Do you brand yourself with your real last name?

32 replies
Hey warriors,
I'm guessing that to some of you it might seem stupid, but I'm honestly not sure whether to use my real last name when branding myself or not.
I want to be personal with my customers, so I will share some info about me with them.
But the thing is - my last name is very common. In fact, there are some well known people with the exact same name.
I want to brand myself with a unique name, so that when someone will google it they won't find random people, they'll find me. And when people will say that name they will think about me, not about a famous musician. (unless that famous musician is me, hehe)
On the other hand, It might seem as I'm lying about my identity, which is definitely not what I'm trying to do.

So, are you using your real last name when branding yourself? What would you do if you were me?

Adam
#brand #branding yourself #nickname #real
  • Profile picture of the author CTonline09
    Yes I use my real name!

    So with your problem, I doubt changing your name is really going to help you to be honest and when going to start a business online, think about using your real name or not is the least of your worries and certainly not important IMHO!

    I would concentrate on other aspects of your business and not worry to much about your name becomeing a household name among IM marketers or what ever industry you wish to enter.

    Thanks
    Colin.
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  • Profile picture of the author arnoldsmithh
    Yes i also use my real name in brand name.
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  • Profile picture of the author moonzombie
    To people who don't use their real name, wouldn't it show up when they accept payment through PayPal anyways, or can it be masked by their business name?
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    • Profile picture of the author Coby
      Originally Posted by moonzombie View Post

      To people who don't use their real name, wouldn't it show up when they accept payment through PayPal anyways, or can it be masked by their business name?
      This can be masked...

      If you have a common last name just pick a pen name and brand that...

      Pick a unique last name...

      OR You can be "Adam The Viking" or something lol
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    • Profile picture of the author deu12000
      I use a mixture of aliases and my real name depending on what I'm doing. If it's local I use my real name, if it's not I use either or.

      Originally Posted by moonzombie View Post

      To people who don't use their real name, wouldn't it show up when they accept payment through PayPal anyways, or can it be masked by their business name?
      If you have a business account when you send or receive payments it shows your business name only.
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      • Profile picture of the author brentb
        I used to do business under a fake name... i registered the name as a business though so it would be on my credit cards, checks, paypal, whois etc....

        if you do that, go all out...
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  • Profile picture of the author Nickname
    Thanks Colin.
    There's one more thing I found out just now - when you google my name google suggest this phrase: Adam (insertlastnamehere)(3moreletters) gay
    Now I'm not sure if I want that to be associated with my business. (not that I have any problems with gay people!)
    Also I was thinking to create a personal website and portfolio.
    You see, being personal with my followers / subscribers is important to me. But the domain for my name is probably taken, and there's no way I'll be able to outrank wikipedia and bunch of other authorized websites that are the top 10 for my name!
    I was thinking to just use a word that isn't a last name. I've noticed some people are doing it...

    @Justin: hahaha, I don't think I've watched that episode!
    @moonzombie: I'm not going to hide my real name, just use a different lastname or nickname to brand myself.

    Thanks!
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  • Profile picture of the author Sornie Samante
    Know what Buddy? You don't have to worry to much about your name. Just Stay Focus to Stay On Track. In the end of the day, it's not the name the matters though, it's the way you treat your subscribers/Customers/Clients to guarantee Satisfaction.

    Additionally, We Should be proud of our birth names, that makes who we are in the eyes of people that surrounds us

    Lastly, I leave this to you...

    If you would Change your name or Brand your name...

    The important question: How would it change YOU? In what ways would this make you feel different?

    Just Sayin
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  • Profile picture of the author Scott Skinner
    Use your REAL Name! Both of them! To get around the commonality of your last name, brand yourself with a title. Such as "firstname lastname" - SEO expert, relationship fixer, etc.

    Then market yourself like that. Once done properly, you'll stand out from everyone else with the same name.
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  • Profile picture of the author VinceReed
    Always try to be as authentic as possible. Anyone who wants to know your real name won't have much trouble finding out the truth anyway.
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  • Profile picture of the author jayardel
    Since I am not trying to brand myself, I prefer to remain anonymous. Also, when I purchase a domain name I immediately activate WhoIsGuard.
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    • Profile picture of the author TopKat22
      IMHO, just use your real name. I have a friend who changed her name for this reason and then when she got even just a little well known in a certain market, it came out and a lot of people thought she had something to hide.

      Otherwise, online, do what jayardel says and be anonymous.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jeff Marshall
    Originally Posted by Nickname View Post

    But the thing is - my last name is very common. ...

    Adam
    Let's see now, Cohen, Green, Levine... haha couldn't resist, Adam.

    No, I'd say you have nothing to worry about in terms of your name becoming a strong and separate brand unto itself -- as long as you put out exceptional stuff.

    When people search you, they will likely do so with niche qualifiers anyway (e.g., Adam Ant marketing, Adam Ant SEO...)

    It may even work to your favor if your famous namesake is really well-loved -- emotional triggers are funny that way.

    Of course, when they're carted off to jail amidst scandal and shame...

    Just make sure you're the good Adam.
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  • Profile picture of the author Gavori
    I usually dont share personal details, too many risks
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  • Profile picture of the author Syndicator
    I would use a number of these strategies.

    Always use a whois guard on your domains to keep those pesky domain scouts out of your inbox.

    My name is pretty common, so I use my middle initial to brand myself which really helps

    Simon J Richardson

    If you do a search for Simon Richardson there are millions of hits, do it with the J and you get me right away! - Im not the top result but I do get about 5-6 SERPs in teh 1st page on Google.

    Some real power in your own name.

    Even if you are not interesting in branding yourself right now, maybe later you will be, and may want some credibility from your previous endeavours...which you will not be able to associate easily without seeming less than 'transparent and trustworthy'

    Cheers
    Simon
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  • Profile picture of the author Roaddog
    Incorporate and brand a company name.

    Bad things happen to good people all the time in business.

    What is easier,. changing your company or your real name?

    While sub C or LLC will not protect your assets as much as one may think, it's still better to brand a company name.


    Good luck in whatever you do.
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  • Profile picture of the author Don Schenk
    I use my real name, and there are several others with the same name. It's not been a problem. When I google myself (it sometimes makes me giggle), I am in most of the listing for my name, and it is real obvious because someone searching for me will already know what I do.

    Soooo, you can add your middle initial (or if you use your middle name add your first initial.)

    :-Don (actually my middle name)
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    • Profile picture of the author katnyc
      I'm struggling with this as well.

      I have a popular youtube channel, over 150,000 views on one video, but I never show my face and I never use my name.

      I am using a company name for my website and email autoresponders. It has not been an issue for youtube, but I have also not been soft selling or asking anyone to open up their wallet.
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  • Profile picture of the author Ernie Mitchell
    I'm not an attorney but I think there is some legal exposure in the USA in doing business under a name that isn't in record in the state Attorney Generals office where you reside. I have several assumed names registered with the AG.
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    • Profile picture of the author myob
      Often it brings a subtle but significant marketing advantage when you can use eponyms associated with your niches. I have several dozen such aliases registered as DBAs (doing business as) for enamoring my customers with an aura of implicational association such as (say) Mary Cook (recipes), Neil Gardener (horticulture), Dick Colon (proctology), Tracey Star (astronomy), etc. This really is a powerful marketing effect, especially in crowded niches, because readers will readily recognize and remember names identifiable with their interests.
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      • Profile picture of the author ronaldmd
        I'm a bit of introvert, so I reveal only my first name. I guess a lot of people named "Ronald".

        Originally Posted by myob View Post

        Often it brings a subtle but significant marketing advantage when you can use eponyms associated with your niches. I have several dozen such aliases registered as DBAs (doing business as) for enamoring my customers with an aura of implicational association such as (say) Mary Cook (recipes), Neil Gardener (horticulture), Dick Colon (proctology), Tracey Star (astronomy), etc. This really is a powerful marketing effect, especially in crowded niches, because readers will readily recognize and remember names identifiable with their interests.
        Hmm, maybe I should use "Ronald Gold" as alias in IM niche, what do you think?
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  • Profile picture of the author gudrunsmith
    How do you think people will trust you and willing to make business with you when you keep your name away from them.

    People buy from people! People they trust, and not the product or service.

    I brand my name first and than comes the business! When your affiliate goes sour or out off business you must start from scratch again, but when you brand your name, you only must exchange the links and still be going strong
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  • Profile picture of the author Coby
    I Should mention that I recently Googled my full name and found a testimonial video for a rehab center from someone with the same name - didn't phase me - but it did make me go make a couple of videos with my face in them :p
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  • Profile picture of the author wedjat1976
    I questioned this for a minute as well. I am just starting out and I think that in this day of technology it might be pretty hard to separate your name from your products, no matter what you are selling. Its gonna come out, the internet is a huge spiderweb made to connect the dots......
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  • Profile picture of the author David Ogden
    Always use your real name everywhere if your name is Smith or Jones yes there will be a lot of competition, so you could create some kind of tag line to set you apart from others.
    Maybe as simple as adding a place name or Title. You need to think about this as you might move or change your title, but over time search engines like Google will provide sub-search results so you can be easily found.

    Also remember to tag a picture a picture or an avatar so that people can recognise you visually
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  • Profile picture of the author Pippa Dean
    I would say use your real name, if you don't and you let something slip to say otherwise your customers might think if he lies about this what else could he be hiding?

    Anyway, there are much more important things to be focusing than on your name
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    • Profile picture of the author Steven Wagenheim
      Okay, I have a very uncommon last name. But let's say my last name was
      Jones. Actually I wish it was.

      Anyway, I'd use something like Steve "Article Marketing Wiz" Jones as to
      differentiate myself from the rest of the pack.

      Try it. I think you'll find it works very well.
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  • Profile picture of the author kultronik
    I always wondered why is so common for writers or journalists to use pen names?

    If we provide a great value and help our partners/clients who cares whats our real name is, isn't it?
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    • Profile picture of the author Nickname
      Thank you!
      I considered of all your advice.

      I won't brand myself with my 'real' name.
      Why? A few reasons:
      1. If you look for my name in Google, it "fixes" my last name into different last name. I'll lose potential buyers.
      2. If you manage to look for my real name without Google fixing it, you'll get bunch of results that I don't want associated with my business. Bunch of Facebook profiles which aren't mine, even a website about cheating (husbands cheating on their wives and the opposite)
      3. I want to have a unique name. I want the whole search results in Google to be stuff related to me.

      Based on your comments, that's what I decided to do:
      I changed the way I spell my last name in English. Since I'm not from an English-speaking country, I can spell it in various ways. (Y instead of I)
      Also, I've added myself a middle letter to my name. I don't have a middle name, but I think adding myself a middle W would be okay.
      For all the legal stuff of course, I'll just enter my first and last name. The middle one just for branding.

      Thank you all once again.
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  • Profile picture of the author Suthan M
    You know Adam,

    If Google are "fixing" your name with wrong search results- it is because at the moment , that is the only result that they could find. There's none of yours in the result right?

    And when you plan to never build a brand around your name, that is gonna stick- until one day you come to your senses and start building some branding to your name.

    At first- Google might not exactly give their full love yet- but as time goes- you will notice that when you Google your name, the correct search result with your name will come up. (yeay!)

    That's my take on it :-)
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