It doesn't exactly flow off the tongue.
Say it a few times and your jaw might get stuck.
Yet, this company name might get stuck in your synapses, too.
As a two-year-old startup, Brabble is not a household name (yet). It could be the next Snapchat. For now, the first thing the founders will have to overcome is the dictionary definition of their name. It means to argue stubbornly about trifles. Oops.
That’s probably not what they intend people to do with the app, which lets you share photos, audio, video, and text (and then comment back on those posts). The name also reminds me of the word "rabble" (e.g., a disorderly crowd). It sounds a bit harsh and doesn't really fit the Silicon Valley startup name ethos. (Brabble is actually based in New York City, but maybe you guessed that already.)
I like how it works. In fact, it could be (excuse the overused hyperbole) the next Facebook or WhatsApp. Maybe the name is slightly misleading, but does it even matter?
That’s a good question to ask. Brabble started out in early 2013 without too much fanfare. It's essentially a combination of Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and a few other social tools all in one. The Android store lists it as a "teen" app which makes sense. It's really a life-streaming aid for hyper-connected people. The company recently told me they started out as an app for debating topics and evolved into a tool for sharing photos, video, and texts. They have some strong financial backing, about $8M from individuals so far.
It makes me wonder how much a name really matters. People are still reading and sharing my article about naming your company even though it came out way back in 2013. It's easy to become attached to the name, the branding, and even the aura of a startup name. You can debate branding with friends and investors for days on end and even lose sleep over it. Should it start with the letter A so you are listed first in a directory? Should it rhyme with something? Should it be easy to pronounce? You can almost drive yourself nuts trying to pick a name. You might have seen this coming, but guess what? There are many more important factors than the name that are making Brabble successful.
Think about it. Smartphones with a high-end camera have changed how people interact. In this market, if an app works and helps people feel more connected, you could call it Pumpkins for Sale and it might still amass a loyal following. (If you use that name, I'm expecting royalties.) If you hire a team of technically astute programmers who know how to keep things clean and lean, you could brand yourself with a stick figure standing over a haystack and you might still have a hit. You can use a name like Meerkat and still find success.
Brabble president Peter Kahn told me a company name should be memorable and flexible. The brand should be just as scalable as the service you provide. "As long as a company stays true to its original concept, it should be able to stray outside the lines and grow beyond the original scope of its service," he says.
When you research the name of a company, there are a few important things to consider. You don't want to come up with something too similar to another name. Cakebook is probably not a good option for your baking social network. But you probably know that already. It's a tough decision because, once you choose a name, you really have to live with it. You register a domain, make business cards–more importantly, you form a mental and emotional bond. The name can even help you define your strategy.
Avoid that trap. Choosing the name of a new business is like choosing the name for your child (but not as important, especially if you know anyone named Reginald or Sunrise). You have to let the name gestate a bit. Don't be too hasty. Tell people a few of the names you have in mind and then see how they react. Research like crazy. If you think you have the right name, go ahead and make some of the collateral materials and see how the name looks on a fake site. Start introducing the company name and see if you like how it sounds.
And then: You'll just know. A company name will just feel right on the tongue and it will match your aspirations and ambitions. It will take on a second life.
Do you have some ideas for a company name? I'd love to help and give you my feedback on which candidates sound the most appealing. Send me your thoughts.