Commentary

Rebranding Myself

This past Saturday, I married the love of my life.  Our ceremony was simple; the reception, elegant, intimate and unforgettable.  There are some traditions I find essential, while others I had no intention of upholding.  For instance, I wore a beautiful white gown, but no veil -- and a close friend got ordained and performed our ceremony under a gazebo in a waterfront park, not a minister in church.  

Now begins the process of changing my last name; but, contrary to what most people go through with the legalese of adopting their spouse's surname, I am now tasked with rebranding myself in order to uphold this tradition that I find important in symbolizing the union of a family.

I honestly had not thought much about my name change until a couple of weeks before the wedding.  I mentioned to some coworkers that our HR Director had already ordered a new name plate for me, which was met by exclamations like, "You can't change your name!" and "But everyone knows you as Janel Landis."

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So let me put all modesty aside and reference my own vanity searching, which means googling yourself.  Because I have written some pieces that have sparked heated debates, I feel googling myself every so often is important to my own reputation management. 

I especially like the ability to "Show Options," which allows me to view recent results and slice and dice my own SERP.  However, the most fun part is my "Wonder Wheel."  I love the Wonder Wheel.  It changes so much and I visit it with such anticipation to see who/what I am connected to at the time.  Most often, I get janel landis, janel landis engaged and the names of other Search InsidersIt is entertaining that I am so often connected to other Insiders, and a little creepy that janel landis engaged has been showing since about two days after I got engaged.  Oddly enough, the  results on that query yield articles I have written about user engagement. 

Well, that should be enough background for everyone.  Now, why am I writing about this?  I would like to engage readers for a little feedback on rebranding myself.  I don't want to lose the online reputation I have built by changing my last name, and I'm just not the hyphenating type.  I plan on having a family and my children's teachers being able to address Child Laravie's parents as Mr. and Mrs. Laravie.  Plus, Laravie is a cool name and not very common, so I think I can easily optimize Janel Laravie (not that I had any competition on Janel Landis). 

Thank you, MediaPost, for updating name, title and company to all historical pieces when I edit my bio.  If only every publication were as easy!  The Search Insider reader audience should accept the "Janel Landis is now Janel Laravie" change fairly naturally, but my ultimate goal is that Google will suggest to users searching for Janel Landis, Did you mean Janel Laravie?  If anyone can suggest how to make that happen, it would be greatly appreciated! 

If you found this post too self-centered, please understand that I am so elated to be married.  Anytime I  can connect search to my everyday life, I hope readers can relate!  Thanks for reading.  Now, back to my honeymoon!   

13 comments about "Rebranding Myself".
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  1. Marquita Arnold from -, November 13, 2009 at 12:20 p.m.

    Congrats, Janel! This means you have to change your Twitter username as well. :)

  2. Alan Hamor from adworthy inc, November 13, 2009 at 1:11 p.m.

    Congratulations - best wishes for many happy years in front of you two. (Neat article, too! :) )

  3. Gowri Shakthi from ComScore Inc, November 13, 2009 at 2:51 p.m.

    Congratulations Janel. Though I have no insightful ideas on how to go about getting Google to do that, do have one suggestion though. For some time you can sign off on all you work with both your names and an equal to sign between them :) Then maybe over time the search engine's algorithm will pick up on that and then show your articles/connection info when a person types in your maiden name...All the best with it though. Its a mighty uphill task and the one reason why I have not resorted to changing my last name to reflect my husband's though I would dearly love to

  4. Nancy Shaver from experian, November 13, 2009 at 3:21 p.m.

    I really had to chuckle at this one. I had the re-branding challenge myself--after a divorce... I used both names for a while-- and then dropped my ex's. I would be most thoughtful about changing your name professionally. Think of your current name as a stage name--and hold on to it. You never know when you might need it.

  5. Beth Bianculli from New York Law Journal/ ALM, November 13, 2009 at 3:39 p.m.

    Congratulations on the wedding. Perhaps it might be easier to add the new last name, instead of simply erasing the "old." You're still you, but now with an awesome addition.

  6. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, November 13, 2009 at 3:45 p.m.

    If you are under 26, keep your last name until there are children involved. Over 26, change is good especially with such a cool last name. Mazel Tov!

  7. Rebecca Anderson from JCPenney, November 13, 2009 at 4 p.m.

    I went through this a little over a year ago as well. I recommend that anyone who wants to take their husband's last name should make their maiden name their new middle name (unless your existing middle name is too meaningful to drop). This was the best thing I could have done. Professionally, I go by First Maiden Last and the nice thing is that when I occasionally receive paperwork or financial documents with my old name on them, no one hassles me because I have retained that name on my driver's license, as my middle name.

  8. Jamie Leroy from TMP Directional Marketing/15miles, November 13, 2009 at 4:18 p.m.

    I feel your pain...sort of. I also just got married but because my maiden name (first and last) are extremely un-original, where people couldn't find my work anyways, changing my name has now enabled me to have less anonymity.

  9. Aaron Goldman from 4C, November 13, 2009 at 5:08 p.m.

    Janel - congrats on the wedding! Very happy for you.

    So you're trying to reach people who search for "Janel Landis" and tell them that you're now Janel Laravie, aye? Why not do what you'd tell your clients to do? Buy some PPC! :)

  10. Katherine Mckenna from Findit LLC, November 13, 2009 at 5:55 p.m.

    STOP & HOLD onto your brand, do not rush with the name change. I too was in your shoes. I rebranded and went back after a 2 years of chaos.....for business I returned to my maiden name and all else personal is my married name with maiden as middle. (I just noticed that I missed this account and need to change back) I wish I had kept everything as is for businesses and change everything else for love, I learned and it was a lot of work to undo everything....Life is so much easier now that my business contacts answer my calls and respond to emails. I had a senior exec once lecture me on protocol via email... when I showed up in his office he was apologetic...thought my new name meant newbie....he must of missed the announcement not sure how ;o)....who needs the confusion..names do resonate and it is difficult for every business contact to change a persons name. It is very easy now to keep business and personal separate and when they overlap both always understand. I am who I am and my first name is still my brand. (I do have a business twitter and a personal twitter so you could say I am now 2 brands and it works much better) Good luck!

  11. Susan Von Seggern from SvS PR, November 16, 2009 at 2 p.m.

    I switched from Susan Mainzer to Susan von Seggern last summer and while it's been a bit difficult but ultimately I find the vibe of my new last name to be a big brand enhancement!

    I put the word out on my networking groups and to my personal email list (of around 500 people). Facebook will find you under your maiden name and on LinkedIn I did keep my old name in my profile. On my splash page (perhaps soon it will be a blog) you can fine me when searching for my maiden name.

    For awhile I got "who" but now when I say to business contacts "Susan von Seggern, formerly Mainzer," most people say "I know!"

  12. Tara Cervantes from FullSail, November 17, 2009 at 10:01 a.m.

    Isn't this when you can use 301 redirects for past articles, and maybe write new articles with your maiden name & new married name in the file name and title? If you coupled that with PPC as was suggested, wouldn't it start the ball rolling at least? I agree with the others that keeping business name on LinkedIn, etc makes for less confusion. Congratulations and good luck. The people who know you will always be able to find you, especially if you leave some breadcrumbs around.

  13. Janel Landis laravie from Chacka Marketing, November 17, 2009 at 5:25 p.m.

    Thank you for all of the terrific feedback and best wishes!

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