Strategy · Product Marketing

What are the pros and cons of naming your company the same as the first product you're launching?

Caroline Rouben Founder at PopSoles

August 17th, 2016

We are starting a footwear technology company launching our first (and only?) product - a modular shoe branded as PopSoles. 
I'm unsure wether our company name should be PopSoles as well, or something different (we have some ideas). 
For example, it sounds strange to say "PopSoles is a footwear technology company that makes..." vs "PopSoles are swappable heels and wedges that can be attached to any shoe". Hence thinking that our company name should be different, and that one of our products/brands is PopSoles. Thoughts?

Michael Boezi Writer, Strategist, Educator.

August 17th, 2016

Your company's brand will be your most valuable asset, so I'd recommend that you keep the company name and product name separate. Thinking long game, what happens if the product fails? Or if people lose interest in it years from now? No entrepreneur wants to believe that will happen, but what if it does? It would be great in that case to be able to divest or diminish the product, but keep your overall brand intact.

William Agush Founder and CEO at Shuttersong Incorporated

August 17th, 2016

Having named a lot of things in my career there's no right or wrong here. The main advantage is the if the company and product are synonymous then all communications will be reinforce the brand, rather than having to build a company brand and a product one. If the heart and soul of your brand/company is PopSoles then that's what the company should be named. If you're planning a multi-brand, multi-product company over time then you might rethink it. What's more important than anything is that you apply for PopSoles as a trademark - I didn't see any application in the USPTO TESS system and you want to be the owner of that mark. Get a trademark person on this right away.

Nate Sowder Managing Director at Littlelines

August 17th, 2016

Totally agree with Mr. Boezi. If you're going to have an e-commerce footprint, this will also be a factor when you start thinking about UX design. 

I was looking at a bike shop website the other day where their flagship product was also the name of their company. For me, I didn't really pay attention to their other products because of the 'illusion' that the product that reflected their name must be superior to their other products. 

Something to think about as you diversify your offerings :)


Gwendolen Long Senior Counsel, Transactions at Citrix

August 17th, 2016

If the name really is PopSoles, you probably want to register the domain name now. It is still available and someone may squat if you are disclosing the name publicly.

Aman Pratap CMO at Zimplistic Rotimatic

August 17th, 2016

One name, that too flagship product name.
1. Building one brand is hard enough, having two splits focus. Most likely your company name won't be much mentioned @ social media and your marketing team will not bother to keep that website amazing as that does nothing to Popsoles sales.
2. Press will be confused when speaking with you. Are you company X or Popsoles? Sure you can explain but real estate is limited and one is better than two. Look at nest for example. Even providing a website address will be a question- should we mentionpopsoles.comorcompanyx.com. Eg: Thalmic Labs/GetMyo started with two. But they had to consolidate and make one website as two names were confusing in press etc. Even for users, they want to talk to the product brand, not company behind.
3. Hiring will be confusing and you will struggle as most of your focus will be on building Popsoles and that will have the press coverage and the social media clout. But @ LinkedIn you will be hiring as companyX and people won't find a facebook page of CompanyX with thousands/hundreds of thousands of likes.
4. It feels weird initially to have the product name also be company name (esp for the starting team as they dont have the outsiders perspective), but its normal. Its classic manufacturer mindset. "PopSoles is a footwear technology company that makes..." sounds very normal to me. Users don't even think twice. You are Popsoles. Get a crackin logo though. Don't cut corners in that investment.
5. Have a company page and use that to do the company positioning. Talk about all that the company stands for, vision, mission, purpose, future roadmap direction etc.
6. Your email addresses will be confusing.Caroline@popsoles.comor caroline@companyX.com. Namecards too will have to carry that explanation.
7. The argument that if the product brand has bad reputation it will not affect the company is not valid for startups. If shit hits the fan, get a new name and logo and start again. If PopSoles takes a hit, having a separate company doesn't matter as users won't touch PopSoles, so the company brand is just an fantasy idea (and a website somewhere in the internet universe). You live and die with PopSoles. And in future if you are big and have multi-product lines, in that case cross the bridge when you get there. Most startups don't reach that level for years, over planning is also a thing. Sure people might think you are one trick pony (ie only one product company, but that kinda thing investors care about, not consumers. If PopSoles rock, consumers don't care if you have a product line up or just a single hot product). Investor care about traction. Get traction with PopSoles, share product roadmap with potential investors via company page.
8. You will save trivial discussions with your design team. With your marketing team. With your HR team. With your mother in laws neighbour.
8. Shorten the URL. getpopsoles.com is available.

Ema Chuku Designer. Product Developer. Founder @ NuPad

August 17th, 2016

Majority of the fashion/lifestyle brands have same company and product name. I don't see any problems in there and trust me, it keeps things and paperworks simple. If you are going to be focused on this one product (which it seemed like) regardless the name is great for a company name too (as the name sounds very generic).

But if you see yourself venturing into other products then consider a different name. Either way, starting with an LLC formation will make future decisions easier.

I once owned a footwear brand/company, after 6 years and venturing out, I rebranded the company easily.

And yes, that domain is too long for a commercial brand. Go short. (shoppopsoles, etc)



Caroline Rouben Founder at PopSoles

August 17th, 2016

Thank you for your answers so far, though they are conflicting. Unfortunately the url is taken (by someone in the real estate business, not shoe business, she wants $5K for it), but we do have www.madewithpopsoles.com which is what we're using presently.

Caroline Rouben Founder at PopSoles

August 17th, 2016

Thank you all for your advice. Very much appreciated. I will do some careful thinking...

Gwendolen Long Senior Counsel, Transactions at Citrix

August 17th, 2016

Depending on the state in which you form your company, changing its name can be a very inexpensive, quick and simple process. If you want to preserve max flexibility, you can go with PopSoles, Inc/LLC for now and change the corporate name in the future if you add products or decide to pivot.

Peter Crane Managing Director at Remington Capital

August 17th, 2016

If you plan to sell things other than swappable heels, you should have a master brand name so there's not confusion between PopSoles as a stand a alone product and PopSoles and a marketer of several unique products. If you're pretty sure you're only aiming to sell heels with this brand, it's likely best to name the company after its flagship product. It's a catchy name which is good. Best of luck!