With the explosion of social media, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook, I decided to start using my given name for personal branding. My name is my brand. Since it is already taken on just about every web site, I had to come up with a suffix or some way to differienate my name form all the other Mike Campbells of the world.
I started using MikeCampbellCPA because that is what is on my business card, Mike Campbell, CPA. It didn't take long to realize that CPA is a brand in and of itself. The AICPA and state CPA societies have done a phenomenal job of promoting and protecting the CPA brand. Although it is a well-respected and trusted brand, it is too often associated with public accounting. That's not a bad thing, but it is not my brand.
Then I started using the next title on my business card, CFO. Chief Financial Officer, or CFO, also carries a certain brand. This brand is a little more elusive based on individual experiences with CFOs. It coiled be bad from reading about Enro or conjure up images of Scrooge or Potter. Although they weren't CFOs, they were 'finance guys' and influence what a lot of people think about finance guys. Not only can I not control how people view the CFO brand, I don't want to be a CFO forever. I may want to become a COO, CEO, or even start my own business. Even if I stay in the finance role, my title may change to VP of Finance or other.
CFO arbitrarily narrows my brand. Being the CFO of a small business, I have taken on many roles in the Firm. I am the IT director and chief compliance officer. I founded and developed the human resources department. I grew it to the point of being self-sufficient and answering directly to the CEO. At one time I even did some marketing during a few week hiatus between marketing directors. Furthermore, my online brand is also includes being a husband, father, runner, blogger, and avid reader.
Now I have the dilemma of having four brands out here in cyberspace: remnants of LouisvilleSoup, MikeCampbellCPA, MikeCampbellCFO, and (rarely) MikeCampbell. I own and have been using the URL
MikeCampbellCFO.com, but recently purchased MikeCampbell.biz. Then I played around with forwarding and realized that it doesn't matter what username I'm able to obtain for these web sites because I can just create a forward and use MikeCampbell.biz for my brand. For example, there are a few forwards I setup:
This looks so much cleaner on a business card or on email signature than the full URL; and it promotes my brand. Plus it enables me to broaden my brand beyond CPA or CFO. My online goals are still primarily business related, so I am okay with dot biz. Plus, my blog's mission is to share thoughts and ideas about small business growth and leadership. I think I have finally settled on an online brand name I can use for a while.