* John Caples
* Rosser Reeves
* David Ogilvy
* Claude Hopkins
Do (and did) these icons also have company names? Probably yes. For example, Jay Abraham sells seminars and information products. He has a company in the background, like many other entrepreneurs. But it's his name you know...and that's what carries the branding.
If you have a partner, or employees who interface with your customers on a significant level, that's when it makes sense to have a "company" name if it fits your long-term goals.
Do you want to build a boutique agency? A consortium of consultants? A traditional corporation? If so, then it makes sense to brand your company...and that means a company name (which can also be your name or the names of your partners, or something else), and usually, a logo.
Just be careful. One known agency was named after the principals...Richard Rosen and Bill Brown (Rosen/Brown Direct). But when the partnership ended, the name was no longer representative.
A costly renaming and rebranding effort took place (the agency is now called AlloyRed). The potential loss of name recognition is a very serious risk. Imagine a decade of reputation-building up in smoke...poof! Just like that you could be starting all over again.
So if you're selling your skills as a service, and it's just you, use your name and a tagline for your branding. But if you have long-term goals to build something bigger than yourself, or a team you're working with, it makes sense to consider a company name and the logo (and sometimes tagline) that comes with it.