Establishing a company or brand name is a business process that all entrepreneurs must go through. In the 21st century, branding and name recognition has become crucial for business success; in many cases, business principals who have used personal or family names have succeeded in shaping their companies as popular brands, but this is never a guarantee. It so happens that some names are better suited for business than others, and there is also the matter of search engine optimization to consider.
Before we discuss the topic of using your personal name as a business brand, let’s look at some examples we can all recognize:
* The Hormel Foods Corporation, known for Spam, is named after George Hormel.
* Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, known for luxury vehicles, is named after founders Charles Rolls and Henry Royce.
* Johnnie Walker whiskey is named after Scottish grocer John Walker.
* The Aldi supermarket change was initially named Albrecht Discount after co-founder Karl Albrecht.
In the historical examples above, company founders wanted to keep their business operations in the family, hence their choice of personal names for what would eventually become global brands.
Depending on your business jurisdiction, naming a company after yourself is a sensible step when you want to keep things simple. In Florida, for example, a fictitious name registration is not always required for sole proprietors, but it is recommended. The Sunshine State allows individuals to do business under their own legal names, but many accountants and attorneys advise against this practice.
Unique personal names can be ideal for business use because it can provide a search engine optimization advantage. Let’s say a young woman is interested in the retail fashion industry; if her name is something like Michelle Vannaladora, she could transform it into a brand and benefit from built-in SEO since it would always come up at the top of the Google search engine results page. Quite a few fashion labels are named after the designer, so this would be an inherent benefit. If Michelle Vannaladora wants to open a boutique named after herself, she should do so because this is a clear case of a business-ready name.
Now, let’s look at another fashion industry hopeful whose name happens to be Mary Smith; should she choose to use her own name for business, this could pose a problem in terms of SEO. People searching for Mary Smith’s fashion design online will likely run into dozens of profiles of people with the same name before they find what they are looking for.
In cases when you are the face of the brand, it is recommended that you use your name or variations thereof. Staying in the fashion industry sector, we see that pop music star Rihanna recently launched a label under the Louis Vuitton group, and she chose to name her brand Fenty because her full name Robyn Rihanna Fenty. As it happens, Rihanna has cleverly chosen a homophone: Fenty sounds a lot like Fendi, which is a luxury Italian powerhouse and a subsidiary of Louis Vuitton.