Promoting and Protecting Your Image/Brand

Image is in the Eye of Everyone As I produce more and more trade shows and receive tons and tons of business cards on-site, post-event here is what I do for networking and business development:

  • Visit the Company Website
  • Request to Become an Individual's Contact on LinkedIn (if appropriate)
  • Look a Person Up on Goog, Bin, ... okay, Actually I Look Them Up on Facebook.

I've been asking colleagues and clients what they do post event/business meeting with contact and how they "check out people" afterwards.  More often than not its on LinkedIn but almost everyone I asked admitted that they look on Facebook.

Facebook has become an easy way to see what people look like as "Image" searches don't always find exactly who you are trying to find.  I personally like the "human" factor this lends to all of us, unfortunately it also allows for more detailed personal information in the hands of many more people.  I go back and forth on FB and what I allow and don't allow.

Sometime soon Facebook will have more raw data on each of us than any single governmental, private or other public agency.  What to do with that info??  Time will tell.  In the meantime, make sure that your Profile Pic is looking good... and you have your privacy settings they way you want them.

A Rose By Any Other Name.

A colleague asked me about naming her new company and found that every time she thought of a great name... it was already taken.  She asked me what I thought about this and what I thought about securing one of the names she likes by changing an existing name up a bit...

I am of two minds about this... There are many cases of image and names being the same or reflective of another company.  These things happen, good ideas overlap all the time tis the theory of memes (a unit of social information) and you have to embrace it.  Other times people are either lazy, unethical or figure if you didn't secure it - snooze/you lose.

Embracing the Similarities!

There are two other legitimate business out there that we share a similar name with:

We Are Maven (a cool bunch of design guys in Florida).  I love their website and they do a ton of sports web design and slick ad campaigns.

Maven Creative (located in Irvine, CA - their website has been static for a long time with "New Website Launch - Sept 2010").  I'm assume they are still going but not much has happened in about 8 months, they are also print and web design.

We don't interact with either of these companies and seem to co-exist just fine.  We are different enough that it doesn't really matter and frankly I'd recommend the We Are Maven guys to my clients as we don't do what they do and I like their stuff.

On the Flipside...When Imitation is Not Flattery

Going up to GoDaddy and putting "the" or "a" or "new" in front of another companies name and trying to pass it off as legitimate is unprofessional and just bad business.  Which is the advice I gave my colleague.  If you like the name "DreamWorks" or "Microsoft" or "Sunrise Identity" you should not purchase "thedreamworks.com" or "amicrosoft.com" or "newsunriseidentity.com" - and try to pass it off as new or that you did not realize, etc...  Bloggers, e-shopping companies, this applies to you too, with putting "blog" on the end of an existing brand.  Expect a friendly cease and desist letter and you should be embarrassed and go find another name.

With the glut of people who buy and hold domain names it is tough to find something that is not already taken or being held hostage.  We have had to go out and spend a decent amount of money to protect our brand by looking at suggested names from GoDaddy or Dotster and hold them (this is one of the many ways Domain Registry companies make money).

With the new .co that Domain Services are pushing there is a whole new way for your brand to get diluted.  If companies do purchase their .co name then it validates the usage in the marketplace.  So to buy or not to buy is the question.  If .co become popular what is next?   ".c" then becomes de rigueur?  Let us hope not.

All in all like the T-Shirt from our local Sebastopol coffee shop (My Friend Joe) says:

Ethics Get Your Further

Pretty simple.  Happy Monday!

Heather

About Heather Newman, Owner & Head Maven, Creative Maven Inc.

@creativemavens, @heddanewman