Sunday, February 5, 2017

"Effective Branding Begins With Us"

Effective branding begins with us - individually. While our company name might be involved in many aspects of what we portray to the marketplace, ultimately it is our name that the customer will be identifying with and searching for online.

With the extensive and expansive use of the internet, potential consumers of what we offer will search for us online to learn more about who we are, what we offer, and others experiences in working with and engaging us. Some social sites that we will be members of only allow a personal profile although the company name will be referenced. Some allow a company page, but the search engines will still list our names either alone or in conjunction with our company. Therefore, it's important that we create a strong personal presence.

This is where consistency plays an important role - and that of being somewhat unique.

There are many instances where people put their full name on their business card, Linked In, Facebook, or other online profile but use a different name with people who know them or ones they are trying to connect with - friend, colleagues, customers, clients, and online connections.

This dilutes the personal brand and it confuses the search engines.

If someone wants to be "Rodney P. Smith II" on their business card because that is the way they have grown up and now want to brand themselves with that name, their Facebook profile, LinkedIn profile, Twitter handle, and their other online social sites should reflect that same name. No one outside their family, should ever address them - online or in person - by anything other than Rodney. This means not using "Rod," "RP," "Skip," "R. Peter," "Junior," "Two (II)," or anything else.

When different names are used interchangeably - Bob and Robert, Deborah and Deb or Debbie, Charles and Chas or Charlie or Chuck, or when other nicknames are used - whether they are common or not - the search engines and the platforms don't make the connection. They think these are different people rather than the same person using different names. As a result, Facebook, Linked In, and other sites don't recognize that you have a connection with someone when a name other than the registered one is used.

Decide how you want people to address you and how you are going to identify your online presence. Then build your brand around that name.


Now, if your name matches that of a famous or well-known person - real or fictional - you're going to get lost in the search engines. It's not uncommon to show up on page 7 or later when your name is the same as an actor, football player, author, scientist, political figure, or character in a book or movie. There's just no getting around it. They get way more mention and attention.

The way around this is to change your name - not legally and not much. Try adding a nickname or using the first initial and go by your middle name. If you are John Kennedy, for instance, or even John F. Kennedy, you may need to become John "(supply an appropriate nickname that you can live with and have people begin calling you such as Skip, Scooter, Dutch, Popeye, or anything else that works for you and those who know you), or go by your middle name (J. Frederick Kennedy or just Fred Kennedy).

The important thing is that we create a personal brand that can grab the attention of the internet and have people find us. It doesn't have to be a totally one-of-a-kind name, but it should not be competing with other people or names that are in the news on a frequent basis. 

____________

Steve HoffackerCAPS, CEAC, SHSS, is a licensed Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist-Instructor and best-selling author of universal design books. To learn about this and other programs for aging-in-place or universal design, visit stevehoffacker.com or call 561-685-5555.