Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Getting Married, Girls? Say Goodbye to Brand Equity

I have a wedding coming up next week that I've been looking forward to for a long time. I'm really happy for my friend, Kara, and excited to see her all dolled up on her big day.

Getting married, at least the formal paperwork part of the life change, is a bit of a lop-sided experience. It may be the best decision of a new bride's life, but the necessary forms to make it, and "the merger" official, can cause more than a few headaches. Social security card, driver's license, bank accounts, e-mail addresses, car title, you name it. If only everything could be as easy as updating your name on your Facebook profile. The groom, on the other hand, may need to take a trip to the bank to sign some paperwork, or the DMV to change the name(s) on a car title. The bulk of the hassle, though, is on the glowing new bride.

I look at most of life a little differently through my marketing communications filter. To me, the whole idea of suddenly changing your name is a bit nuts. (That said, I'm guilty of doing it without giving it much thought. It must've been love.) You build brand equity with your name over more than 25 years, in most cases. Without hyphenating your last name, that brand equity can be lost with your "I do." For those of us in the PR profession, your name can be the key to landing an interview or saving yourself a 5-minute introduction. I, and many of my female friends, opted for the "interim rebranding," using both maiden name and new last name during the transition. When corporations combine forces or acquire a new company, they set up a 18- to 24-month merger or acquisition plan. Brides in the business world may want to consider a similar abbreviated version of this strategy. It probably doesn't require temporary business cards, but updating your e-mail signature, voicemail, Facebook and LinkedIn profiles to include both names for at least 3-4 months may save you time and confusion. Your coworkers and business contacts will become familiar with your new name and will barely notice when your maiden name is no longer included. And, for those social networking sites where you may connect with friends and coworkers from your college days, you may want to reference your maiden name indefinitely.
I guess when it comes down to it...there has to be something to offset the cost of that diamond, right?

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