Should You Use Your Own Name or Create a Brand Name for Your Business?

Should You Use Your Own Name or Create a Brand Name for Your Business?

A friend and ex-colleague of mine recently left her full-time job and started freelancing as a consultant. Like any freelancer seeking new business opportunities, she planned to create a website showcasing her past work and detailing her capabilities. But first, she had to answer a critical question: Should she create a new to represent her business or simply use her own name? Since I run a brand consulting agency with one full-time employee (me), she asked for my advice.

No matter what kind of freelance work you’re doing – from brand consultant to bookkeeper – this is a question you’ll have to answer. Using your personal name means presenting yourself as an individual contributor and keeping the focus on you. Coming up with a brand name, on the other hand, will require a thorough naming process and will create some “daylight” between you and the business. Either path can work, and deciding which is right for you depends on a range of personal factors. I’ve outlined five reasons below to take the first approach: creating a new brand name for your freelance business.

A brand name suggests scale

In the past, many companies took on their founder’s . Think Lipton, Ford, or . But these companies’ modern-day counterparts are more likely to develop unique brand names like , Tesla, or (For the record, Starbuck is a fictional character from Moby Dick, Nikola Tesla died 60 years before the founding of , and it’s unlikely Robin Hood was a real person, much less had any involvement with the financial services app.). Because of this shift, a unique brand name, rather than a founder’s name (i.e., yours) can create an impression of a larger organization, which implies more breadth and depth.

If you’re thinking, “But I don’t want anyone to think I’m more than one person,” don’t underestimate the disadvantage solo freelancers can face in competitive situations. Remember that people who’ll never meet you – whether they’re decision-makers or procurement personnel – may be making judgments based on your name alone. For example, imagine having to select one of the following brand consultancies: Catchword, Lexicon, or Sally Flakowitz. The personal name creates an awkward, apples-to-oranges situation you’re probably better off avoiding.

Related: Why Brand Name is Important for Start-Ups?

A brand name gives you room to grow

Speaking of scale, another benefit of a brand name is its potential to stretch as your business changes. You may not plan on building a 15-person team – but plans often change. Should your business become more than a one-person operation, a brand name provides room to grow.

This logic applies even on a project-to-project basis. When you take on a large assignment, you may need to subcontract work or hire other freelancers as teammates. When showing up at a client’s office with a colleague, introducing yourselves as independent freelancers who happen to be working together at the moment does not inspire confidence. It creates a temporary, noncommital feeling. It’s much easier – and sounds more professional – to say, “Hi, I’m Rob, and this is Sally. We’re from [BrandName].”

A brand name provides an opportunity to express ideas

What ideas and feelings does your name evoke to those who hear it? Hopefully, amongst your family and friends, at least, a host of positive adjectives are associated with your name – perhaps smart, creative, and hardworking. But for those who’ve never met you? Never heard of you? It’s just a name. Unless you go by “Sting” or “The Rock,” your name doesn’t really convey any meaning. It doesn’t tell prospective clients that you’re smart or creative. It’s not even a name you chose.

But creating a brand name allows you to say something. Some brand names are straightforward and descriptive (e.g., Best Buy), while some merely suggest an idea (e.g., Zipcar). Others venture into the abstract – they don’t carry any relevant meaning but can nevertheless convey a sense of personality, like Apple (simple) or Virgin (irreverent). No matter what approach your brand name has, you can use it to tell people something about yourself and the work you do.

Related: The Do’s and Don’t’s of Naming Your Business (Infographic)

A brand name may be easier to spell and pronounce

Some first and last names are easier to pronounce than others, but chances are the brand name you create will be shorter than your personal name (one word rather than two, for example). And since you’re building the name from scratch, you’ll have an opportunity to ensure its . While there are exceptions, most of the best brand names are short and sweet. Names built from one or more real English words are more likely to be understood, pronounceable, and correctly spelled than many people’s names.

If you have any interest in doing business overseas, you may find your personal name has additional drawbacks. Names that are commonplace in one language or culture may appear strange or unpronounceable in other parts of the world. Your name may lead people to assume – accurately or not – that you’re from a particular country or region and, whether or not it’s fair, that assumption may come with prejudices. English, however, has become the lingua franca of global business. A real English word or two is likely to be understood and pronounceable by many business people for whom English is not a native tongue.

A brand name may be more distinctive

The flip side of the point above is that, in some cases, personal names are so common that they fail to stand out. If your name is “Niamh Moloughney,” good luck getting people to spell and pronounce it correctly. But if you’re one of the over 11,000 Ann Millers on LinkedIn, your prospective customers may have trouble remembering you or telling you apart from other freelancers.

Reviewing competitor names is a critical step in any brand naming process. In creating your brand name, you can choose to use a different naming style, pick one that’s significantly shorter or longer than competitors, or find an initial letter that’s unique to the category.

Ultimately, this decision depends heavily on your given name and surname. How common are they? Are they hard to spell or pronounce? Will they associate you with a specific language, country, or region – for better or worse? Some people’s names almost beg to be used as brand names, like Smart & Final (named after founders J.S. Smart and H.D. Final) or Fox Racing (named after founder Geoff Fox). They’re short, simple, easy to remember, and have built-in meaning or imagery. Unless you’re lucky enough to have such a distinctive, evocative name, consider creating a brand name for your freelance business.

Related: 10 Secrets to Master Your Personal Brand

Rob Meyerson

 

By: Rob Meyerson/ Entrepreneur Leadership Network Writer

 

Source: Should You Use Your Own Name or Create a Brand Name for Your Business?

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7 Costly Mistakes That Can Be Avoided By Brand Research

Branding strategies can make or break an organization. There’s a lot that goes into developing a successful brand, and the best companies around the world put substantial time and effort into brand development and image. Creating a successful brand requires time and research commitment and is an ongoing strategy that can yield amazing results.

However, small businesses at the start of their inception can potentially create crucial branding mistakes during their initial stages of development that costs them a lot of customers, money, and time. Even major brands make big branding mistakes, like Nintendo’s Virtual Boy and Amazon’s Fire Phone.

Brand research services for positioning strategies, brand mapping, and perceptual mapping can help you, whether you’re a small business or a long-time market player, to avoid pitfalls and the costly mistakes of failed brand positioning.

Common Branding Mistakes by New Businesses and Entrepreneurs

Do you remember Nintendo’s Virtual Boy in 1995? You might not because it’s one of Nintendo’s biggest failures in the history of the company. It didn’t offer what it promised, a true VR experience, resulting in incredibly low sales and quick removal from the market. What about Amazon’s Fire Phone in 2014? It only lasted one year because of its limited availability and features that didn’t resonate with audiences. Even major companies like Nintendo and Amazon have to be careful about product or service branding that can tarnish their reputation and result in massive profit loss.

Even small branding mistakes can cost a company. Not only will your efforts and time spent towards planning to be lost, but you will have cost your business a lot of money and even potentially tarnish your reputation permanently, which can be completely devastating for the longevity of a brand.

Below are seven mistakes that you can avoid when it comes to brand positioning so that you learn more about them and avoid them altogether:

  1. Lack of Competitor Research
    You have to learn about your competitors if you want to be successful. How do they position their brand? What types of products and services do they offer? How are they perceived in their respective industry? How are they succeeding? Do you have a potential opportunity in the market where they do not? You don’t want to identically replicate your competitor’s strategies. But you do have to learn everything there is to know about the successes and failures of your competitors so that you know how to uniquely position yourself in the market.
  2. Brand Messaging Doesn’t Suit Target Audience If you can’t develop a brand message that fits with your target audience, nobody is going to buy from you. You have to learn everything about your target audience like demographics, what they like to buy, where they shop, what times of the day or times of the year do they make purchases related to your offerings, what colors motivate and drive them to make purchases, what parts of the world are they located, how does culture affect purchasing, and many more.
  3. Failed Market Study
    Effective market research needs to be obtained about how people are reacting to your brand, products, or services. Survey analysis can be obtained to further your market research and understanding, or a complex study of social media research and analysis can help you to understand how people review or perceive you in the market. If you don’t analyze feedback from your customer base, you will be making a costly mistake in your brand research initiatives.
  4. Association or Dissociation with Events and Motives Just because you want to create a product or service or build your brand around a particular design or niche space in the market, doesn’t mean it will be successful. You can’t just build and sell tablets just because iPad’s are popular, create a bottled water company because you feel people will always need to drink water, or design makeup and cosmetics because there is a popular trend in that space this year. You have to delve deeply into your brand research strategy to truly understand the reasoning behind purchasing decisions and product and service popularity.
  5. Inconsistent Corporate Identity Everything about your brand identity has to make sense, from the colors that you choose to represent your company, to the logo and fonts that you use throughout your campaigns, to the style of writing, tone and messaging that you implement to speak to and reach audiences. Everything has to remain consistent so that people understand your brand values and what you are offering them. If you fail, you could spend a lot of time rebranding and causing confusion to your audience and miss a lot of opportunities.
  6. Poor Product Packaging

    Product packaging is the first thing people see when looking at your brand, whether they are online or physically in store locations. Everything from materials, graphics, size, shape, and color all are important elements of packaging designs. You could spend a lot of money rebranding your packaging if your product performs poorly. On the other hand, you might spend money rebranding your packaging when it isn’t even necessary and have to revert back to the way it was. Effective brand research is going to help you understand the best elements and packaging designs that will help your company thrive.
  7. Making the Wrong Impression If you are selling premium services, you don’t want to use commodity branding. You will deter audiences from your brand. There is a reason why so many fast food restaurant chains use the colors red and yellow, like Burger King, MacDonald’s, Wendy’s, and Carl’s Jr., and software companies use blue and black like Intel, IBM, Apple, or Google. People associate certain attributes to particular products and designs. People won’t understand what you are offering them if you make the wrong impression. Pay particular attention to detail and use the right research and analysis to make a lasting impression that makes sense with audiences.

How Brand Research Can Help

Brand marketing research is integral to the success of organizations in the modern world. In fact, no business out there that is successful in today’s market leaves home without brand research.

Brand research improves your competitiveness, visibility, and messaging and can help your business take a strategic position in the market using proven data from effective research and analysis services. Here are some of the major benefits of effective brand research:

  • Integrated Metrics: You can see the impacts of your project decisions and forecasts with measurable and tangible results.
  • Allocate Market Spend: Understand how to make investments that will lead to successful outcomes.
  • Identify Competition: You can not only find out who your competition is, but you can find out how and why they are successful in the market, or even discover how to position your brand in areas where your competition is lacking.
  • Develop Accurate Strategies: Create informed decisions built on a foundation of research and analytics with a better understanding of market developments, pricing, and positioning.
  • Capture Target Audience: Better understand consumer behavior and create effective marketing and advertising strategies.
  • Brand Perception: Truly understand how audiences feel and react to your brand, products and services.

Effective Brand Research for Organizations Across Industries

Research Optimus (ROP) has top research and analyst specialists who are tenured in market research, business research, customer analysis, and brand research services that provide the required insights to take the appropriate steps towards building effective and long lasting business brand awareness, brand marketing, and positioning strategies. Apart from services like market research, product research, and risk analysis, contact our team today to jump start or further advance your journey into brand research and obtain the targeted insights you need to avoid branding mistakes.

By: https://www.researchoptimus.com/

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Decision Analyst

An introduction to brand strategy, and the tangible and intangible elements that make up a brand. And a brief discussion of the questions of to ask in order to focus and improve your brand strategy. Learn More: https://www.decisionanalyst.com/servi…

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Defining And Building Intangible Assets

Branding Strategy Insider helps marketing oriented leaders and professionals like you define and grow brand value. BSI readers know, we regularly answer questions from marketing oriented leaders and professionals everywhere. Today we hear from Ron, a VP of Marketing in Indianapolis, Indiana who asks these questions about intangible assets.

“I’m trying to get a better understanding of intangible assets and have several questions. The first question being, how are they defined?”

Thanks for your questions Ron. Intangible assets are assets that are used in the operation of a business but that have no physical substance. They include such things as brands, customer lists, customer loyalty, patents, copyrights, business processes, specialized knowledge, customer contracts, franchises, and licenses, among others. Such assets stand in contrast to tangible assets, such as land, buildings, vehicles, equipment, and inventory.

“Why are intangible assets receiving so much attention today?”

In contrast to forty or fifty years ago, when tangible assets constituted the vast majority of the assets of a firm, today intangible assets are likely to constitute much of the value of firms. Work by the consulting firms, such as Ocean Tomo and Brand Finance, and accounting firms, such as PwC suggests that more than 80% of the value of many major corporations consists of intangible assets.

“What is the significance of intangible assets being such a large percentage of the value of corporations for managers and investors?”

First, it is important to know that most intangible assets do not appear on the balance sheets of companies. This means that for most companies, much of their value is unreported. Current accounting practices simply fail to capture the value of most intangible assets. Such assets are most likely to appear on the balance sheet as a result of either an acquisition, when there is a need to justify the price paid for the acquisition, which usually does reflect the value of intangible assets, or in the case of an impairment, where the value of an intangible asset, such as a brand, is reduced in value for some reason.

A particularly troubling consequence of such accounting practices is that even when the value of an intangible asset appears on the balance sheet, the value can only decrease; it cannot increase. This makes it very difficult for an investor to evaluate how well management is stewarding the intangible assets it controls. It also creates opportunities for managers to have a free ride because there is no transparency related to how well they are managing most of the assets of the firm. On the other hand, it creates problems for conscientious and responsible managers who wish to demonstrate how they are adding value to a firm through the effective deployment of intangible assets such as brands, copyrighted works, and the like.

“Are there best practices related to managing intangible assets?”

It is useful to recognize that intangible assets have always played a larger role in the value of businesses than was fully appreciated until recently. There is a substantial body of knowledge and practice experience related to the good management of brands, people, and relationships this is very much applicable.

It is just easy to ignore such knowledge and practice when its outcomes do not find their way into financial metrics. This is beginning to change with new ISO standards, such as those for brand valuation and brand evaluation. The critical starting point is recognizing that such assets require identification, management, and reporting over time.

“What concrete suggestions do you have for managers who wish to do a better job of managing the intangible assets in their business?”

Begin by recognizing that intangible assets are owned by the firm and must be managed by a team with the encouragement and active participation of the firm’s most senior management and board. It is not possible to manage something that is invisible. Just as it is difficult to manage physical inventory when it is out of mind and out of sight, so too is this the case for intangible assets.

There needs to be an annual inventory of the firm’s intangible assets that includes a description of who is responsible for their management, how their value, and changes in that value over time are measured and reported, and active strategies for leveraging these assets. There must be a process for making intangible assets visible when making management decisions.

“Would such visibility change decision making?”

In some cases yes; in some cases no; but it would change the questions that are asked. For example, before using a price promotion to move sales of a strong brand, the question to ask is what the focus on price discounting will do to the value of the brand over the long term? For a brand in decline or headed for obsolescence, discounting may make sense, but for a strong brand that commands a premium price, a short-term bump in sales may not be worth the long–term loss of premium pricing power.

Similarly, before laying off 10% of a workforce, managers might ask what knowledge, what relationships with customers and suppliers, and what efficiencies associated with learning from experience will be lost. One reason so many mergers and acquisitions fail to live up to their expectations is failure to consider losses of intangible assets associated with seemingly redundant people and operations.

“Are intangible assets likely to become more important or have we seen their peak?”

The answers to that question depend on the business. There will always need to be some tangible assets in most businesses, if only to help activate the value of intangible assets. The COVID pandemic has taught us that many tangible assets, like office space, may be less important than we thought, but there are still physical assets that play a mission critical role in most businesses.

On the other hand, more and more of what customers buy and consume revolves around experiential attributes, relationships, social interactions, and creative content. I still go to a restaurant for the food, a tangible asset, but much of the value that I am willing to pay for resides in the creativity of the chef and the wait staff members who know me and greet me by name when I arrive.

Do you have questions related to brand and growth strategy? Just Ask The Blake Project

Contributed to Branding Strategy Insider by: David Stewart, President’s Professor of Marketing and Business Law, Loyola Marymount University, Author, Financial Dimensions Of Marketing Decisions.

The Blake Project Can Help You Define Your Brand’s Unique Value In The Brand Positioning Workshop

Branding Strategy Insider is a service of The Blake Project: A strategic brand consultancy specializing in Brand Research, Brand Strategy, Brand Growth and Brand Education.

By: David Stewart

The Impact Of Discounting On Brand Equity

October 05th, 2020

Defining And Building Intangible Assets

June 10th, 2020

Brand Maturity Measurement

April 13th, 2020

Brand Equity Measurement For B2B Brands

April 08th, 2020

Brand Strategy For Healthcare Systems

April 07th, 2020

Extending Brand Relevance And Distinctiveness

December 11th, 2019

Aligning Brand, Purpose And Culture

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ProfAlldredge

This video is an overview of intangible assets and included the accounting for Goodwill. @ProfAlldredge For best viewing, switch to 1080p

License

Creative Commons Attribution license (reuse allowed)

5 Steps to Create the Perfect Color Palette for Your Brand [Infographic] — Red Website Design Blog

Are you in the process of starting a new business? Need help choosing a colour palette that represents your brand values? Hannah Robinson Design share their guide to choosing your business colors in this infographic. These are the shades they recommend you need to choose: Bold Complimentary Neutral Dark Light Check out the infographic for…

via 5 Steps to Create the Perfect Colour Palette for Your Brand [Infographic] — Red Website Design Blog

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