Common Name Personal Branding

by Brian Farrell January 9th, 2013 

common name brand sign

If you search my name on Google, you'll find a lot of "me". Brian Farrell is a CEO, an Attorney, an Artist, a Coroner and a Professor. And then there's me, and many others. With 7 billion people and counting, even less-common names may be shared with dozens of people around the globe.

So how do you set yourself apart online from those with names exactly, or similar to yours?

First, buy your name as a domain name. Since was already registered, I picked up the .me extension. Or you could brand yourself with your first-middle-last name dot com, which is more likely to be available.

Next, set up a profile on Twitter. Again, if your desired handle is taken, consider using your full name, or first initials, etc.

Then customize your LinkedIn profile URL rather than use the random string of numbers they assign you. There are even free services, such as, that will help you identify and register handles on more than 150 social networks.

If you find the obvious and not-so-obvious domain names have been registered, you'll need a Plan B. For example, if you're a professional, you could add your profession to your name, such as and find it likely available. Or if you're know regionally, you could add your location or city at the end.

Finally, figure out which URL or profile you're going to use to market yourself. You don't need a website for every URL -- you could just as easily redirect to your LinkedIn profile or set up a personal branding hub on

Now, whenever you participate in a discussion, comment on a blog or do anything else within social media, you'll have a vanity URL that visitors can go to find out more.

By taking these steps, you help potential connections, clients and prospects find you easily, rather than sending them to someone else who just happens to share your name.

If you liked this post, you might also enjoy 6 Personal Branding Hacks: A Cheat Sheet for People with Common Names

Brian Farrell

Brian Farrell is sales leader, author and social seller. He's also the founder of FIND the CLIENT - a sales consulting organization providing interim sales leadership as well as training, recruitment & sales coaching for B2B sales organizations.


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2 Responses to “Common Name Personal Branding”

  1. Adam Wagner says:

    Nice post. I have a fairly common name and have run into issues in the past about securing the ideal variations of my name for usernames and URLs.

    One thing that has worked for me is being an early adopter and signing up for new services as early as possible. Then, the basic variations of my name are more likely to be available.