What's In a Name?

If you’re thinking about visiting Kansas’ capital city this month, you better double-check the name of your destination. Topeka mayor Bill Bunten officially changed the city’s name to Google for the month of March in the hopes of swaying the company to choose his town for its “Fiber for Communities” program. The mayor hopes aligning itself with Google will entice young people to move to the area.

It’s an interesting move for a city. And one I’m not sure I would recommend. Sure, being chosen for the Fiber for Communities program would be fantastic. Topeka would certainly benefit from super-fast Internet. But changing your name (even temporarily) to the name of a corporation? To me, that’s like naming your daughter Porshe or Diamond.

Shakespeare said it best in Othello: “Good name in man and woman, dear my lord, is the immediate jewel of their souls.” Your name is who you are and should be protected at all costs. I’m not arguing that changing your name changes who you are (Altria still makes cigarettes), but if you’re willing to sell out your name for a stunt and brief coverage on CNN, that says a lot about the value you place on your personal or corporate identity. If you feel a name change is necessary for a rebrand, go for it. But make sure your name reflects who you aspire to be.

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