Say My Name, Say My Name: 3 Critical Questions to Ask Yourself Before Choosing a Brand Name


Several years ago, I attended a large social media conference. As is my habit at these things, I crammed in as many sessions as possible on any topic that might make me better/faster/stronger. I wanted to learn everything I could about SEO, affiliate monetization, and MOST IMPORTANT: personal branding.

Because who are you, really, in this millennium, without a personal brand?

The most successful bloggers at the conference had brand names that spoke to their topics. There was Decor Diva to help you make your space beautiful. Sexy Suppers for meal plans to maintain your girlish pre-motherhood figure. And of course, The Martini Midwife. Because childbirth without hard liquor is nothing short of barbaric.


I think.

Meaning, I think I made up these names. But they could be real blogger brands. That's how cutesy these brand names got during the peak of micro-publishing. (DO NOT call it mommy blogging.)

Cartoon header, cute brand name. I’m not into it.

Plus, who wants to be the Decor Diva forever? FOREVER.

For the same reason I have no tattoos, I couldn't settle on a brand name. I had tried with After the Bubbly, which I liked, but why build equity in a content brand if no one knew my name?

Say my name, say my name.

The only brand I knew I'd have forever was the brand of Lela Davidson. And because at the time my primary business was writing, it made perfect sense to me that my NAME would be my brand. However, I was very much in the minority, and I wanted to know why.

The conference session on personal branding was the ideal place to get some feedback. So I asked for advice, in front of the whole class.

I'll protect the speaker's identity. But let's say her brand name was something like Mocha Meditation or Carpool Crafter. When I asked about using my very own name as my brand, she wrinkled up her face. Then she managed to work in a dozen references to her own catchy brand name.

Acting kinda shady, not calling me baby.

Bottom line: using my own name was a disastrous idea.

Her tone? So condescending.

As if Sequins & Sippy Cups were destined for greatness.

She closed her little speech with: I already forgot your name.

I already forgot your name.

Fair enough, but I wanted to point out that I never had the opportunity to forget hers. Because she didn't put it out there. Okay, that's a lie. I thought of that snappy comeback later. In th moment, I was dumbstruck and a little hurt because:


After I got over the sting of public humiliation, it dawned on me.

I already forgot your name.


That's why I needed to use my name. Over and over and over again. I decided that day to keep using my name and never look back.

Say my name, say my name.

My name is my brand. It's me. And it's better than any cute constructed brand name.

It’s better for me and my goals.

For you, maybe a brand name is the answer. Maybe a cartoon avatar is the answer.

Brand names work for a lot of successful entrepreneurs. Like The Pioneer Woman.

NAME names work for a lot of successful entrepreneurs. Like Tory Burch.

Which is right for you?

If you're trying to figure out whether to use your name or a constructed brand name, ask yourself these questions:

  • Can the brand name you’re considering evolve and expand with you? Consider your work a decade from now. Will that brand name still be relevant?

  • Would the brand name you’re considering work as the name for a product or service? Versus using it for your over-arching brand?

  • Are you hiding behind a brand name? Are you creating something outside of yourself because you’re not ready to be fully visible?

And if I've managed to get this song in your head, here's another way to think about your brand name:

  • Are you building a brand like Destiny's Child or a brand like Beyonce?

Take some time with these questions before deciding. But not too much time. Because you should never spend more time figuring out your brand name than you do practicing your craft.

No matter what you decide, never let anyone make you feel forgotten when you've barelyjust begun.

Do you need help with your personal brand? I can help.