What inspires a great brand name? For Zinzin, it’s getting outside of ourselves, our specialty, our industry. Sometimes, stepping outside of our familiar spaces sparks unexpected connections and other mind wanderings. For instance, we’re big fans of poetry, great literature, artists, and films.
On the other hand, sometimes inspiration for a great brand name lies closer to home. Very close to home. Ok, I’ll cut to the chase: it’s your mom.
Well, not your mom. But the “royal mom.” Is that a cheeky, new nosism? According to Wikipedia, the royal we (pluralis majestatis) refers to a single person holding a high office, such as a monarch, bishop, or pope…or mom, this Zinzin-namer (and mom) attests.
Mother, Mama, Mom, Ma, Mommy, Mum
Poking around casually online, I found at least three dozen brand names inspired by moms, including a stepmother and a mother-in-law. Of the names on this particular list (below), the majority are related to food, beverage, or apparel. There are a few brands on the list that step out of stereotypical mom box. I think that’s a good direction, if “mom” is going to thrive as a great brand name.
But wait, is “Mom” a great brand name?
For starters, Zinzin believes that evocative names make the most powerful brand names. These are names that map to and support the positioning of a brand metaphorically, rather than literally and linearly. (Think Amazon, Apple, Virgin, Tesla.) They paint a bigger picture and often work on multiple levels of meaning.
In my opinion, the name “mom” absolutely has the potential to work on multiple levels of meaning. It’s as complex as any mom. While we have a broad, stereotypical (yet ever-evolving notion) of “a mom,” we each have different experiences with our own moms or other mom-like figures in our lives. And we know for a fact that the business of nostalgia is booming.
In other words, what does “mom” mean to you?
- How much does that matter in building a brand?
- Specifically to naming, what does the name “mom” evoke for a brand’s audience?
- How does it map to and support the positioning of the brand?
- Does the brand name “Mom” have an aspirational quality, in terms of representing what we each think a mom is or should be?
For example, I love the brand name Tough Mother, because it reminds me of so many moms I know – resilient, determined, and strong. I also love the description of the brand MOTHER Denim on their website:
WHO WE ARE
Famous for its irreverent disposition, model cult following, and super-soft fabrics, the boutique made-in-L.A. brand is unique for its genius in keeping an indie spirit while still offering fits and washes that appeal to a wide range of people. Guided by spontaneity, MOTHER has grown into a lifestyle brand with 4 yearly collections expanding across denim, sportswear, outerwear and accessories. The brand evokes the memories and experiences of growing up in California in the 70s – what you were wearing, what you were doing and who you were getting in trouble with. It reflects the freedom to be unfiltered, brazen and above all amusing.
I think this resonates with me, because most moms I know share an “irreverent disposition” that keeps me laughing and inspired. However, I also realize “tough” and “irreverent” aren’t the first notions of mothers that pop into everyone’s head. The list below highlights the range of “mom” brand names, many of which lean towards “sweetness,” “warmth,” and “nourishment.”
A list of some “mom” brand names
- MOM Group
- MOTHER Denim
- Melanated Mom Brand (MMB)
- Mom’s Best Cereals
- MomSquad Clothing
- The Mom Agency
- Mom’s Millenium Ink
- Element Mom
- Mother New York
- Not Your Mother’s
- Mom’s Spaghetti
- MAMA Brand
- Earth Mama Organics
- Mama Ramen
- Mama’s Biscuits
- Mama Shelter
- Mama Luma
- Ni De Mama
- Honey Mama’s
- Sunny + Mama
- Queso Mama
- Bohemian Mama
- Sweet Mama Produce
- Chill Mama Club
- Tough Mother
- Mother’s Cookies
- Mother Raw
- Stepmother Apparel
- Latched Mam
- MamaMia Produce
- Mom Water
- The Mom Project
- Free The Mother
- Mommy Makeup
- The Mommy Grind
- My Mum Made It
- MUM (deodorant)
As a brand name, I think “Mother” — or one of its many variations — has interesting potential. It has a wide and evolving interpretation. For instance, moms can be both “sweet and nourishing” and “tough and irreverent.” For a name, it’s all about ensuring that it maps to its brand positioning.
Is “mom” a great evocative name? By definition, an evocative name evokes strong images, memories or feelings, which means it connects with your audience on an emotional level. And it’s this emotional connection that translates into brand engagement, trust, and loyalty.
So yes, “mom” has the potential to be a great evocative name. I’d love to see it used in a more unexpected — or even more diverse — way. A way that reflects the wide range of experiences, attitudes, and choices of moms.
With that, I leave you with tenet #14 in Zinzin’s Naming Manifesto:
Misery Is No Mother.
Just because naming should be fun, doesn’t mean it always is. But it’s important that you have an open mind and allow yourself to be alive to the possibilities of what a name can do. You have to set a positive tone for this exercise right from the start – if you’re stuck in a miserable naming rut and the experience seems like torture, realize that you are doing something wrong, and change your approach. Companies and products are not born from misery or ennui, and neither are the best names.