Meet the other Justin Bieber: a Philadelphia lawyer who started his own legal practice, and has been weighing the odds of success with his name.

“This Bieber, a graduate of Widener Law School, started practicing in Center City in 2006 and, like any young lawyer, he set about building a business and making a name for himself. And then last summer, the name he was making for himself no longer seemed to be his.” (

Because of his very famous namesake, Justin the lawyer receives tons of phone calls and Facebook invites all the time. His name “sticks” to the minds of the people, and he uses this to his advantage. “Many people do not know the name of a lawyer, so to have a name like his come to mind so quickly could potentially be very helpful”.

Other Name Troubles

I have an uncle who was burdened with the rejection of his US Visa because he was thought to be a criminal. Why? His name was the same as the criminal’s. The authorities checked his name and the registered form showed that this man with that certain name is on the run from a crime he is guilty of. Because of that certain data on the computer, my uncle’s US Visa was put in jeopardy. He, then, had to work extra efforts to clear his name and prove that he’s not the same man charged with criminal offenses. Fortunately, his name was cleared after some time. (I have no idea what happened to the real criminal.)

I have a very common name. My first names Jessica and Lou are very common. In fact, in my original block (during my first year in college) alone, there is another Jessica (who we decided to call Matee  after her surname) and there is another Lou (we still call her Lou). I had no choice but to be called Jeca (I wasn’t a fan of that nickname before) so as to avoid confusion.

Additionally, I’ve met another Jessica Maralit who also lives in Batangas. She calls me her “katukayo”. She’s very much older than I am, and she soon became one of my mentors for doctrine classes. In one of our idle moments, she told me that she once tried to google her name and found several pages that are not in the slightest bit associated with her. She said it was amazing that she got to meet the other Jessica Maralit who probably owns those pages she found online. I tried googling our name, too, and found that most of the pages are actually linked to me, and only one out of five are linked to her.

This incidence led me to think that having this certain name can actually make or break a person. What if my name pertains to a criminal (like that of my uncle’s)? What will happen then when I start looking for a job already? Will I be prosecuted, too? What if I share the same name with a volunteer missionary in Africa (this is true, the other Jessica Maralit is indeed a missionary in Africa)? Is it okay if I take the credit and the praises associated with the name?

Organizations and Branding

Does this happen also to corporations? What if a well known person associated with a certain brand suddenly has a slip and destroys his or her name? Will the brand associated to his or her name be destroyed as well?

If a CEO of a company merits an award or a recognition for a good deed, will his or her victory reflect the name and be beneficial for the company, too?

Organizations, therefore, must be careful with branding, so as to protect their reputation and image.

“Branding is a function of two things – building awareness and then building meaning behind that awareness.” (quoted from the article mentioned above)

This is the reason why there are companies who resort to “re-branding”. When their names are stained, their reputation is destroyed. Re-branding will help them recover and gain back the trust of their customers.

What’s in a name, then?

It might mean everything; it might mean nothing at all.

There are many JESSICAs and LOUs out there, many MARALITs too. What’s in a name? Should I be worried about that when it comes to applying for a job? I pray the odds will go in my favor. 🙂 Let the googling commence! 🙂

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  1. heartsandsky says:

    An interesting blog you have. 😉 i believe there’s a lot in a name; oftentimes, it dictates the destiny of the name bearer. however, we should not be boxed in a name, but really make efforts to back it up with meaning, or reverse its connotations (if the name means something not good). that’s what organizations are up to, building a name that would elicit trust and loyalty from the customers. and what better way to back up a name than to nurture a genuine relationship with them. surely you’ll be unforgettable and unmistakable. 😉

  2. Now I am thankful my name is not that common! Hehe. I searched for my name in Google, and I found a, for real. It is a design boutique run by someone named Jody from which country I do not know. :p

    Associations to anything, particularly to name/s, is very important nowadays. Just a single search result in Yahoo or Google can lead to impressions. Being remembered is not an easy thing. Even Simon Cowell kept on reiterating words like, ‘Your performance is forgettable’ or ‘give a performance that will make people remember your name’ in American Idol. Our names are our identity as well whether we like it or not. All companies now are perhaps aiming for people or consumer have their organization’s name be first to pop in their minds the moment they need or think of something. But then, people remembering your name at the very least requires us to have a huge impact on them. Like trust, it is to be earned.

  3. juolpindo says:

    I remember our discussion in Public Relations: “if everything else fails, change your name.” As with re-branding of companies I believe that it is quite effective. Remember oakwood hotel in Makati? It is now Ascott hotel, a re-branded hotel under the same management. As it may require much effort and money to re-brand the hotel, I believe that it is a very good mood as the negative news and press releases about the hotel is gone forever.

  4. juolpindo says:

    I remember our discussion in Public Relations: “if everything else fails, change your name.” As with re-branding of companies I believe that it is quite effective. Remember oakwood hotel in Makati? It is now Ascott hotel, a re-branded hotel under the same management. As it may require much effort and money to re-brand the hotel, I believe that it is a very good mood as the negative news and press releases about the hotel are gone forever.

  5. mavcastillo says:

    So is Justin Bieber the lawyer a lucky or an unlucky guy?Hehe.

    This just goes to show what Sir Chong has been reiterating in our PA126 class, that Shakespeare was wrong when he questioned the importance of a name. Indeed, a name can either make or break everything. I think most corporations are aware of the power of the name when they brand and re-brand products, services and the company itself. If not, it can lead to epic failure. With the advent of websites such as, and the ease through which we can post funny photos or talk about funny names through New Social Media, I think corporations should be extra careful;)

    • I very much agree. Shakespeare is wrong. Names can have an effect. We have to admit. We people tend to have the psychology of judging others even before getting to know them. Some even judge people by how “desirable or undesirable” their name sounds to them. Very superficial, yet sometimes true.

      I even know someone who for no reason at all loves the sound of his own surname. 😛

      When buying for things, or choosing a company, let’s admit it, we do base it on the name. A hypothetical situation, in choosing a PR Agency, what would you choose, the one that is named, “Earl-Devlin Corporate Solutions,” or the one that is named, “Manong Justine’s”?

      Humor aside, a name will always remain only a name. It will only be as true as how truthful your words are, noble as what your deeds are, and it will only be as good as what you really are. And that is what individuals and companies must always bear in mind.

  6. thehappykimy says:

    Though we are not the ones who decided what our names will be, we can still do something about it. No matter how common your name is, try to do significant things, and them you’ll be remarkable, But do not make your image negative. Always do things you would not regret.:)

    Our names may have other faces and personas, we should be unique in our own ways. And regular googling would be of help to know how’s your online footprint. You can always have a person whom you share the same name, but you wont share the same experiences and legacies.

  7. Pattydc says:

    How lucky (?) for the other Justin Bieber.

    I’m used to knowing a lot of people with the same name as me. “Patricia” isn’t exactly a unique name. Fortunately though, I haven’t met someone with the exact same name as me, last name and all. I can’t imagine being mistaken for someone else. Although it may seem arbitrary, our names hold a big part in our identities.

    Maybe in the future, sites can develop a “verify identity” feature so that our identities won’t get mixed up or get stolen. Twitter has such a feature for public figures. Celebrities who often have impersonators online have their accounts verified to show people that they are who they say they are. It’s also a form of image management.

  8. Ahh.. so this was the famous Justin Bieber post that you wanted me to read. I have to say, that lawyer is a very luck person. He didn’t even have to advertise his new law firm to be famous. Proof? This news reached us here, the Philippines.

    Anyway, I want to share about my too. Recently, I found out that there are two other Diane Famatigans in the clan. They’re grandaughters of the two brothers of my grandfather. The first one is named Dayanara Famatigan, she is from Cainta and she uses “Dayan” as her nickname. The other one is Dianne Famatigan. She’s from Batangas and she’s a few years older than me. Because of this, I always add Isabel on my online accounts so that people won’t get confused then they search my name. I gotta be careful ’cause my name is my personal brand that I have to look out for.

  9. shecainess says:

    i never really found it troublesome, my name. its a good thing you wrote about it really. it got me thinking, what’s in a name? a name can be everything or nothing like you mentioned which suggests that names can either serve you good or may not serve you anything at all. i appreciate your topic as i am reminded of the basics of organizations. your brand name is the forefront and everything else follows.

  10. gj says:

    Well it’s good it worked out for Justin, and for you as well, Jeca. Yes, we will be branded, and sometimes, not even because of our own doing, so we must be aware of the state of our reputation and be able to manage it. 🙂

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