Companies pay marketing and branding firms a pretty penny to research, test and ultimately select names and logos for products, but what about spending up to $30,000 to hire one to name... your baby?
You read that correctly my friends, according to a recent report in Bloomberg, professional baby-naming services are popping up with relative frequency across the U.S. and Europe.
If you are screaming, "BUT WHY??" at the screen as I did, consider this—people have been consulting with spiritual advisors, historians, family and friends since the start of time when selecting a name for their child. It's not a new phenomenon. It's one of the most difficult decisions that new parents have to make and often leave them arguing, overwhelmed and unable to agree.
In Western society we are increasingly growing accustomed to throwing money at a problem, why not this one? After all, your child will have to carry their name around with them forever and there is research that suggests that the "right" name can help them be more successful, while the "wrong" name can lead them down a less desirable path.
Subjective? Um, yes. But what isn't when it comes to parenting?
Firms such as Switzerland-based naming agency Erfolgswelle and New York-based My Name for Life provide their baby-naming services for a (sometimes hefty) fee. Erfolgswelle takes up the three weeks to research a name and charges around $30,000 for their final report. My Name for Life is down-right reasonable in comparison, with fees starting at a few hundred bucks for a report that takes around 30 hours to prepare.
Reports contain research on variables such historical significance, popularity, cultural relevance and likelihood for financial success. Sherri Suzanne from My Name For Life, points out that while some data is quantifiable, such as popularity ranking, much of it, such as the 'morality' of a name, is based on qualitative factors and would differ widely from family to family.
Admittedly I didn't even consider how the names I gave my kids would affect their future success. I just wanted names that sounded nice and wouldn't remind me of that jerk-kid from my public school! Their middle names are family names, which I thought was a nice gesture for the aunt and uncle they represent.
Would I have paid for help if I'd considered that it might guarantee a more successful future for them? Nope. Not even in hindsight. But maybe I'd have used the extensive hours I spent pouring over baby-naming sites and doing my own research a little differently.
Do I understand why some parents are drawn to these services? I sure do! My husband and I had enough "spirited discussions" for me to see how paying a neutral, thorough and knowledgable party to intervene could have been a decent investment in our relationship at the time!
In light of how busy we all and how many items we have on our "preparing for baby" checklists—would you shell out for a baby-naming service?