Brand versus name

There is a common misconception that my name is my brand, but in reality while your name is the face of your brand, one of the points of connection with it, your brand is something else.

As I talked about last week – choosing a name that is representative of who you are and how you want to be viewed is important. But it is the beliefs and actions of the organisation that give that name meaning – it is those things that make your brand.

The associations that people (customers, employees, suppliers, etc, etc) hold and attach to your name come from that brand core, not from your name.

Much of what people call ‘rebranding’ (a term I hate with a passionate zeal) is actually renaming, re-logoing, remarketing and re-campaigning. But the core elements of the brand – the promise of the company and the core values of the company are still there, still what they were and your brand is still what it was.

One of the funniest things I have heard in a long time is the plan by US insurance giant and global financial crisis whipping boy AIG, to change their name, because their ‘brand’ was irreparably damaged. Now I am just guessing here, but I am pretty sure going from AIG to AIU is not going to make one whit of difference to the way people feel about the corporate greed that permeated that organisation and led to their fall from grace.

Here is a great video on the name change from Jon Stewart.

All parody aside, if you are unhappy with your name or just looking for one to begin with, don’t let anyone tell you that either is your brand. Is your name:

  • Important to your brand? Yes.
  • A point of connection to your brand? Yes.
  • Representative of what you believe and what your actions show? Yes.
  • The most important aspect of your brand? No.

Bad names go on to be great brands and great names flame out, and neither fate has anything to do with the name itself and everything to do with what the organisation puts into it.

Never lose sight of what really matters.

This article first appeared on June 16, 2009.

I’ll be taking a short break (just a month) from my blog here, so while I’m away you’ll be reading a few blogs from the archives that I’ve handpicked for you. See you in September with lots of new thinking to share.

Michel is an independent adviser and advocate dedicated to helping organisations make promises they can keep and keep the promises they make – with a strong, resilient organisation as the result. She also publishes a blog at You can follow Michel on Twitter @michelhogan.


Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments