My Name Is Hurting My Brand

March 13, 2012

This is an Andrew Miller, but it's not me.

I’m fascinated with names, and it has everything to do with the utter plainness of my own. Andrew Miller. Nothing exotic about that. Andrew Miller does your taxes. Andrew Miller works for the Chamber of Commerce. Andrew Miller teaches 3rd grade math.  If Andrew Miller was a car, he would be a 2001 Ford Taurus.

I work with a Bob Ingrassia, a Jenny Zanatta, an Allison Checco. Now, those are names! Music to the ears! And those are people who, if so compelled, might actually find something about themselves if they Googled their own name.  There’s no hiding with names like those.

I’ve often wondered how could I ever make a name for myself when there are so many other Andrew Millers out there?

Andrew Miller is a 6-7 left-handed pitcher for the Boston Red Sox. Andy Miller is a big-time sports agent who represents Kevin Garnett, Chauncey Billups, Jamal Crawford and, fittingly, Andre Miller. A Drew Miller also plays left wing for the Detroit Red Wings. You don’t even have to leave the world of sport to encounter every derivative of my name.

Just yesterday, my colleague George discovered a client had been mentioned on iamandrewmiller.com, which shouldn’t be confused with my blog, theandrewmiller.com. I suspect that Andrew Miller, like myself, had no better domain name after andrewmiller.com was taken.

Here’s a question, and I’m at least 16% serious when I ask it: If personal brands are so important, then shouldn’t I consider changing my name?

Think about it: If there were thousands of companies called Nike and you owned one of them, would you battle to be the Nike? No, you would change the name of your company and you wouldn’t think twice about it.

That said, I’m sticking with Andrew Miller. But I’m left to wonder if my generation — no, check that, the younger folks in my generation and the whippersnappers to follow — are more likely to factor the world of personal brands, search engine optimization and social media when it comes to naming their kids.

Do we call them Generation SEO?