Branding & Modeling Pt II: Where Do You Start?
One of the many famous quotes from Shakespeares's play, "Romeo & Juliet" is not only beautifully poetic, it also relates to the subject of this second installment in my mini blog series about branding as it relates to modeling.
When trying to figure out where to start, deciding what name you'll use for your modeling career is a great jumping off point. The name you choose as a model to brand yourself with is important but not to the point where you should over analyze.
Each person will have his/her own reasons for the name they choose to brand themselves with. In my case, I use "Dania Denise." "Denise" is my middle name. I own and operate several businesses that are unrelated to the entertainment field and don't want to "cross-brand" or overlap so I use my legal last name for those businesses and my middle name in association with my modeling, acting, pageantry and so on.
Some models want to keep their real name completely anonymous when it comes to their modeling career and will choose a totally made up name or something similar to their legal name.
Others get a bit more "theatrical" with their names by using some kind of title (i.e. Queen Jasmine or Model Jasmine--I totally made that up for the purpose of having an example, btw) or they try to have the supermodel effect by just using one name.
Modeling agencies have even been known to change a model's name that they've signed to the roster to make it more appealing to potential clients and for marketing purposes. So the concept of coming up with a name for a model to use isn't uncommon.
There really isn't a magical formula for what your branded name should be. If you want to just keep it as your legal first and last name, go for it. If you want to be more unique and create a name/persona for your branding, have at it.
The main thing to keep in mind is that whatever name you go with, you better love it because it will tie directly into your brand as a model. One of the biggest things that makes branding work effectively is consistency. Even the biggest company brands had trouble when the decision was made to change their name. Remember Kinko's? It became FedEx Office years ago but I can't tell you how many times I--and many others--still say, "I need to go to Kinko's."
That doesn't mean you have to live with your model name forever and can't change it because you can but it will save you a lot of grief in the long run if you at least choose a name that you know you'll stick with for a while.
Having a catchy or memorable model name to brand yourself with is helpful but doesn't always mean it will guarantee you success in your career. Make sure it speaks to who you are and what you want to represent as a model, that it is memorable and can be easily applied to your website, social media profiles, comp cards, business cards, etc. And remember to use it consistently across the board in all your projects, marketing materials and when promoting yourself.
Don't forget to do your due diligence and find out if anyone else is using the name you want. If so, the easier path would be to choose something else or a different variation of that name. If the person who already has your top pick is already established and/or has been using it for a while, it really won't do much good to share the name. Even if the person isn't a model, the last thing you want is for people to get pointed to the wrong person. Confusion can lead to disinterest and a potential loss for an opportunity or networking connection.
Once you've got your model name set, you can quickly start applying it, which is the best part so get those creative juices flowing and see what name (if you aren't going to use your legal name) would be the best fit.