76 thoughts on “How We Can Learn the Power of a Name from Ashton Kutcher

  1. I’m still working on the branding part as an author… guess it’s a good thing my novel is still in revisions. I often wonder about using my full last name. Walker-Bickett is such a mouthful, so I went with JeriWB for all of my social media accounts. Somedays I wish I would have just gone with Jeri Walker for my pen name. I’m not going to sweat it too much though 😉 I came across someone on a blog today who is writing under FIVE different pen names. Then another author who uses one name for romance and another for thrillers. I think readers can adjust if a writer produces a lot of various genres. Johnny Depp comes to mind as an example of a successful name that is also a brand, though recently it seems like his choice to play oddball characters time and again may not be going as well for him lately.
    Jeri recently posted…Free Kindle Books: The Great PurgeMy Profile

  2. A memorable name does get you a head start – or maybe just make you more memorable. Not sure that revealing he is Chris will harm him in the long run. I mean most of us know Elton is really Reginald Dwight.

    By the way, Riley’s not my real name either. 😉

  3. I like the point that Seth Godin makes (and that you describe at the end.) I think of it like how words have definitions we can read in a dictionary, and separate meanings that we understand (connotations.) Those meanings determine and are determined by how the words are used. The name of a company identifies it as an individual thing, and the company’s brand and reception define it as part of society/culture.

    And even though we know plenty of Chris’s, I think Chris Kutcher would be a pretty memorable name XD
    nick powers recently posted…humpday update: awa odori, awa dance festivalMy Profile

  4. This is exactly why I go by Madge. My real name is Margaret. Not many women in this era are named Madge and it’s catchy and kitschy. I think it’s helped to catch people’s attention, they often ask me about it.

  5. I think I got all messed up in the beginning worrying about the brand Arleen. Like Ashton said in his speech, I live in this world that everyone else created and was just doing what everyone around me recommended.

    I decided that my name would be my brand so that when people hear it they’ll think of some of the things he mentioned as well. Genuine and smart but of course I hope helpful, kind and trusting also come to mind.

    To be honest with you I’m just not much of a shopper. Yeah I know, I’m just strange that way. So the big name brands stick in my mind that I’ve heard over and over again like Coke, Microsoft, Google, etc. When I hear those names I think of their products first and whether or not I’ve had a good experience with them. If I’ve had a bad one trust me, that comes to mind first. I hope that’s how people will remember me as well once I get my product out. As having a good one that’s extremely helpful but at the same time I’ve got your back.

    Adrienne recently posted…Your Content Is Your Ad [Infographic]My Profile

    • Your name is your brand, but as I told you in one of your posts, your face is part of your brand. To me that is your logo. All the things that you mentioned about yourself I can see without ever meeting you face to face.

      I am not a shopper either but I do have a tendency to buy a name brand. It is called trust and definitely Adrienne Smith shows trust.
      Arleen recently posted…How We Can Learn the Power of a Name from Ashton KutcherMy Profile

  6. After realizing how passionate I was about the sales craft I knew that I wanted to write related books, conduct seminars, and motivate professionally but that at the end of the day the brand would be key. The catchy name or title wasn’t enough but also the marketing strategy to connect with the people. It’s a tricky business and when I saw Ashton’s speech, I thought about the great lesson that it really holds for everyone in or out of Hollyweird. Great post.

  7. When I started out blogging I had no clue nor interest in branding. When I realized what it was and why I needed it I began to use the Geek Girl moniker. It has stuck. People know me by Geek Girl rather than Cheryl Therrien. It was not an attempt to hide behind something, like using a pen name. It just fit me as a person.
    Geek Girl recently posted…Community CenterMy Profile

  8. I am not normally one who watches award shows but the Teen Choice Awards found its way to my TV. I saw Ashton Kutchers acceptance speech and actually thought it was extremely well said. I watched most of the awards but can not remember any of the other speeches but I remember his. I hope I can create a brand that is that memorable.
    Elizabeth Scott recently posted…User-Friendly Invoice SoftwareMy Profile

  9. I can’t think of a single successful product that doesn’t have a strong brand, unless you have the benefit of being a monopoly, your success is absolutely tied to your brand. You can survive a communications crisis if you have a good brand. You will struggle if your brand is neutral, but if you have a bad brand and a crisis hits, you can be toast for a long, long time. It’s part of what makes the personal branding we see today so interesting. Personal brands may not have the same resilience/reaction as organizational ones. If we have a brand crisis and our brand is our name (Paula Deen) then it makes it challenging to come back, not impossible (Martha Stewart), just challenging. It makes you wonder if you should use your name as your brand and if you do, you should be very, very protective of it. Great discussion Arleen.
    Debra Yearwood recently posted…Finding Common GroundMy Profile

    • For me personally I would rather go with a brand name that is easy to relate to than using my name. I am not a Hollywood star that can have a name that it is tied into an acting ability, sexuality or looks. With that said I only wished I had selected a different name for my company but I have been in business for too many years to change that now.
      Arleen recently posted…How We Can Learn the Power of a Name from Ashton KutcherMy Profile

  10. Agree completely that the name of a business and how it brands itself is crucial. Mistakes will mean less customers.

    We all know that movies stars change their names in order to succeed. Norma Jean, remember, was born 1926.

    What I’m a bit tired of is all these people changing their names because of low self esteem. How many girls have for instance changed their names to Angelina?

    In Sweden if they have a common sirname, such as Andersson and Johansson, they frequently change them to the strangest kinds of names that are almost impossible to pronounce. It makes perfect sense for an artist, actor and people in similar professions to do so. Angelina would be bad choice for them though:-) But that normal people feel they have to change their names in order to get presitige, is sad. Wouldn’t it be better if they worked on improving their self esteem?
    Catarina recently posted…Is evil a fashionable and convenient label?My Profile

  11. I was reading the comments and realized that I knew most of them by their gravatar faces and names. i’ve seen their faces and names enough that I remeber them. So maybe comenting is another way of gettng recognized? I hadn’t thought of that. But I also relized I’ve read most of your blogs. So you’ve all become memorable to me.
    Sandra Sallin recently posted…MIRROR, MIRRORMy Profile

  12. Just watched Ashton “Chris” Kutcher’s speech and he makes several good points. It almost sounds like regrets changing his name! People have trouble spelling my name, with all the consonants, but I found that for SEO, it’s important to have a presence. Otherwise, how are people going to find you? However, drivelikeagirl.ca is much more memorable. So I introduce myself as both – although people invariably remember drivelikeagirl.ca before they do my convoluted Polski name. Even so, the effort to get it right, I think, also makes it memorable. Thank goodness I’m not an actor!
    Krystyna Lagowski recently posted…Tackling Toronto’s terrain in my SubyMy Profile

  13. Yes Arleen you are totally right, fame depends on the name on the screens, and also in Ashton’s speech he tells unbelievable points which are at utmost surprising.If your name is not easily spoken or memorable, it will not last in mind of the folks..!

  14. A most enjoyable post Arleen!

    When I watched Ashton’s video I love the way he described “sexy” because intelligence and giving are the sexiest part of a human being. Glad he gave that message out especially to young people.

    As a brand, I used my own name. Now I’m not a hot gal in a bikini lol, I’m me! All I can do is give it my best all the time and never give up. As Ashton explains at the end of the video what he learned from Steve Jobs rang true to my heart. He gave the message that all those successful people are no smarter than we are.

    As long as we give give give and have genuine empathy to our clients/customers, and include the ingredient of never stop learning, we will do OK!

    Donna Merrill recently posted…Summertime Psychic FunMy Profile

  15. I hadn’t seen the video before Arleen. One thing about branding is it takes time to establish it and one thing I have learned is you need to be careful that the positioning is still relevant etc to customers. During my marketing career I repositioned many well known brands so what we can perceive can be different to what our customers perceive and it can change over time.
    Susan Oakes recently posted…How To Make Informed Decisions To Attract CustomersMy Profile

  16. I can understand this parallel between a name and who/what it represents. I have been called so many names in my life–I was born Mary which became Katie which became Kate which became MK which is also Mary in formal settings–and I feel like each name corresponds to a different person. I’m not saying I have some split personality disorder or anything like that, but I think who you are really does tie into what you are called or what your company is called.

  17. Hi Arleen, excellent information. Yes it’s true there are many things about you as a person that your brand should represent but only if they are positive. I believe that your brand should evolve and change as you and your business dose while keeping those basic positive ideals that it stands for as well as the uniqueness that sets you apart. I believe that customers and clients really do want to be connected to that type of brand,one that stands for something worthwhile. ;-).
    Tony recently posted…Attraction Marketing A Powerful Marketing Strategy That Boosts Your BusinessMy Profile

  18. Arleen — this video has gotten a lot of views. What impressed me and a client who is a media trainer is how he organized and delivered his talk. He told you that he was going to make three points, and he did. He included a “grabber” — that you have to be sexy, but then he explained he meant that you need to be smart. He summarized his points and he used effective gestures. It was a masterful performance and he came across as being very authentic.
    Jeannette Paladino recently posted…Is This a New Trend – the Public Firing of Employees?My Profile

  19. Thanks for a thought-provoking post, Arleen – I really enjoyed the video. I do think strong branding’s important – you only have to think of the big names like Coke, Apple and Microsoft to know that. I guess the downside is when a brand goes through a rough patch, in which case the brand can become toxic – like BP after the big oil spill.

    I’m pretty happy with the name of my blog, which I think is quite catchy and memorable, but it’s not a big deal for me at the moment, because I’m just starting out. I’m planning to write some fiction books for Kindle, though, and I’ve been wondering whether to use my own name for that or a pseudonym – and, if I do use my own name, whether to use initials rather than my full first name. I get the impression some female authors do that to conceal their sex, on the assumption that some people may be less likely to purchase a book written by a woman – though I don’t know if there’s any truth in that. And if there is, maybe female writers should be more willing to stand up and be counted. I’m not sure – got to give all of that a lot more thought.

    Ultimately, your brand will be defined more by the quality of your product rather than your logo. You can have the sexiest name in town, but if your product or service is rubbish, it’s not going to do you much good 😉

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  20. Hi Arleen

    Great post, I love this topic.

    Right now my name is my brand. My husband and I also have a finance type business and that has it’s own name.

    We have had several businesses over the years and most have represented what we did. For example our financial planning business was Personal Financial Planners. The difficulty that can arise with choosing a name like this is when you want to expand your services. In this example we were expanding into corporate as well as personal planning.

    I have had many debates with people over time on which is the best way.

    I love the video and like Donna I love how he defined sexy.

    Thanks Arleen

    Sue Price recently posted…A Perfect StormMy Profile

  21. Hmm nice write up.

    Personally, I don’t really have a thing for choosing the right name (branding) BUT I am fully aware that a good name could go a long way. Take examples such as Mashable, SteemFeed etc. Short but memorable.

    I brand my website as my own name, Reginald Chan. It is nothing great and honestly speaking, how many people would actually type in Reginald Chan on Google search right?

    However, I believe brands are created not overnight. Nurture it slowly and it will grow. Of course, assuming that you are doing it the right way.

    Just my 2 cents 🙂
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  22. I accepted your invitation to visit your blog from our recent connection on Linked In, good move!

    As a very infrequent movie watcher or celebrity follower and a baby boomer, I only had a very vague idea who Ashton Kutcher was, now I have a better idea thanks to your post.

    Branding is important to me and inspires loyalty to a particular brand, only if I or someone I know well has had a favourable experience with the brand.

    I have a illogical dislike of some brands because I spent most of my life in countries that were subject to sanctions and boycotts by some American (and other Western) suppliers. That’s why I will never buy an Apple product no matter how good it might be.

    With a name as common as mine, I differentiate myself by being an Alchemist and a contrarian thinker.

    Thanks for the invitation to visit, I am glad I did and will be back.
    Peter Wright recently posted…A morning walk tells me the year is sliding away.My Profile

  23. Hi Arleen,

    This is a thought provoking post! For a long time, I thought that my name is my brand. I now believe that a a solid branding strategy is very important. We live in such an information overloaded age that consistency in logo design, marketing message, tagline, etc can help to give ourselves the unique personality.

    I love Virgin’s branding. Ideas of fun and innovation associate my thought with this brand. It is a fine example of a successful branding.

    Thanks, Arleen, for this very useful post!

    Viola Tam – The Business Mum
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  24. This is an interesting article and really no surprise since the majority of actors have pseudonyms to make them more memorable and interesting. Since a website address is the brand of an online presence I had to think long and hard about something that would be short and sweet and still reflect something that I believe in and would be sharing about without being dogmatic – thus earthformed.com was born. From there 5 websites have sprouted so that I can more easily separate all the topics I write about on a regular basis. As time went on blog.earthformed.com \”We Are Earthformed\” became the flagship of the bunch. For all my social media accounts @earthformed is my username in the interest of consistency.
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  25. For someone who seems so immature, Ashton really is a smart cookie (or has some brilliant advisers and speech writers). He must be pretty switched on to get to this level though.
    I am working on the branding side of things, however there really is a lot to understand. I love the way you make it easier to grasp by giving examples that I can relate to 🙂
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