Personal branding: the art of being yourself – part 2: your brand name and avatar

As you've read my previous post on the importance of personal branding (hopefully); I'm sure you've been waiting for the second part of my tips on your personal brand name and logo/avatar (hopefully). So without further ado, read on...  

Your Brand Name:

In its simplest easiest forms, this can be your own name. However, the thing is your name might be special to you, but it would mean nothing to most other people. Unless you're creating your brand to make your family name recognized and popular, perhaps also for business use, I do recommend that you get yourself a witty nickname. Take mine for example, "The Manalyst". You won't believe how many times I got really great feedback over the way I used my name to create a brand name that represents who I am ingeniously. They also ask why I called myself The Manalyst and where it was inspired from so think of it as a conversation starter. Now imagine if I plainly used my own name "Manal Assaad"… What comment can you actually pass on that?! Okay I have some really nasty comments that I can say about my own name spelling in English, such luck I have. So think of a creative way to represent your name. Some personal brands I came across of and liked are "Zenology" and "AskAaronLee" both on Twitter. 

You have to really think hard about this one, because whatever you choose, you need to stick with it for a really long time and use it across all social networks whether in Names, Nicknames, email addresses, or profiles URL. 

Your Logo/Avatar: 

Here is where you can actually get visually creative and might even have to do some designing. Most importantly, you need some really good clear shots of your SMILEY face. You might be lucky and have some photographers in your friends and use them to take some good shots of your portrait, otherwise a camera phone works out fine –that's the only thing I use actually and so far I got no complaints :P–. 

Let me stress this enough here: NO MUG SHOTS OR PASSPORT ID PHOTOS OR NAUGHTY PHOTOS IN YOUR BEDROOM! I hope it was clear… Also, don't use generic pictures of nature, kids, celebrities –unless you are that celebrity, in which case: hi, can I have your autograph!–, etc. because people need to see the person they are interacting with in order to build trust. 

Another alternative to having your own personal photo if you are not comfortable with it is to use a photo of an item that represents you very well. Like choose something that you really like and have passion for, or have a certain meaning to you… but the connection has to be very obvious or publicized that your own name will be coined with that photo… Think in terms of how tissues actually mean Kleenex to almost everyone. 

Third alternative, which is mostly for professional use, is to have your own logo. Here if you don't have any designing skills, try to get a friend who could help you with it, someone who knows you and understands you enough to get it right or who you can torture until he/she gets it right. If you want to take this very seriously, you may also pay a freelance designer to help you with it. 

Finally, whatever you settle on, you use it on all social networks at the same time. You may change them all periodically but better keep them in sync. 

Now that you have your brand name and logo/avatar, last thing to add to the mix is your own personality, and here I recommend strongly that you just be yourself. However, if you're an offensive obnoxious jerk, you might want to work on changing your personality… unless you're funny, because surprisingly that works for some people!