Alpha Mom

June 29, 2005

Remember the old saying your mother used? The one she used as the rationale for eating vegetables instead of junk food? You are what you eat.

Well it’s still true today. Our health is a direct result of the foods we eat.

But in another interesting way, you ARE the brands you eat. Our sense of self is determined by the brands we choose to consume, condemn or covet.

Think about it? We use brands to help define our identities. Are you a Fox News watcher, a Volvo soccer mom, an iPod teenager, a Razr cellphone dude. We use brands as shorthand for what we want to say or not say about ourselves.

This is why brands that have singular, consistent and powerful meanings attached to them are the most successful. It is also why when brands over expand they lose their power. When you appeal to everybody, then you really appeal to nobody. A brand can only have a powerful meaning if it is exclusive in some way.

You are what brands you buy but not forever. Our brand identities are not forever either. They change many times over our lifetime. Think about your own life and your own brand choices. Once I was a PBS kid, then I was a teenage Guess girl, then a 20-something Victoria Secret vixen. Today I am more like a Volvo driving, Spanx wearing, Bugaboo pushing, working Alpha mom.

Which brings up a great new brand. Alpha Mom! Did you see the cover of New York magazine last week? “The Rise of the Alpha Mom.” Sometimes you read about a new brand and it just hits you. Wow! That is me, I want to be part of that, I am that. It is me at this moment or a moment very soon to come. Things will likely change in ten years, but there are not many brands that you will carry through your entire life.

More brands need to celebrate this reality. Not shun it. Most brands try to be all-inclusive. You hear things like “we are for everybody”, “we want to grow with you,” “we will change with you.” Forget it. Better to be good for the moment and look for the next crop of customers in a few years. Because if there is one thing that I have learned from being an Alpha Mom is that things change constantly, one day my little boy is totally defined by his love for Thomas the Train and the next week it is on to the next new brand in a life that will be filled with many brand identities.