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April 5, 2012 1:14 pm

Your Personal Brand: Pesach, Matza, or Maror

avatar by Issamar Ginzberg

Email a copy of "Your Personal Brand: Pesach, Matza, or Maror" to a friend
Rabbi Issamar Ginzberg

Rabbi Issamar Ginzberg.

Dear Mom,

I’m not sure we ever discussed this before, but I wanted to thank you for something.

Thank you for not naming me Israel, Moshe, or David. Because if you had, I probably would not have been able to get my first name as a web domain. (My website URL is my first name, www.issamar.com).

This would mean that for web searches, search engine optimization (“SEO” for short), and for an easy to remember email address you gave me the gift of a lifetime. I mean, it isn’t hard for someone to remember when I tell them after they ask for my email address “email me at my first name at my first name dot com.” It’s the kind of name that sticks in your brain…

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Not everyone is as lucky as I am to have a unique name, but it’s not just about the domain, as much as having a personal brand that is memorable.

Some people are born short, and see it as a negative. Others, like one enterprising fellow who probably wasn’t among the tallest kids in his class growing up, find the silver lining, taking advantage of the situation. This diminutive young man opened a business called “Mr. Short,” in Brooklyn, New York, and he fixes transmissions. He gets a lot of business because, like me, he stands out because of his name. But it doesn’t have to be a name that helps people stand out.

Sometimes just being in the right place in line can make you stand out. That’s why I often tell people, “Whenever you go for a job interview or are in any sort of competition that has meetings or submissions by the many, always try to be at the beginning, or the end, so you are easily remembered. In the middle of a group, you can easily be forgotten if you don’t stand out.”

But even if that’s not possible, it helps to be different and memorable enough to be remembered for standing out for something. Quick- how many business marketing consultants (besides me) can you name offhand? If your mother did not give you a memorable name all is not lost. Those names you can remember probably stand out for you either because they are someone you met recently, or very long ago… or in some special setting or who left a memorable impact, and not always for their business or their name. Seth Godin for instance is a marketing guru. He is often remembered for his mismatched and colorful socks, and for his association with purple cows, or even his bald head. It’s branding that works.

When you consider branding for your business, one of the most important items to consider and to put at the very top of the list, in addition to the name, should be the availability of the .com term of that domain. Do not use .net, not .co, and certainly not. info! But more on that in a different post.

A domain ending with .org or .co.il (in Israel) or another top-level domain for your country (like co.uk) can also work well, depending on your business scope and how you generate traffic.

If someone searches through a specific country’s Google engine, the results will provide higher rankings for countries with a localized domain (like co.za in South Africa) than other domains.

(Google also will give local results for things like dentists and plumbers– if you are in Alaska and search for dentist, Google understands that even the best dentist in Money Island Beach, North Carolina (yep, that’s a real place- think of the branding possibilities there!) probably won’t help your toothache. It is important to for your business to dominate Google, but be aware that you want to focus your impact on what will generate business for you, without wasting thousands on irrelevant terms.)

A special thank you, mom, for not naming me “Pesach”. While it’s not that popular a name, it would have had me competing with this wonderful holiday.

On the other hand, it would have opened up all kind of exciting branding possibilities. “Find the chometz (leaven) in your business!”

Find what’s unique about yourself and use it to stand out. Remember, you can always attach a nickname as well, the name “Kinko’s” came from the nickname given to founder Paul Orfalea’s curly red hair.

There’s a reason so many smart people “dumb themselves down” and attach monikers to themselves. It’s because it makes them stick in people’s minds, which is not a bad thing when your business is dependent on referrals and on being memorable.

What does your name rhyme with? What do you look like? What does your business sell? Can you combine them? (Think about how Fremont, California based “Juan More Taco” cleverly combines a popular saying with (possibly) the owner’s first name, or at least the Mexican flavor… which would make a great spin, even if his first name was…. Moshe!)

And if you are unique in some other way, (perhaps you have a long untrimmed beard, a big black hat, and people refer to you as an “orthodox rabbi”…) people associate your name and what you do in a mental image along with how you look… so why not leverage that fact and use it in the best way you can?

So, Mom, here’s a big thank you for everything. Especially for my unique first name.

Wishing you a happy Pesach!

Your son,

Rabbi Issamar Ginzberg

PS. Even though it would admittedly be unique, thanks for not naming me “maror”, (Bitter herbs). That would be bad for branding, however unique it might be. Next year in Jerusalem!

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