Wednesday, July 29, 2009

How Much Name Equity Do You Own?

Your name speaks before you do.

Whether it’s your surname, nickname, company name, domain name, product name or username, the question you have to ask yourself is:

“What do people think, feel, say or do when they hear your name speak?”

Hear. Your. Name. Speak.

So, maybe somebody:

SEES your name in print.
COMES across your name on Google.
STUMBLES across your Twitter username.
HEARS her friend invoke your name at a meeting.
WATCHES the news broadcast in which the anchor drops your name.

Whatever the vehicle is, Name Equity is a function of the life that’s been lived BEHIND your name … up until that moment.

So, if a customer perceives you as reliable, via trusted referrals validating your track record of service … and if a customer perceives you as credible, via the consistent delivery of expertise-driven messages on your Thought Leadership Platform…

Then, YES, that customer will develop confidence in your value when she hears your name speak.

And then she will buy from you.

SO, THE QUESTION IS: How can you live your name in a way that increases the probability that when people are exposed TO, think ABOUT or speak OF your name, they don’t suddenly feel the urge to reach for their bottle of Ipecac?

Today we’re going to explore seven questions that measure the net worth of your Name Equity:

1. What do people say after your name? Shakespeare was wrong. It’s not just what’s IN a name – it’s what’s AFTER a name. This reminds me of the first time I was interviewed on CNN: January 13, 2003. My first book, HELLO, my name is Scott, was just published.

And check this out: The job title CNN listed below my head, right underneath “Scott Ginsberg,” was “Nametag Wearer.” Ah, memories. And so, lesson learned: If you don’t make a name for yourself – someone will make one for you. I invite you to consider this: What would CNN write under YOUR name if you didn’t tell them ahead of time?

2. What do people think when they see your name? People’s instant reaction when they see your name is THEE report card on how well you’ve positioned your unique value. Both in the markeplace AND in people’s minds.

As bestselling author Jeffrey Gitomer says, “When someone says your name, they’re also going to say one of five things about you: something great, something good, nothing, something bad, or something real bad. And whatever they say, determines your fate.” For example:

• “Who the heck is THIS guy?”
• “How does she manage to get her name everywhere?”
• “I love this man!”
• “Oh, great, THIS lady again…”
• “Yeah, I hear he’s kind of a jerk…”
• “Man, I see this guy’s name everywhere I look!
• “Damn it – this guy again! He’s always where I want to be!”

REMEMBER: Everybody is watching, everything is a performance and everything matters. Does the mere sight of your name bring peace or drama to people’s attitudes?

3. When someone googles your name, what do you want to happen? A few things. First, high ranking search results. The instant barometer of your Name Equity. After all, if you don’t exist on Google, you don’t exist. Second, immediate action MUST be taken.

So, you want people to STOP searching. To click through and explore you further. Finally, contact. This is when you compound attraction with outreach. Because ideally, you’d like people to email, call or connect with you in some way so they can buy. How googleable are YOU?

4. What’s your middle name? According to #1 marketing blogger and bestelling author Seth Godin:

“The best middle name isn’t Warren or Susan or Otis or Samuel or Tricia. It's ‘The.’ As in Attila The Hun. Or Alexander The Great. Or Joe The Plumber. When your middle name is ‘The’, it means you're it. The only one..."

"...The one that defines the category. And it’s a result of appropriate focus.""For example, Google is the best because it’s more appropriately called ‘Google The Search Engine.’ So: Seek THE.”

Seth nailed it. Because you WANT to be That Guy. You WANT to be The Only. That’s Name Equity. Me? I’m Scott The Nametag Guy. What about you? Does your middle name suggest superiority?

5. Has your name become its own adjective? That’s what Quentin Tarentino, Bob Dylan and Tom Peters have in common. They’ve all become their own adjective. This elevated state of Name Equity is a composite of these individual’s uniqueness, artistry, school of thought, talents, style and expertise.

Their efforts have achieved critical mass in recognizability and memorability in their respective industries. So much so, that their customers actually begin to use their NAMES as adjectives to describe other things IN that industry.

For example, “That was a very Tom Peters thing to say,” or, “That movie was SO Tarentino,” or “This hot new songwriter is very Bob Dylan sounding.” Ultimately, adjectivity is about living your values in such a passionate, open and consistent way, that people don’t even have to ask what you’re all about. What would it look like to pull a “You”?

6. How are you monitoring your name? Name Equity loses its value without constant observation. Here are a few suggestions. First, get Google Alerts on every variation of your name, usernames, domain names and email addresses.

Second, run regular searches on your name (in quotes) along with words like “sucks,” “genius,” “awesome” and “asshole.” Also, use Tweetdeck to monitor people’s posts about your names, usernames, monikers and titles. These research strategies will help you stay current about the positive (and negative) word of mouth about your name.Are you listening to what people are saying about you?

7. How boring is your username? Speaking of Twitter, here’s an underused hotspot for your personal branding iron AND valuable source or Name Equity. In 2007, Microsoft Research published a study proving that the average online user has approximately twenty-five different sites they log into on a regular basis.

Your challenge is to create a consistent username or handle that is: (1) Consistent with your brand, (2) Unexpected and unique, and (3) Cool enough to stimulate interest. So, ask yourself: Would a complete stranger on Twitter want to follow or learn more about you SOLELY BASED your username?

REMEMBER: Everyone has a name – but not everyone LIVES their name.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
What do people think, feel, say or do when they hear your name speak?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the list called, “8 Ways to Guarantee Long Term Name Recognition,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice.
Always about approachability.

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!