A term made popular in the 1990s was You, Inc. As we travel through our careers, each of us needs to think of ourselves as brands. These individual brands are like product brands. They have names and reputations, to be nurtured and merchandised. Two recent stories from the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) remind us of the new power of our personal brand names in a world where Google has become a verb, as in “to google.”
The first story talks about how often executives do search engine research on business contacts before they meet them. You may be surprised that more than a third of those surveyed by the WSJ (37%) said yes, they google people for “both personal and professional uses.” Another 18% said yes, but largely for business purposes. Taken together, half of all of the 2,118 executives surveyed use search engines to check out business contacts.
The other WSJ story makes sense in this perspective, because it describes how many expectant parents are choosing the names of their unborn babies based in part on the name’s lack of competition in search engine results. As the title of this article suggests, You’re Nobody Unless Your Name Googles Well.
As a side note, I was humbled at what a flash-in-the-pan my first name has been when you see its popularity charted over the decades. Check out this fun iVillage Baby Name Wizard to see how your name has held up over time.