Throughout 2023, many have questioned my decision to choose to bear the name Brendan instead of my given name, Chukwuma. To these questions, my response have always remained the same: Why not?
The truth is, I chose Brendan because I found more than a number of ways it resonates with me as a personal brand far more than Chukwuma does. This reminds of an article of a friend who once wrote about how our names are not solely defined by what our parents give us at birth, instead, our names become a reflection of our personal identities as we mature. This concept is akin to “brand positioning” in marketing terms.
Consider the numerous brands that do not use their legal trading names on their packaging. Tokyo Shibaura Electric Co., for example, is known as Toshiba worldwide. Walkers in the UK is the same product as Lay's in the United States. TK Maxx in the UK goes by TJ Maxx in the US. The list goes on. These brands have chosen to adopt names that better align with their target markets and brand image, or possibly even the regulations of the land in which they establish on. Similarly, my decision to be called Brendan while retaining my surname, Njoku, is a reflection of my own personal branding journey.
Allow me to further address some common questions and misconceptions:
1. If I have no intention of using my middle name, then I can only wonder why it was given to me in the first place. While I cannot speak for my parents' intentions, I believe that names, like life experiences, serve as building blocks that shape our identities. My middle name, though not in active use by my immediate family, remains only a part of my story but not the whole of it.
2. The name Brendan holds a stronger personal resonance for me. Its meaning, “Prince,” reflects the sense of self I embody. On the other hand, Chukwuma, meaning “God knows,” is a beautiful name but does not evoke the same connection. After all, I can never claim to know what God knows.
3. Another reason for my choice is the practicality of pronunciation and explanation. With Brendan, I avoid the need to constantly explain and teach others how to pronounce my name. This challenge extends beyond foreign lands; even within my own country, other tribes encounter difficulties in pronouncing my name. By adopting Brendan, I simplify interactions and save time without compromising my cultural heritage.
4. As I reached a certain stage in life, I desired greater control over my values, vision, and overall identity. Choosing Brendan as my personal brand name symbolizes this journey of self-discovery and self-expression.
It is important to note that my decision to be called Brendan does not negate or reject my heritage. Neither my first name nor my last name, Njoku, has been changed in any official documents. By adopting this as a sort of trading name, I am simply highlighting a specific aspect of my identity, much like individuals who are given foreign first names such as John, Patterson, Nicole, yet still staying connected to their roots.
So basically, when I introduce myself using this name, Brendan, I expect to be addressed as such, unless I explicitly state otherwise. Going forward, for those who enquire about my name choice, this article is simply where I would direct them to for free insights on what encapsulates my rationale and experiences.