With the US presidential inauguration already here, we're about to see how good Barack Obama's personal brand name really is. Why wait? Here's a preview.

Barack Obama - Official Photo

The ultimate Web 2.0 name?

My full name is Jacob Share. That’s it. No middle name, no first initial for a name I don’t like, just Jacob Share. Nevertheless, a few people have already asked me “is that your real name?”

It’s been suggested to me that I’m using “Jacob Share” as a pseudonym because I’ve been on the Internet since 1994, and I wanted to capitalize on the word “share” as a result of the social media explosion we call Web 2.0 (where everyone’s sharing with everyone else).

Truthfully, it’s not a bad name to have, but why would I make up my own name?

Although “Jacob Share” truly is my birth name, there actually *are* solid reasons to have made it up.

How my personal name has helped brand me

My name-

  • generates curiosity
  • is easy to remember
  • is easy to spell
  • looks good – most people love symmetry and my name is a pair of 5-letter words
  • isn’t very common, usually spelled ‘Sher’ or ‘Scher’
  • is amenable to clever uses such as when naming my company Share Select Media
  • has a favorable message – as a friend of mine likes to joke, “Jacob shares with his friends”

Together, all these factors mean one thing: with all the messages that it conveys, my name helps get me positive attention, which is the whole point of a good personal brand.

But there's someone whose personal brand name is even better.

Much better.

A great personal brand name: Barack Hussein Obama Junior

Once you get past all the “is he or isn't he Muslim” talk, you'll see that President-elect Barack Obama has a terrific name for projecting goodwill on a global scale.

Here’s why:

Barack means ‘lightning’ in Hebrew and is a fairly common male Israeli first name, leading to an instant rapport with Israelis and many Jews. However, the real root of the name comes from Swahili and Arabic for “blessed”, leading to another rapport with Arabs and some Africans.

is a popular name in Shiite Muslim culture coming from the grandson of Mohammed, Hussein ibn Ali. This creates an instant connection with many Muslims.

Obama means “crooked, slightly bending”. Although not really positive or negative, coming from the African Dholuo language makes this name resonate with Africans.

Junior or II – this is great – either of these can be used when most appropriate. The use of Jr. is very American, so Obama can use the Jr. when he wants to emphasize his Americanness. But since a ‘Junior' means there was a ‘Senior', a ‘II’ (i.e. Obama the Second) can be used to describe Obama in cultures that have a history of monarchy such as in Europe, making Obama look almost regal for them and very fitting as the head of a nation.


Half the world can relate to Obama through his name alone. For a person who has been branded as a bridge-builder, this is an amazing tool to have.

I originally published this article on the terrific Personal Branding Blog.

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Jacob Share

Job Search Expert, Professional Blogger, Creative Thinker, Community Builder with a sense of humor. I like to help people.

This Post Has 15 Comments

  1. Pingback: Tim Tyrell-Smith

  2. Dov

    Hi MobJobbers,
    You can even find Obama’s name alluded to in Sefer Yechezkiel Chap. 38, 2nd posuk.
    If you start with the aleph in the word “Nasi” (of that posuk) and count every 7th letter, it spells Obama.

    I’ll be happy to send to you a jpeg file I created showing this if you return to me an e-mail address.


  3. josh

    I think the ‘best’ is his ‘funny’ sounding last name – Obama. It is more funner to saw Obama than McCain. Bush and Clinton were on a lower step. Someone with a harder name needs to stand out otherwise in other areas.

  4. Todd Porter

    Are you serious?

    Funny that his campaign didn’t want people to use Hussein.

  5. Jacob Share

    Todd- Obama’s name may have been a potential handicap in America during the campaign, but if so he overcame it. My point is that Obama’s name speaks volumes to the rest of the world.

  6. bama

    jacob- so you r saying that obama is leader that represent almost half of the world, yet obama need to think about his country first, isn’t it too much burden for him that you make it as obama is the leader of this world,

    *no offense buddy*:p
    im just curious about certain things

  7. Jacob Share

    bama- Barack Obama is the leader of the USA only. The point of this article was to show how his name makes it easy for him to connect with people in many other countries as well.

  8. Todd Porter

    So how’s that change thing working?

    I believe it takes more than a ‘brand’ to create positive change.

    Obama might be the greatest example of a name being branded. He was like a rock star.

    Then again it might be a great example of someone getting a job for the wrong reasons and being totally inept.

    50% of the people in the U.S. still love (approve) of what he’s doing and the rest of the world still has a lot of trust and hope in him, also.

    Apparently, Obama the brand is still strong.

    Obviously a lot of people will disagree with me. (though not as many as a few months ago)

    Since this site has a lot to do with employment, maybe we should poll the 10% of unemployed in the U.S.

  9. Tariq Hussain

    Dear Barack Hussain Obama

    I am Tariq Hussain Qambrani From Pakistan Contry I am Black Nation boy. I more than request to you. My edication graduation in B.A pass.but I am free so I request for the job please grant my application I thankful to you.

    my postal address:
    P.O umerkot Sindh pakistan
    ward No.315 sheedi mohalla
    post Code.69100

  10. Kate

    He’s still remarkable.

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