What are the pros and cons of branding under a personal name vs a brand name?

I'm in the process of creating a workshop business which also offers therapy and coaching services. I am debating whether to brand it under my name ( or under a separate brand name (or both?). I've seen people offer similar services using both models and wanted some feedback on what is the best direction to take and why?


If you are going to lead the workshops:

Start with personal branding. Workshops and coaching are by experts and I'd recommend building a personal brand first. People should build trust in you. Then your offerings.

Each offering that you have - a workshop, a coaching program etc. - should have it's own branding. You may even have separate websites for each of your offerings.

If you are only organizing the business and not going to lead the programs yourself: then you got to do a corporate branding. So people relate to the organization more than individuals delivering the programs.

The coaching / self help / personal development / health industry is full of examples of both branding strategies. If you study a few cases, and their business models, you will gain better insights on why they chose their branding strategy. And you can even question if the strategy worked or not.

I hope this gives additional perspective to what you are thinking.

Feel free to contact me if you want to discuss this further.

Answered 9 years ago

It is really personal preference and what you feel comfortable with. If you will be using your name you would be the primary face of the company and would have to think of your business down the road. Will you be hiring a team? Will you want to keep your face the primary aspect of your company? I have seen coaches primarily use their name and have seen them reach extreme success by being visible and proactive.

Answered 9 years ago

Know that if you ever have the desire or need to re-brand and/or re-position, you will face many challenges. Sounds logical after the fact, but as you go down that path of associating your name with the brand, it is easy to let the ego, or the simplicity of finding the domain name, run the branding process and push you into the limelight for good (may that actually be for better or worse!). I would advise against it so you can grow your business, eventually. Your personal brand will always be in the foreground and grow, regardless.

Answered 9 years ago

I had a similar dilemma recently, when building out my website to help grow my project management and consulting business. I ultimately went with my first name and last name as the domain, mainly because my specific goal for this particular site was to inform people who already know me that I was available to take on new projects.

I'm also offering coaching services. These are separate from my project management and consulting business and are related to the principles I discuss on my blog. I'm using the platform for coaching, so am using my profile on their site as my primary coaching site and promoting it through my blog. People are more likely to come to the blog based on what I discuss, i.e. mindful wellness for entrepreneurs, rather than who I am. So in this case, I have the blog name as the URL, rather than my name. Once people find the blog, they can find me on

Finally for therapy services, as someone who's been seeing a therapist for a few years now, I'd lean toward working with someone who uses their name, rather than a "company" name. I think this builds trust from the outset and I'm guessing most referrals will come via your name, as opposed to a company name.

I agree with another commenter that this could pose rebranding challenges if you decide to grow past yourself and establish a group of therapists under a company or collective name. One example of someone who's been able to pull this off is Jerry Colonna, who is a pretty well known therapist in the co-founder/startup world. Jerry used to work by himself and somewhat recently started a company called, which is a group of coaches and therapists. You can search for Jerry to find his individual site, then for, to see how he's pulled it off.

Good luck and always happy to discuss further on a call!

Answered 9 years ago

Both. By all means, have your cake & eat it too!

If your brand IS your identity, then what's your exit strategy?

When you sell the business, do you let the buyer run amok with your personal name? Then lose your reputation AND access to your identity online!

Do you force the buyer to contemplate an expensive rebrand that disorients your audience? Then lose your buyer!

You want a brand that can be detached from your identity. But you also want to build your personal reputation in tandem with that of your workshop business.

Why not give your audience (and yourself) 2 doorways? Let them find you however they please and associate the 2 names in a way that allows for future separation.

Answered 9 years ago

I believe it depends on 2 things:
1. Your target group and how they will be finding you
2. Your intention to sell the business one day

1. If your target group is friends and friends of friends and your key communication channel is word of mouth or posts on social media, then it makes sense you keep your name as the name of the company.
If you plan to target people interested in the services you offer and who don't know you yet, and that most likely will find you by searching a solution on internet, then you could decide to create a brand name that will score well in google and that will bring to life the solution your target group is looking for (for example, your brand could be: 'Ultimate success institute'). I'm happy to have a call with you in case this is the route you are considering.
2. Indeed as someone already wrote, if you plan to sell you might want to create a brand that is different from your name.

Have a good day!

Answered 9 years ago

Always use the brand name unless your brand name is the same your personal name.

Answered 8 years ago

Understanding the relationship between Brand and Name is highly essential for this question that you have asked.
The strength of a good brand transcends the limits of logic. A clear example is the case of the Lois Jeans, a Spanish clothing brand. Sáez Merino himself, owner of the brand, has said on more than one occasion that, seeking an international touch, he chose the name of a relative (Luís) and translated it into French. But by mistake the translation program ate the “u” and printed Lois instead of Louis, with the result that the cowboys’ name became “laws” in French, becoming one of the first trademarks of France.
We do not know if they would have triumphed in France by calling themselves Louis, but they might indeed have, because there are many others who have triumphed around the world calling themselves by much stranger names. Many brand names are created with a meaning in relation to the characteristics of the product, or its use in the country of origin, but when they become internationalized, they no longer mean anything at all in other countries or in different languages. This is the case with After Sun, Blaupunkt or Close Up. There are other brands that bear the name of their owners, such as Armani, Loewe’s, Yves Saint Laurent to name just a few. Some brands are very similar in name but very distant in terms of the industry in which they move, such as Red Cross in the social arena, Cruz Verde in the area of home products and Cruz Blanca or Cruzcampo in the beverage industry. We have names with “Don” that employ the same thing for many different products. Don Algodón for fashion and cosmetics, Don Bernardo for cheese, Don Julián for cigars, Don Jacobo for wines and Don Simon for various food products. The animals are also very versatile. El Águila for beer, El Burrito Blanco for sheets, El Lobo for nougat, El Pavo for pasta, El Corral for eggs, La Piara for pâtés, La Cigala for rice and La Vaca for cheeses. The same brand name with just one letter difference applies to both a range of automotive additives (Krafft) and a range of food products (Kraft). Some might even share a name, the one for cosmetics (Vichy) and the other for mineral water. Also, a brand’s avatar in male might sell cookies (Prince) while the same avatar in female sells panties (Princess). Brands adapt (metamorphose) according to the markets in which they move. Each brand also acquires special connotations in the context of the local language or phonetics, which can remove or add meanings, simplify or complicate the pronunciation, affecting the market position it occupies, especially in partnership with the advertising that creates your image. Advertising can earn a brand hundreds of millions but spent incorrectly can also kill it. There are brands that die due to lack of publicity, bad publicity or even due to excessive advertising.
Managing the lives of brands requires common sense and tons of patience. Brand stewards must endow it with a big personality. They must be able to work quickly in their efforts to achieve a stable reputation that will survive all the iterations of the market, always capricious and changing according to thousands of factors. It can sometimes come to pass that a dead brand is resurrected, which goes to show that when a brand has identity and awareness, even if it has historically lost its reputation, it can recover it by applying good doses of creativity. This is the case of TriNaranjus, now TriNa, a soda without gas, which lost all of its charm back in the 1960s when brands like Schweppes and Coca-Cola flooded the Spanish market with the sparkling bubbles that came to be associated with fresh and modern soda. TriNaranjus, that sad drink with no bubbles, was left behind in the bitter memory of the 1950s. However, when the brand appeared to have all but disappeared from the market, and its sales had become irrelevant, a magnificent advertising campaign in 1973 by the MMLB agency succeeded in returning to the brand its lost reputation and cachet. The same happened with La Casera, a postwar snack bar, relegated by the new consumers of the 1960s and 1970s and resurrected in the early 1980s by the famous campaign of the NCK agency, “If there is no La Casera, we are leaving”. Creativity is so powerful that it can turn any name into a brand, and sometimes it can perform miracles even with brands that are born with all the odds stacked against them.
Creativity is a force capable of transforming everything, even when dealing with impossible brand names like Schweppes, which become popular despite the fact that a good number of its consumers don’t even know how to pronounce its name. In fact, the Spanish launch of Schweppes used the difficulty of the name as a theme of the campaign.
A brand is not a name, nor a logo, nor a symbol, nor a slogan, nor a meaning. The brand is a powerful personality that identifies us. It must be supported by good products and good marketing and communications strategies, always taking into account that there are no good brands and bad brands per se, but a coordination of all-around communication strategy, behind which all elements of the company must be aligned.
The brand is a powerful personality and not a name. A personal brand is built around you — your personality, your lifestyle, and your interests. It usually means you brand your business with your name. A business brand is built around an identity you create for your business. It usually means you need to craft a name for your business that is independent of your personal name. It is easier than ever to build a personal brand, especially with the tools we have available to us online. Between personal websites and social media accounts, it may be easier to create a personal brand than a business brand.
Personal brands are flexible. Personal brands typically use the business owner’s name to brand the business, website, and offerings (whether they are products or services). This means if your focus changes and you begin offering something different from what you offered to start, you can adapt your offerings without needing to change the name of your business. Personal brands are ideal if you want to develop a speaking career. It is hard work to associate your name with your area of expertise but once you have done the work, you’ll be seen as someone who others want to hear from.
Personal brands are perfect for “one-person industries.” If you are an artist, author, professional speaker, or coach, a strong personal brand will boost your business and attract new, interested prospects. Your company name will not state what you do: you must associate your personal name with what you offer. This can be done with a strong tagline that you use consistently in everything you do. You can also associate what you offer with your personal name by writing blog posts, doing interviews, creating social media posts, and booking speaking engagements around your area of expertise. You will need to do this until people associate your name with what you want to become known for. It is hard to sell a personally branded business thus you should reconsider creating a personal brand and build a business brand instead.
Business brands take more upfront work to create, because rather than use the name you were born with, you need to create one from thin air. This means crafting meaningful words, and its hard work. But it might just be worth the effort. Creating a business brand forces you to think through your plans for your business. When it is time to come up with a business name, you will need to think about who your ideal customer is, what you will offer, and what your business will be known for. Going through this process will help you create a vision for where you want to take your business that goes way beyond your business name and tagline. It is hard work to build a business brand. You must create a brand name at a time when you may still be trying to decide what your business will offer, and who your ideal customer will be.
Business brands are not as flexible if your interests change. If you decide to change course and offer something completely different, you may need to start a second business if it does not relate to your business name. You can usually come up with a name that describes the general field your products and services will fall into, and then you can get more specific with your tagline, which is easy to change. But if you change your field of interest completely, your name may not work anymore.
Besides if you do have any questions give me a call:

Answered 4 years ago

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