“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” So says Shakespeare’s character, Juliet, of the famed Romeo and Juliet. But if a rose will still smell as sweet, will a realtor, who has branded herself with a specific name, let’s just say, Jen Kirchhoefer, for example, still smell as sweet if she were to change that name to something like … Jen Fischer?
Truthfully, I’m not sure either of these Jens smell sweet; nor can the word “sweet,” be used to describe any part of her, nevertheless, you get the gist. According to psychologist Ira Rosofsky, however, “names have power. They are not like shirts you can change without changing you.” Right on, Rosofsky. That is why I have put much time, thought, and research into this decision to change my name. I knew it would be costly, time consuming, and risky for my business. I also knew, right down to my soul, that I needed to do it. I am not who I was when I took on the name that I have been known by for the last 26 years. It took me five years after I got married to change my maiden name to the same one my kids would have. I have not been married to their father for the past six years. In March of this year, all my children will be adults. In fact, I’ve done a fair amount of adulting this past year as well. I have also remarried. If names have power, I’m ready to re-empower myself.
As a realtor, this is no small task to change your name. Over the years, I have accumulated a decent number of marketing paraphernalia with my name on it. In fact, one-third of what I earn goes right back into my business. Most of us who do this realtor gig for a living can relate. Brand recognition is huge in this business. As a result, we spend much time, money and energy to be sure our brand is recognizable; and in this business, our names are our brand.
Realizing that if I was going to change my name, it would be no small undertaking, I did a little market research first. The first thing I did, with the help of a team of people, was to take a poll. We approached people coming and going on a hiking trail in an area of this great state where I have not done any branding. The question was asked; “All things being equal, not knowing either person, would you rather do business with a Jen Kirchhoefer or a Jen Fischer?” After the initial response of, “can you repeat that again?” they would pick Jen Fischer every time. Still, however, not reason enough to make the change.
Make no mistake that I am not aware that this name also comes with a touch of built in brand recognition. The popular television series, “The Office,” co-starred a Jenna Fischer who was nominated for an Emmy for outstanding supporting actress, as Pam Beesly, in a comedy series during the show’s running. Although the show is very entertaining, that, also, would not be reason enough.
It wasn’t until last week, when I sat in the local Social Security Administration office, along with 37 other people for nearly three hours awaiting the number S-247 to be called, that I knew I was really going to go through with it. And if that didn’t solidify it, the 45-minute wait at the DMV did. I am officially Jen Fischer.
It will take a while to get everything transitioned over to this new name. Anytime we change an address, name, brokerage, activity status, or nail color (well, everything except the nail color), one must fill out a change card with the Utah Real Estate Division; then comes the bank accounts, passport, mail, insurance, utilities, doctors, professional associations, credit cards, business cards, signage, mortgage companies, domain name, websites, and on and on. I’m good for it. I am no longer the person I was even a year ago. I am Jen Fischer.