Brand Name Recognition | Mike Deitsch
In the Celebrity World of Branding, name recognition is everything. When people instantly recognize your name you know you have arrived. Positive Branding insures that when people see or hear your name, it triggers the right images. For example, nearly everyone knows OJ Simpson. Because he was such a great football player we all knew him as OJ. Now, that name brand is ruined and brings up mostly negative images and reaction based on his personal life.
Today, let's concentrate on brand name recognition and how it can impact a career. For example Meg Ryan's birth name was Margaret Mary Emily Anne Hyra. Here is another classic: Whoppi Goldberg was really born as Caryn Elaine Johnson. To see more just google "Real Celebrity Names and you will get tons of results. We will cover how to brand a name properly in another blog post.
I have no idea how or who came up with the names we now know. Somewhere along the way, the person figured out they needed to change their name for easier name recognition. Perhaps a manager or publicist said to become famous you need to change your name. With the last name Deitsch no one can even pronounce it. So when I got into broadcasting, I decided to use my middle name Edward as my last name.
I worked for years as Mike Edwards. Later on I was hired to work for a new station owner who did not like that name. He opened the phone book and just picked a name. He said you are now Mike Mallory. So the first day on the Air, I was now using the name my new boss picked out for me. After leaving my radio and television career behind to work for Procter and Gamble I went back to using my birth name. It no longer made a difference what name I used.
To become famous, name changing is very common. The idea is to pick a catchy name so people will remember it. Shorter is better. Once you become famous it is not unusual to stylize your name. For example Elvis Presley became Elvis. Jennifer Lopez became JLo. Beyonce Knowles became just Beyonce. Madonna was born Madonna Louise Ciccone. She just used her first name Madonna and the rest is history. Usually when name recognition is so strong that people know you as Elvis, Jlo or Madonna, that is a sure sign you have become famous as a super star.
If you are just starting out in show business I do not recommend you skip over the evolution process and pick a one word name. Try to find a memorable name and let the industry and fans establish the one word name recognition after you hit the big time. You do not want to be Bob Johnson or Igor Klutz. So the name matters. The name has to be a little unusual and have a nice ring to it. Take time to pick your name wisely. That will not make you famous by itself, but it will work for you when you do arrive on the Red Carpet. Name recognition is vitally important for those that want to become a true celebrity.
If you are in a group or band, the name recognition begins with the name of the group. As the group becomes famous, people may remember the name of the lead singer such as Frankie Valli of the Four Seasons. Only the most loyal fans will know the names of everyone in the group. If you saw the movie or Broadway show "Jersey Boys" you know the Four Seasons were first "The Four Lovers" and where told by a record company to pick a new name. They waked outside the studio and saw a motel sign called the Four Seasons. That is how they found their new name. Now everyone knows Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. That took time.
When I joined Howansky, LLC the first thing I said was we need to change the name. The problem was that our Founder, Angel Howansky, was already well known and established as a Hollywood Publicist. The stars know Angel by her real name. So, she already had name recognition. It was too late to start over. That happens, but is rare.
Picking the best name is the first step in branding. Take time and find a first and last name that is short and memorable. After that branding takes over to build long term name recognition. We'll cover how branding enhances name recognition in our next blog post.