Speaking of branding, what about personal branding, eg your name?
Perhaps in the western world it’s not really an issue for most men, though I was born Daniel Quinlem, changing to my mother’s maiden name, Bowen, when she divorced. I have the option of changing back, but don’t really want to, partly because it’s hard to spell, partly because it would be too much hassle, but mostly because I and countless others are used to it now. I wouldn’t pretend to be famous, but the brand of Daniel Bowen is established in the minds of friends, family, colleagues, past employers and others.
Mind you, I bet I could get quinlem.com if I wanted. (No way I could get bowen.com, but I did get bowen.id.au, and of course danielbowen.com)
How about if your name clashes with someone famous? There’s a Harry Potter who works for Channel 10 as a journalist. Less famous, there’s a Jonathan Creek at Channel 7. I know a Peter Parker.
For women getting married, the surname thing must be a quandry. At least in this day and age they can make the choice, I suppose, without incurring the wrath of the traditionalists. (At least, the wrath may be incurred, but ignored.) My sister stuck to her name when she got married. Rae switched hers when she got hitched. Some people will hyphenate. I hear some American women move their last name to the middle, and take the husband’s name as their last. No right or wrong answer, really.
Then you get the kids, and this is where the traditionalists really make the most noise, particularly if they’re of the view that they desperately want their name to survive into the next generation. It would seem that where the parents have different surnames, the kids slightly more often take the dad’s surname instead of the mum’s. Or where they hyphenate, dad’s name comes first.
Again, no right or wrong answers. Though I reckon hyphenation in some ways is just deferring a final decision to the next generation, who surely can’t keep hyphenating. My nephew is Leo Bonomi-Bowen… what happens if in twenty years he gets hitched to a Ms Baden-Powell? Kids called Bonomi-Bowen-Baden-Powell? It doesn’t bear thinking about.
(I suppose you can also count your haircut and clothes and other things as personal branding, but perhaps that’s a topic for another day.)