Monday, April 4, 2011

It’s My sTORI and I’m Sticking to It!

Love her or hate her, Tori Spelling is capitalizing on a little something I call namesake branding. Recently launching an extension of her vast brand, Tori hit another branding home run by naming her new LA clothing store InvenTORI. Brilliant? No question.

After decades of only being known as the daughter of the late Aaron Spelling, and being ridiculed for her non-existing acting skills as virgin Donna while on Beverly Hills 90210 (although as a child of the Saved By the Bell years, I LOVED the dorky Violet Anne Bickerstaff), Tori has launched a mega-empire built on one thing, her name.

So NoTORIous (TV show), Tori & Dean: Inn Love (TV show), sTORI Telling (book), Tori & Dean: Home Sweet Hollywood (TV show), The Tori Spelling Collection (jewelry), uncharted terriTori (book), InvenTori (clothing store), Tori & Dean: sTORIbook Weddings (TV show).

Tori after Tori, she’s made an impressive namesake brand. Not a Tori Spelling fan? Think this is irrelevant because she’s my shining example? A few other great namesakes:

Gitomer, DUH! A branding king, each of his books and two of his companies are titled “Jeffrey Gitomer’s…” and his other company is BuyGitomer. Creative, smart, call to action. BUY – Gitomer!

Oprah, the queen of America, uses namesake branding too. The Oprah Winfrey Show, Harpo Studios (Oprah backwards), Harpo Productions, Harpo Films, OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network), O Magazine, O at Home, Oprah and Friends.

Got it?

But Tori isn’t stopping, her next book, celebraTORI releases this coming October. You may not think she is a great actress but she is a smart businesswoman. As a hands-on business owner of several companies, an author of three best-selling books, and appearing on reality TV, she has launched herself into a sTORIland all her own.

You may think there is not much to it. WRONG! Namesake branding is a moneymaking – image creating – story land.

What about your story? Your brand? Your image? Your creative spin? Your smart marketing appeal?

Think about all of the names connected to you. First name, last name, maiden name, middle name, nickname, company name, etc. How creatively congruent have you made your company? Or better yet, why should you take the time to namesake your branding? I’m so happy you asked!

1. It’s personable. Creating a brand around your name means you're creating a brand around YOU! And what’s more personable than a person? Doing business with someone who has poured out his or her heart, soul, and passion into their work is a must! And if they use their name it’s a no-brainer. I want to do business with someone who is committed to their work, their business, their industry, and their success. What bigger commitment can you make than putting your name on it? (Putting a ring on it – but that is usually followed by some kind of name change!)

2. It’s recognizable. The easiest way to get lost in the big business shuffle is to not be recognizable to your customers. Each of your products, services, and marketing efforts must have a consistent thread woven through their name. It all starts there. If you can be creative and consistent with the name, your customers will have immediate recognition of your personal brand.

3. It’s achievable. Capitalizing on your name is the easiest thing you can do. Thanks to your parents, they gave you one; all you have to do is start using it! Be creative, be wild, be out of the box, be different, BUT be uniform. I may work for a company that is not my own – but that didn’t stop me from creating my own brand – Stephanie Melish, the Double-Tall, Non-Fat, No-Whip Sales Barista, and it’s worked! If I can make it happen, so can you.

That’s my sTORI and I’m sticking to it!

I’m Stephanie Melish, your Double-Tall, Non-Fat, No-Whip Sales Barista. How may I help you help yourself?

Stephanie Melish, one of the few, hand-selected, Gitomer-Certified Speakers is the ONLY Double-Tall, Non-Fat, No-Whip Sales Barista in the world! Stephanie trains, sells, and speaks to companies and associations all over the country. To book Stephanie for your next event, visit or contact the friendly folks at Buy Gitomer via email or by calling 704-333-1112.


  1. Great article. Any ideas for a the name "DeWitt Landscaping"? Thanks, Robert DeWitt

  2. "Just DeWitt"- a spin off on Nike's "Just Do It". I'm sure there are lots of other variations that could use that as a jumping point...

  3. Love the concept. Would you give it a try for my name: Rita Van Buren
    Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty

  4. @Robert - I'm liking MJG's suggestion! That could be your tagline for all that you do.

    @Rita - Rita's Realty - making your dream home a Reality!

  5. Really loved your articale, it was very intorirestng. My name is Beverly Dobbs and I'm a salesperson who sells business telephone systems, just wondering if you could come up with a tag line for me.

  6. @Beverly - Beverly Dobbs, Cleverly connecting your communication lines.

  7. This is awesome. Might sound like an obvious thing to do, yet its leverage is great. Great article.

  8. Stephanie,

    I have never been able to get this into something meaningful. Joe White, an owner of Express Soltuions. Love cleaning cars, selling soap.

    Love your blog, looking for ideas.... thanks.

  9. Really love all of Steph's posts. I find them thought provoking and fresh.

  10. Our name is Bob Triick and Sons, Inc., Landscape Contractors. We specialize in hydroseeding lawns. Any thoughts on how to incorporate our name into a product catchphrase.