Marketing, Others

Obama Bin Laden

[![Wheres Obama (source: The Next Web)]( "Wheres Obama | The Next Web")](
Where's Obama (source: The Next Web)
Branding yourself as an individual is not an easy thing, the main reason being the fact that you don’t have a choice when it comes to choosing your name. Your parents and their ancestral line are the main influencers on your name and there isn’t much you can do about. While this might not have a huge effect on you if you are not a well known individual or a public figure, it can have significant impact if you have already built your brand only to find it somehow diminished by factors that are outside your control.

The other day I was reading in The Next Web about Barack Obama’s “luck” in this respect. How cruel can life be to allow two branding symbols representing opposite values and ideals be named so strikingly similar. And how cruel can the “human error” be to make the mistakes that CNN and Yahoo (two of the most popular media channels in the world) made by mixing the name of the current US President, Barack Obama, with the name of the most sought after terrorist, Osama Bin Laden.

Well, I guess that for us individuals this is a lesson about resignation, since we do not control one of the most important elements of our personal brand. For companies though, this should be a lesson about awareness and care for when they want to create, name or translate a brand, especially when they go to foreign markets.

To end this in a more positive way, I’ll tell you a Romanian joke about personal branding:

One day, an individual goes to the court with an appeal to change his name. The judge receives the appeal and interviews the individual.

Judge: Why do you want to change your name?

Plaintiff: I have a very ugly name, Your Honor, and I really need to change it.

Judge: How ugly can your name be to require a change?

Plaintiff: Well, my name is John Shithead.

Judge: Uhm… indeed, that’s quite an unfortunate name. I understand now, how would you like your new name to sound like?

Plaintiff: George Shithead.

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