Maybe you have read that changing your maiden name will dilute your personal brand. Or that taking another name will lower your salary. That might be so if you do not work with your brand in a focused way. However, a little bit of work can strenghten your brand.
This summer I got married to my wonderful wife, Zuleyma, and for me, marriage has had nothing but positive effects on my brand.
A stable family situation
With marriage, one is looked upon as being more settled and stable in life, having more responsibility at home and less tendency to change jobs often. Studies in Sweden shows that couples that are married have a higher income than unmarried couples in the same age group.
I have seen this when dealing with clients as well. They seem to feel more comfortable ever since I got married.
To have your spouse’s competence spill over on your brand takes place even when you are just a couple, but when your last name is the same and people see you as a more united entity, this effect will be even greater. Don’t be afraid of using this to your advantage, it could even be included in your resume or the cover letter to emphasis your strengths, ex. “I have a great passion for marketing and trademark strategies, which always is a topic for discussion with my wife who is a lawyer specializing in trademark and intellectual property law…”
If it is a match for the position you are looking for, don’t be afraid to spice up your own skills with the competence of your spouse.
So what about the last name?
At least here in Sweden you are allowed to keep your own last name when getting married, however a name change is not always for the worse. In Latin American countries the bride will keep both the father’s name as well as the spouse’s name (eg. Zuleyma Montenegro de Rynge), which in my opinion is a great way for keeping your brand and adding additional value to it.
If that is not a possibility, you will probably run into problems with vanity URLs and Search Engine Optimization and people not knowing who you are anymore. You still have your connections that is easy to inform of the change, it might take some time for them to associate you with the new name, so make sure that you can still be found while searching for your maiden name. If you are in control of the search results for your name, this normally is not a huge problem, and might even be a possibiltiy for you to create an even stronger brand since the new combination doesn’t have any history.
Well, marriage is one thing, but if you do not live happily ever after, that might dilute your brand. But that’s another blog post.
Ola Rynge is an entrepreneur with a passion for the personal development side of personal branding (covered in this blog) as well as the application of personal branding and social media for entrepreneurs and small businesses (covered in The Rynge Blog).
His company, The Rynge Group specializes in strategy consulting within social media and market oriented small business and idea development.