Should You Use Your Name or a Product Name?

Commentator Marie Forleo says choosing a name comes down to three key factors, your industry, vision and long term planning. Although not mutually exclusive, the factors revolve around whether you or the product or service form the basis of the brand. Choosing a name is “all about being clear and what you want and where you’re going.”

In making her points, Forleo quotes baseball icon Yogi Berra: “If you don’t know where you’re going you’ll wind up somewhere else…

  • If you’re looking to build your business about being an expert, like an author, speaker, coach or consultant and the main commodity is you than name the business your name
  • If you plan to be around for a long time, you’re going to write many books…the only thing that’s not going to change about your business is you
  • The benefit of naming a website after yourself is that you can launch many brands under your name, but you don’t have to be stuck with something
  • If you’re starting a business based around a product or service that may be sold some day (e.g., Whole Foods, Instagram) then you may want to choose a name that’s more fitting to the business
  • That said there are countless businesses (Donna Karan, Calvin Klein, Orville Redenbacher) that built name-based empires and sold them
  • This is all about having a clear vision as to what you want and where you’re going