What’s in a name? When it comes to personal branding, heaps! A name can be shorthand for what makes your brand compelling, differentiated and relevant. It can also make you memorable.
Here our guest blogger this month, Cheryl Laidlaw, aka London Web Girl, talks about her journey in creating a brand name that quite simply got results.
“I help small to medium business owners build, grow and scale their business online through; branding, website design, social media services and personal branding. My primary focus is to create a business presence to be proud of, increases brand awareness that also brings you business.”
All that sounds great but trying to come up with a brand yourself can be challenging.
When I first started my business back in 2010, I came up with the Name, Reyl Design Group (a play on my first name, Cheryl). It was great for many years but business increased a lot more in 2017 when I changed my social media handles to ‘London Web Girl’. I chose this name quite simply because It was simple but potentially effective for SEO and people would instantly know what I did and where, in a nutshell. This was a bold move and I knew if I did it, I would have to own it. I wanted to stand out as an expert in my field and this was one of the options that I researched, which worked for others like @LogoGeek – Ian Paget, @Codergirl_ – Laura Madalia . My feeling at the time was, if I don’t, someone else will, so I went for it.
At first London Web Girl was just a social media handle, it was a name to make myself more memorable and give people an idea of what I do in a glance. Over time people didn’t call me by my first name, I was now known as London Web Girl and my following online went up massively over the months and years. I use a photo system/routine where I showcase work I’m designing and post a photo of myself every other post usually giving tips on tech or design or a general behind the scenes update. I also post to stories daily so I’m always showing up and being consistent. All of my photos are mostly taken on the iPhone and are filtered using the same filter.
I found that the name helped when growing my following as it had gravitas. After a while, it was clear that London Web Girl had grown into a personal brand without much effort at all. I created a logo and website and before you knew it Reyl Design Group was fading away in the background. Although I still did the same thing (produce web design and branding), I found my reach was bigger using London Web Girl so it suited me to bring this brand into the forefront. My other brand is ‘Website In A Day’. This also gets a lot of attention, both brands go hand in hand as they are both memorable, simple, reflects nature of my business and impressionable. This is exactly what I tell my clients when they first start out, if only they came to me before they chose their name.
Since changing my name, I’ve had great PR opportunities and I’m often called for my opinion on website and branding industry questions for whatsaytheexperts.com, wearetechwomen.com, leagueofher.com and womenofthefuture.co.uk. I’ve entered awards and been short listed 4 times and highly commended. I’ve also been asked to speak at events and interviewed on podcasts and radio. I’m sure that my name and brand has had a lot to do with the success of those.
As a result I’ve been copied a good few times with ‘Website in a Day.’ The concept is great and I can’t stop people from duplicating the process but the name gets used a lot to. I’m often sent screen shots by my friends and colleagues of other agencies doing exactly what I’m doing and using the same name too. Although this is frustrating, it’s also flattering. I have just had my trademark accepted now so I’m protected for copycats in the future.
I would highly recommend talking to an expert when creating your brand, many people discuss their new business name with friends, family and colleagues but this needs to be discussed with an expert who can get you off on the right foot and that starts with the name!If you have any questions about personal branding or want to come and say hi, you can find me at @LondonWebGirl.
You can also find out more about Cheryl’s businesses on her websites: