Why apps and startups have human first names these days: Catchword’s Laurel Sutton in Vox

By Erin Milnes

November 7, 2019

Dave, Marcus, Brigit, Oscar, Frank, Alice—old college buddies or new financial firms?

You may have noticed that many money-related apps and services have human first names these days. News and opinion site Vox noticed too and asked Catchword co-founder Laurel Sutton to help readers understand the trend.

Financial startups are simply trying to sound more accessible…

Laurel Sutton, a senior strategist and linguist at the naming agency Catchword, agrees. ‘They’re trying to take [the brand] away from a faceless institution,’ Sutton told Vox. ‘That kind of branding seems very much on point for millennials or post-millennials.’

Laurel Sutton - Senior Strategist & Linguist, Catchword BrandingLaurel goes on to explain the motivations behind using personal names as brand names, and the shift from naming a company after its founder(s) to the current practice of using fictitious first names.

‘Giving it some grand name that made it sound like it’s been around for 500 years would make people feel more confident that they could put their money there,’ Sutton says, and financial firms needed to sound ‘really big and strong and institutional.’ Family names—especially familiar ones with cache—convey stability.

Read the full story on Vox.

Great job, Laurel!

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