Kim Kardashian West and Kanye West made headlines this month with the announcement of their new baby girl “Chicago West.” Celebrities and fans alike took to social media to express their thoughts on their daughter’s name.
With the buzz surrounding Kim and Kanye’s unique naming decision, one can’t help but wonder why such names are becoming more popular. Is this a campaign branding-move parents are making?
According to a Live Science article, a report conducted by Jean Twenge, a psychologist from San Diego State University said, “the percentage of babies receiving the most popular names continued its downhill slide between 2004 and 2015, with the recession causing nary a hiccup in the trend. Between 2004 and 2006, 10.09 percent of U.S. baby boys got a top-10 name. This percentage declined to 8.6 percent between 2008 and 2010, before falling to 8.15 percent between 2011 and 2015.”
We know from studying Millennials, and knowing ourselves, that Millennials enjoy the experience with small businesses and the offer of a variety of unique brands and products. With the growing number of Millennials reaching parenthood, they are ultimately applying this same unique brand-recognition strategy to naming their children.
Goldman Sachs conducted a study on Millennials and their baby naming behavior. “We turn to the history of baby names to possibly provide a window into evaluating parents’ expression towards brands,” says the report, which identifies two main reasons for the wider spread of baby-naming: “greater diversity among parents and … an appetite for more differentiated and unique brands (which we believe names are).”
Kim isn’t naming her daughter Chicago to make sure she will be able to find her name on an ornament in Disneyland or on a keychain at the airport. It’s not to make sure when she loses her lunch box at school that everyone will see Chicago written on the back and know it’s hers. She wants her kid to have a unique brand, and sees a name as an opportunity for the creation of a one-of-a-kind brand.
“Millennials are disruptive; they prefer small brands. And they don’t want their kid associated with any monolithic name that might dominate the cut-throat baby name market,” said Belinda Luscombe, for TIME magazine.
In addition to baby Chicago, their other two children are North and Saint, which are not common names like Emily and Joseph. All things considered, is it really a surprise Kim and Kanye named their baby Chicago or is it just a matter of the Millennial in them?
Will Gen X follow this branding trend, once they reach parenthood? Or, will this “unique” name trend reach a point where the most unique names are Emily and Joseph?