Branding: Name, Nickname or Company?

Everything you do in public adds to or subtracts from your cred, and is compiled in your virtual resume. Which resume are you building, and what do you hope to get out of that?

Bill Cammack - Channeling What Women Want!
Bill Cammack – Channeling What Women Want

When I got started, three years ago, in 2006, My idea was to make a site that started out as my making my own videos but would expand to a group of people collaborating to make videos for the site. This is why I was initially branding ReelSolid.TV instead of BillCammack.com.

Pretty much immediately, I started getting recognition for my videos, except *I* wasn’t getting recognition for my videos. People knew that ReelSolid.TV was producing them, but nobody knew who ReelSolid.TV was.

Once I understood that, I had a choice. I was either going to continue publicizing the group (which was only me anyway), or I was going to start publicizing MYSELF. I chose to publicize myself because the group is merely an umbrella.. a catch-all. Let’s say that ReelSolid.TV is defense and BillCammack.com is offense. ReelSolid is more saying “I’m not necessarily the one that created this, though it’s my site”. BillCammack is saying “I did this. Add it to my resume”.

2 1/2 years later (I think I branded ReelSolid.TV for 6 months before changing over), I’m satisfied with my results. I’m currently top-10 out of 395 million entries for “Bill” and top-10 out of 396 thousand Google entries for “Cammack”. That works for me, because anything that I do these days, people are like “Oh.. That’s the same guy that did this, this and that”. In fairness, I’m a freelancer, so it’s actually in my best business interest for people to recognize my name as well as my best personal interest. I like to “Stand or Fall” on my own merit.

Nicknames

Other people like to brand nicknames. Two that come to mind offhand are PurpleCar and Pistachio. Thanks to Social Media, this is a viable option. You can use a nickname and associate that name with a consistent avatar across SM sites and people will become accustomed to addressing you by your nickname. Also, by tagging your media with your nickname, people will be able to find your work or writing on Google just as easily as your “Government Name”.

The only problem here is the same problem I had with ReelSolid.TV. Unless you intend on continuously utilizing your nickname to do business or blogging or whatever you do, you’re probably better off using something that will come along with you into your new projects or genres. Granted, nicknames are less of an issue than something specifically saying TV, because if you want to go into music, you can be PurpleCar Records or Pistachio International.

An upside of nicknames is that they’re catchy and unique, at least within your niche, and therefore way more easily remembered and shared with others. I’m sure there are tons of Lauras that do the same thing, but only one Pistachio. There are lots of Christines, but only one PurpleCar. There are tons of Bills, but only one ReelSolid.TV

Company Names

Other people’s approach to the internet is to ONLY open their mouths to say something about their company or the company they work for. You’re basically the mouthpiece or the “face” of that company. That’s beautiful for the company, but once you leave that company, there’s going to be no trace that you ever existed on the internet.

That’s exactly what some people want, so that works for them. Other people leave a company after a couple of years and think they’ve developed such a fine reputation amongst the people they’ve interacted with on the net, only to find out that outside of the context of “He/She works for Company X”, nobody recognizes you at all, and you basically have to start from scratch.

I think the question really comes down to what you’re trying to build on the net. Do you want people to know who YOU are and what YOU’VE done? or are you only on the internet for business purposes? What will it mean to you three years from now when nothing’s published under your Government Name and everything you wrote comes up under your former job’s name? OTOH.. What will it mean to you down the line if people know your name, but didn’t learn enough about your company in the meantime to make it a household name and as successful and recognized as it could possibly have been?

So… What do *you* brand, and why?

~ Bill Cammack

Twitter: BillCammack
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2 thoughts on “Branding: Name, Nickname or Company?”

    1. Thanks, Justin. The old-school way of doing things was to name a blog something snappy so that people could/would remember it, because there was no way that your actual name was going to mean ANYTHING to them whatsoever. That’s why you see sites named stuff like MyCouchIsGreen.com. When people asked if you had a blog, you got to say “My Couch Is Green” and people could remember that and look you up and subscribe or bookmark you or whatever.

      The obvious problem there, if you intend to be a character on your own, is that nobody gets used to your name at all. Most importantly, GOOGLE doesn’t get used to your name. Around a year ago IIRC, Google started spell-correcting my name, asking “Did you mean: Bill Cammack”. That’s obviously useful for when people HEAR your name, but don’t know how to spell it.

      The other benefit is when I’m in a video and no hyperlink is posted to my site, people can still read my name in the credits and google me and get the right person. So, overall, as a solo “character”, it was important for me to brand my name.

      OTOH, maybe you want to brand concepts and not your actual name. When I first started my dating blog, it was called “Don’t Try This At Home”, and I signed the posts “DatingGenius”. After a while, I moved my blog to my DatingGenius category of BillCammack.com and signed the articles “Bill”. There was no point in buying DatingGenius.com/org/whatever (.com was already taken, btw), because I wasn’t branding DatingGenius. I’m always branding myself, and DatingGenius is one branch of my personal internet offerings. It doesn’t help me to have someone find my posts more easily by going to a site called DatingGenius because I get 80% of my traffic from Google anyway. They have no idea what site they’re coming to. They come for the information.

      Anyway, the point is that people need to think ahead and consider what they’d like people to remember about them next year or the year after that. If you made a site called ILoveToSki and now you’re a snowboarder, or worse, a skateboarder… you’re
      assed out. 😀

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