The Importance of Using Your Name as Your Brand

The Importance of Using Your Name as Your Brand

The Importance of Using Your Name as Your Brand

The importance of using your name as your brand name for your business is a topic that comes up often. Choosing a name for your business – it sounds so easy, but sometimes it seems very, very hard. The age old debate seems to be should you use your name, or should you go with something else — and the secondary debate that always comes up is keeping your work together on one website, or having separate websites. These are just some things you should definitely consider when choosing your name, and choosing how you market your work.

There is no right answer to this question, and this is purely MY opinion on it, from what I’ve found that works best for me – I’d love it if you share in the comments what your experience has been, or why you went with the name you chose!

People connect with and buy from people.

10 years ago when I worked in the web design field, one of the vendors I worked with was named Kent Simons. Kent was an awesome guy, and whenever we had business calls they often had some personal components to them as well. We connected on not just a business level, but as friends. 10 years later? I can tell you his name – but not the company he worked for – because I liked HIM. Your clients are going to like you and refer you to other people. They will talk about you by name, so first and foremost I think it makes the most sense to use your name.

Often people say that their name is hard to spell or pronounce, and that is why they don’t want to use their name. Most of us have names that are hard to spell or pronounce. I know this first hand. Don’t let that stand in your way. You can teach them how to spell it, and you can register the URL versions of the misspelling as well.

Think you should use keywords in your name & URL? Think again.

Back in the fall of 2012, reports were everywhere about how Google was changing their algorithm “to reduce the amount of low quality exact match domains in search results. Exact match domains contain keywords that exactly match the search query.” (Read more on Search Engine Watch.) So if you were hoping to snatch up citystateboudoir.com and brand your business that way? Don’t bother. Google cares more about the accurate on page text now than it does that URL. You can build excellent SEO using your real name.

Unless it doesn’t make sense to use your name.

I am a HUGE advocate of specialization, so I think you should just focus on one business, but maybe you’re not doing that? Then we should look at what you’re already doing when you choose a business name. Do you have another photography business line? One that is already established under your name? Especially one that works with children or seniors? Maybe you don’t want to have someone searching for your name and stumble across your boudoir business? Then you might want to consider another brand. That said, proceed with caution anyways — there is no hiding on the Internet. Unless you do your boudoir work under a stage name, your children and senior clients can find you. Wedding clients as well – sometimes the Father of the Bride doesn’t want to know that you also do boudoir photography. And while you & I might not think it is a big deal, there have been situations where it has become one. This seems to be especially true with Senior photography mixing with boudoir photography.

One Website or Two?

You are only one person, and most photographers are running their business alone. Going back to specialization, you are you and there is only you — so having two websites, one for each type of photography you offer, can lead you to feeling like you have a split personality, but at the same time I think it is less confusing for most clients. If I want to hire you to photography my newborn baby, I don’t want to be looking at boudoir photographs. If I want to hire you as my boudoir photographer, I don’t want to be looking at family photographs. So if must have two photography lines, I would consider separating the websites as well.

The name options could be, for example, Christine Tremoulet Weddings and Christine Tremoulet Boudoir. Both of these tell people that I am me. Another option – which was what I did before I stopped booking weddings and turned my business to focus only on boudoir – is to have Christine Tremoulet be your primary brand, and something like Hot Mama Boudoir™ as your secondary brand. I did that because in the somewhat conservative South, I knew that there were couples that did not hire other local photographers as their wedding photographer because they did boudoir photography as well. (Ok, I also did it because Hot Mama Boudoir™ is fun to say!) That said, it wasn’t hidden at all from my client, it just made it secondary so it didn’t come up quite so easily in the search engines.

Which Name Should You Choose?

Once I shifted my business to specialize in just being a Hot Mama Photographer, the Avenger of Sexiness, I moved everything under my Christine Tremoulet named brand. I did a branding redesign at the same time, and it has been so well received that I’m currently projecting to make as much with boudoir alone this year as I did with weddings + boudoir previously. As predicted, all of my past clients were already talking about me by name, so it did not impact my word of mouth referrals.

If you asked me what you should do, my answer is always to go with your name. People want to hire YOU, and you are who they talk about when they tell their friends about you. They won’t remember your business name, because they don’t connect with a business, they connect with you. That said, if you have some special circumstance that keeps you from using your name, maybe consider your first name & middle name? Or as a last resort, give your company a completely unique name. But only do that if you have to!

Photo Credit: Stefan Tell via cc

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Christine

Author, Coach, Blog Geek. Blogger of 15 years, I named WordPress. My Superpower: Helping entrepreneurs like you use the power of storytelling across blogging & social media to magnetize clients and dominate your market. It is time to stop believing the lies of the Perfection Culture. I live in Houston, Texas when I'm not traveling in my Mini Cooper.
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14 Comments

  • Denver Boudoir Photography | Brooke Summer March 4, 2013 at 11:23 PM

    OY I had two personalities for awhile – one for weddings and portraits, the other for boudoir. It was a logistical nightmare and overwhelming to keep up with, I don’t recommend it. Great information Christine, thank you!

  • Lea March 5, 2013 at 6:45 AM

    Great post, Christine!

  • Lynn March 5, 2013 at 10:04 AM

    I like this post, but take offense to this statement: “Maybe you don’t want to have someone searching for your name and stumble across your boudoir business?”

    I’m sure it’s not intended, but this reads as if shooting boudoir is shameful and should be hidden.

  • Christine Author March 5, 2013 at 11:52 AM

    I’m so sorry it made you feel that way Lynn, as that is obviously not how I feel at all. I was going to clarify it more in the post as I wrote it, but I had hoped that the surrounding sentences and the examples used explained my point enough?

    In some situations, blending the two businesses is not good. I’ve heard stories that are not mine to share – but that was the thinking behind the statement.

    Just to be clear – Women are AMAZING and there is NO SHAME in boudoir!

  • Jenny D March 6, 2013 at 11:26 AM

    While I agree with you that using your name is best, in my situation, I chose not to use my name because my name is very common. Jennifer Lynn, was a popular combination when naming daughters in the 70s and 80s. When I was deciding on a name for my business, I found that there was more than one photographer who used the name “Jennifer Lynn” or “Jenny Lynn” for their business. While none of them were local to me, it would make it difficult to use my name for my business if I wanted to stand out. Now, I suppose I could use my first name only with my last name and make it “Jennifer Deitz Photography” but as a single woman, if I get married someday, I’ll most likely change my last name to my husband’s and then will need to change my business name. Maybe that isn’t the best reason to not use my own name, it is what I have chosen. Using the name I do – Roslyn Margaret Photography -has posed some challenges because everyone calls me Roslyn but I like my business name and I’m keeping it. :)

  • Antonina June 14, 2013 at 1:43 AM

    I just stumbled upon this as I’m searching for examples of people having two photography brands. I feel like I need to rename my business as my name is not very easy to spell and is very foreign which I know puts people off. I don’t know if you’ve covered this already, but I’d be interested to read about dealing with moving your main business (portraits, for example) to another brand name, and keeping the old business name/website for more personal work and/or another specialty (weddings, for example).

  • Heather Hummel September 25, 2013 at 3:22 PM

    Great article. I changed my photography business name from a fictitious name to Heather Hummel Photography over a year ago and am so glad I did. I do land and seascape photography, and my work is represented by a gallery in NYC. It would have been brand and recognition confusion if I had continued to use my old biz name for most things, then Heather Hummel in a gallery. People in a gallery are looking for the name of an artist, not a business name.

  • Icy Sedgwick July 26, 2015 at 10:55 AM

    I do all of my writing under my pen name, Icy Sedgwick, and when I decided to set up my Etsy shop to sell my handmade goods, I ended up using Icy Handmade since everything is handmade, and everything is made by me! That way I figured I’d tie the two together, since I do have Etsy customers who like my writing, and some readers like my jewellery, and while they’re on separate platforms for those who aren’t interested in both, they’ll still show up if people search for me.

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