Saturday, October 02, 2021

Brand name

Everything has a name, and sometimes it’s a name we’ve given to it. But what happens when we begin to question the name we’ve given to something? The “AmeriNZ” name is an example. Is it time to retire it?

There was a time when the name of this blog (etc.…) was obvious. I’d started using the “AmeriNZ” brand several years before this blog was born, so when I started it, using the name for it was the logical thing to do. It was still a logical name to use as I expanded the stuff I did (like when I added the podcast and YouTube Channel, among other things). But, so much has changed over the past 15 years, hasn’t it? After the biggest change of all, losing Nigel, I began to think about whether my brand name was still right for me. I began to wonder if it was time for a new one.

This thinking was awakened yet again when I realised that I no longer had the “amerinz.com” website. I was thinking about my options for the future, and that made me think again about whether or not I should even keep using the name.

When I first started using the AmeriNZ name, I explained that it was a shortened version of the phrase “American in New Zealand”, and that’s the crux of the issue: Is that an accurate way to describe me in 2021? After more than 25 years in New Zealand, and with no intention of ever leaving, am I not now arguably more Kiwi than Yank?

I knew that the name was accurate when I first arrived because I was absolutely an “American in New Zealand”. It was even still true once I became a permanent resident, because I was still a US citizen, but one allowed to live and work in New Zealand indefinitely.

Everything changed when I became a New Zealand citizen: While I was still an American, I was also legally a New Zealander. Put another way, I was no longer just an “AmeriNZ”.

That’s where I got stuck. A walk through this blog’s archives was the antidote.

Back in 2008, at the blog’s second anniversary, I added a banner I made for the top of the blog. That banner still had the original name (just “AmeriNZ”, not “AmeriNZ Blog”, as it is now; that came about when I decided I needed to differentiate the blog and podcast), but it also carried a new tagline “A gay American-born New Zealander talks about life, his two countries, and a whole lot more.” And that was when it hit me: The brand name now means “American-born New Zealander” or even just “American New Zealander”.

Today I made yet another revised banner for the top of this blog (at the top of this post), with one revision: I shortened the tagline to “A gay American-born New Zealander talks about life and a whole lot more.” Nothing’s changed about the blog itself, or what I might talk about, but by removing the reference to “two countries”, I’m taking the focus off of that. I now realise it should have been like this all along because “AmerNZ” is a personal brand about me and the stuff I create. My unique thing was never really just about where I was born, but about everything that’s happened to me since I moved here, and not all of that has anything to do with my origin story—well, stories is probably more accurate.

All of this will become more important (to me…) over the coming months. I’m making changes to allow me to better manage the content I create and save money as I move closer to retirement. I’ll talk about each step as it happens, but nothing will change in the way to get to things. Right now, the important thing is that this process made me realise the brand I’ve been working on building for the past 15 years is safe. It turns out that the name grew and changed, just like me. There’s still a lot of life left in us both.


Roger Owen Green said...

All of what you say is true, of course. But what is ALSO true is that you were an INVOLVED American citizen, and still follow the American political process with wisdom not found in some expats. You're still voting in the federal elections in the US, so you still have a stake, a say, and an informed opinion about what's going on in the good ol' USA.

Arthur Schenck said...

I agree up to a point, but these days I try to avoid reading much about US politics because it's terrible for my blood pressure (sadly, I'm not joking about that). I also expect that one way or another, I'll lose the right to vote in federal elections at some point in the coming years. Actually, that reality probably makes more of a typical American.

Roger Owen Green said...

I must say that I watch the blow-by-blow news far less myself. Will Biden get these infrastructure bills passed? Don't need to read about that, only that he does, or does not. And my email, with PANICKED responses - "We need to tell Machin and Sinema" blah, blah, blah. I tune out a lot.