Like many public relations professionals I have a series of Google Alerts that help me know who’s saying what about my company or me. It’s an excellent way to stay abreast of what’s being said about different issues. Yesterday’s alerts that came in for “The Barber Group” not only caught my eye, they nearly made me fall out of my chair:

Google Alert

Needless to say, I knew it wasn’t about me, or my company. But I did have some questions:

  • Could potential clients think it was me? Do I need to scream from the rooftops “It’s not me!”
  • Should I share it with clients so they know it’s not me?
  • If someone Googles my company name, will this show up on top of the search results?
  • Do I need to change my company name?
  • Will it affect my credit rating?
  • Could there be identity theft issues?

Matt Obee via Flickr, CC 2.0In taking a little time to assess the situation, I decided not to make any drastic changes for a variety of reasons. When I chose my company name, I knew there were other organizations with the same name. After all, Barber isn’t exactly an uncommon name. I’ve been using The Barber Group as my company name for nearly 13 years. It will take more than a guy from northwest Arkansas who had a company of the same name that stopped being in business six years ago to cause me to lose the brand equity I have on my own name. As a solo consultant, most groups are looking to hire me by looking for my name, or they have a qualifier with the company name such as public relations. Finally, most of my clients come from referrals from another client or professional.

But, when you’re thinking about things like a company name, it’s likely a good idea to consider how you make it something a bit more unique. At the same time, it’s also important the name you choose is not so complicated your customer won’t remember what it is.

If you need to set up Google Alerts, it’s not hard. Just head to http://www.google.com/alerts and enter the information requested. Remember to use quotation marks if you have multiple words in a search. You may need to adjust search criteria as well if you’re not getting what you thought you might receive. As an example, the alerts I have for my company and me:

  • Mdbarber – my preferred social network handle
  • “Mary Deming Barber” – my professional name
  • “Mary Barber” – the name I also use. Note this alert results in a lot of information not pertinent to me because my name is common. However, it takes only seconds to scan the email for information I need.
  • “The Barber Group” – my company name

I hope my followers are okay with the fact I’m not on my way to Riker’s Island! I’m happy to stay put right here, fulfilling the mission of The Barber Group by continuing to help clients with strategic public relations efforts.

 

Image: Matt Obee via Flickr, CC 2.0