Baby Branding

Posted on: Feb 13, 2015

You might say I wasn’t very imaginative when I named my company Michelle Abrahall Design. And you’d be right. Thinking of a company name is bloody hard. I was tasked with doing it once for and all the good names I could think of had already been trademarked. So, still smarting from that frustrating experience, I went with my own name because it’s unusual (yes I Googled my own name for the purposes of this blog, and the first 3 pages of results were about me) and therefore, hopefully, memorable.

baby namesBut there’s one thing more difficult than thinking of a name for a company, and that’s thinking of name for a child. The endless possibilities! The endless possibilities for ways it could be manipulated by cruel classmates into a mocking, or even worse, rhyming nickname! The pressure to pick something that will stand the test of time and suit a sulky teenager as well as a cute baby!

So thank god for the intervention of common sense when parents try a little too hard to pick a ‘unique’ name, as in the case of the French couple wishing to name their baby girl ‘Nutella’. In the end a judge had to step in and say ‘ce n’est pas un bon nom’ (they may not have actually said that).

The problem is, people put a lot of importance on a name. Its baby branding. There’s an unspoken assumption that the name you pick for your child will somehow bestow upon them certain attributes. For example, Jack is seen as a strong, solid name, while a name like Molly has a friendly, happy feel. It doesn’t surprise me in the slightest that you can hire the services of a Baby Naming Consultant (prices vary from a fairly reasonable £30 for a list of names to thousands for a bespoke service).

People are scared of getting it wrong and inadvertently giving their bundle of joy a bad start in life. But there’s no more guarantee that your kid will be happier with a name picked by an expert than your business will be more successful if you name it ‘Best Company Ever’ (which, if I’ve remembered anything my patent attorney pal told me about trademarks, you wouldn’t be allowed to use anyway. Which is a shame as it was my first choice).

I imagine in parenting, as it is in business, thinking of a name is merely the first decision in a long road of decisions, and by no means the hardest. I’ll leave you with this hilarious titbit from my honorary French friend, who informs me that the judge in the Nutella case missed a trick. In the neighbouring town there's a brother and sister called Clitorine and Penisian!

nutella with your name on
'Michelle' brand Nutella

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