When I was growing up I dreamt of seeing my name in lights. My imagination was filled of scenes where I would casually mention my name at restaurants and people would stop and say “I know you – you’re famous!”
You know what they say ‘careful what you wish for’.
A couple of years ago I was visiting a hotel with my husband when I casually scanned the inhouse movie menu to find to my astonishment my name on one of their feature films. I can tell you I was even more surprised when on a closer look I saw that it was actually an adult movie (in every sense of the word).
After a giggle I realised that I shared my name with a porn star. My interest piqued I later googled my name to find that not only did I share my name with a porn star but a very famous porn star at that! Complete with a suite of films and associated merchandise including the ‘Jill Kelly’ blow up doll. My husband of course thought it was hilarious and so did I until the realisation slowly dawned about its potential impact to my online reputation.
Armed with a new level of awareness, the impact of this started to be noticable. As an invited writer for the CDI Careerwiki, I noticed the google ads under my articles featuring my namesake’s films. When I gave my name at a local event, the gentleman on the desk said “Where do I know that name from?” and then a moment later promptly and rather obviously changed the subject.
Now I had a dilemma – do I change my name and give up my hard earned global reputation or do I simply try and compete in the spotlight and hope people don’t get us confused.
After much strategising I developed a rebranding strategy. Armed with a strong knowledge of exactly what my online identity was, I developed a plan to address and mitigate any potential damage to my profile.
So today I start the execution of this rebranding campaign.
Jill Kelly just became ‘Gillian Kelly’. My mother will be pleased as she actually spelt my name with a ‘G’ so that I wouldn’t shorten it to Jill.
So take a few lessons from my experience. Remain abreast of your online identity and Google yourself regularly. Not only is it fun but it may save you from the costs of mistaken professional identity. As for me, from now on I’ll be known by Gillian Kelly. Except maybe for in the bedroom.