Tuesday, July 17, 2007

A baby by any other name would smell as sweet… wouldn’t it?

Talk about niche marketing. The generation that has brought you soft-touch playgrounds has been driven by the most nervous parents on the planet. So scared that their children will get hurt, sick, made fun of, or held back in the world in some way, we are creating a neurotic environment that no one will be able to thrive in. If our kids don’t fall down and scrape their knees, how will they learn to be careful? If they don’t get picked on at school, how will they learn to get along in a world that, outside of their nursery environment, doesn’t cut much slack?

The latest pressure trend, which has been building for the past several years, is in the area of children’s names. According to the June 22 article “The Baby Name Business” in the Wall Street Journal, parents are reviewing countless books, utilizing online tools, researching social security name data, and even hiring naming consultants. All to ensure that their child has a name that leads them to success.

There is growing belief (I won’t say evidence or data) that a child’s name factors into how successful they will be in life. This is part based on statistical data of the names associated with successful people and part based on general name appeal.

From a marketing standpoint, I am a true believer in the power of a name to make a positive first impression. While ultimately a company’s performance is what gets linked to a particular name, there is a first impression factor that comes to bear. The specifics of a company’s name bring up emotional connotations, and those can be powerful tools to acquire a customer base or to reinvigorate existing clientele.

But should we really be marketing our kids in this way? And is all of this hyper attention to children’s names really effective? To me, it seems like the money, time, and energy would be better spent taking a class on how to teach your children to handle themselves.

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