Yes, I changed my brand name for the 5th time.

August 20, 2019

Yes, I changed my brand name for the 5th time.

Two weeks ago, I didn’t think I’d be writing this blog post. Not. At. All. Just in January, I rebranded my blog/YouTube/Facebook to Fruit Salad and carefully crafted an entire brand around the tagline “Keep it sweet and make your own salad.” This is the 5th time I’ve rebranded myself. With Fruit Salad, I invested in an awesome graphic designer to create all the deliverables and I didn’t even last a full year with the name before I rebranded it. Awesome.

Why the name change? After I rebranded to Fruit Salad and started my YouTube channel, I became increasingly aware of how terrible the name Fruit Salad was for SEO. Try Googling “Fruit Salad” and you’ll see what I mean. In my Fruit Salad Quarter 1 Audience Survey, some of the feedback I received was that my YouTube channel was difficult to find. The easiest way to find me was to search “Micaela Hoo” or “Fruit Salad Micaela Hoo.” I toyed around with the idea of renaming my brand to “Fruit Salad by Micaela Hoo” the same way celebrities sometimes have the “by _____” following their brand name.

The main reason I didn’t want to change my brand name to my actual name was because I thought it was kind of weird in an egomaniacal way to have your blog name be your actual name. When I started blogging in 2008, the majority had these creative blog names. A lot of people—including some of my favorite bloggers—still do. Same with YouTube and any other social media platform. However, I’ve noticed it’s becoming more common to keep things simple and just go by your first and last name.

Almost exactly one week ago, I had an acupuncture appointment. I consider my acupuncturist a built-in therapist and we always chat about my work, life, gut health, stress levels, and anything else on my mind. She’s not on social media a lot, but I know she’s seen my Instagram and watched some of my YouTube videos. She casually asked me how Fruit Salad was going. I told her I loved everything about the name and the meaning it holds EXCEPT that the SEO is bad. She agreed that searching “Fruit Salad” will serve you up a million recipes before you stumble upon little old me. She asked me why don’t I use my actual name? She said it was catchy. I told her that tons of creators go under pseudonyms and she asked me how many people I know have both a product-based business AND a personal brand and their personal brand name is another pseudonym? Ummm hiiiiiii LIGHTBULB MOMENT. Everyone I could think of who had a product-based business and a personal brand went by their real name for the personal brand. It’s so much more authentic that way. It’s enough to have to remember a product name and then throw another brand name in there and it’s confusing. I love it when owners of companies have their own personal brands that are their actual names—you get to know them better and feel a deeper connection. Why was I so blind to this when it came to naming my own brand?

I took a walk with my mom that afternoon and told her what my acupuncturist suggested to me about changing Fruit Salad to my personal name. My mom is very level-headed and doesn’t get whisked away in the same whirlwind of creativity, passions, and emotions that I do. I expected her to say “You just changed your brand name. Why not just keep it? You have enough on your plate, why do you need to take on something else?” Surprisingly, she said, “I think it’s a good idea.” That way, we can umbrella everything Drifter Organics under that name, then keep things simple with having my actual name be my personal brand name. Amazing.

I surprised myself in that I actually didn’t care that this would be my 5th time renaming my brand and everyone says not to change your name because you’ll confuse your audience. I’ve gotten to a point in my life where I don’t care what others think—but not in a teenage angsty screw the world kinda way. I do/change things for myself because I serve the desires of my intuition. I’ve learned that most times, your audience will follow you wherever you go and a name change—especially a name change to my actual name that everyone already knows—is not a big deal. Later that day, I started sketching out my Micaela Hoo logo. I didn’t feel like doing any fancy high-end graphic design—partly because I didn’t want to spend beaucoup bucks on a graphic designer, partly because I wanted to launch this rebrand fast—but I still wanted it to be special. I wrote my name in cursive with a Sharpie, scanned it in and vectorized it in Illustrator, touched it up, and in a few hours, I had my logo. It’s loosely inspired by my signature circa 2nd/3rd grade. I used to sign my name with a pink gel pen and turn the dot of my “i” into a flower, so I rendered my logo in pink and drew a flower for my favicon. Working with a graphic designer, the Fruit Salad branding process took 3 months. My Micaela Hoo branding took a few hours. From a graphic design standpoint, is it arguably not as good as the Fruit Salad branding? Perhaps. But I love it. It’s unapologetically girly with a touch of ’90s nostalgia. It’s me.

Yes, I changed my brand name for the 5th time.

The original paper I signed my name on, then scanned in and vectorized my favorite signature in Illustrator to become my logo.

So that’s the tea with all of this renaming jazz. No matter what future twists and turns my brand content ends up taking, my name will always be Micaela Hoo. I honestly think this is the last time I’m ever changing my brand name. Because all of this changing domains, emails, and usernames business gets tiresome after awhile.

The main takeaway? Don’t be afraid to change courses because you just changed something and now you’re changing again so soon or it’s a lot of work or you put a lot of money into it or you’re afraid of what others will think. If there’s a gnawing itch in your intuition to do so, DO IT.

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