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?
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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.

Richard Pearson Managing Director - Experienced executive in Hospitality, Travel, and Transportation. Three Internet travel startups.

August 17th, 2016

Pros and Cons: While it might be a great idea at the launch of your first product to make it the company name, does it limit future opportunity as you add different products??? Just a thought. Scott Pearson

Anonymous

August 17th, 2016

This hits at the core of your business: your brand and how it will resonate with your customers.
Typically, products have their own identity (name) that's backed by company brand. New Balance follows a numeric system, Adidas follows athlete themes and so on. Microsoft Adobe, and Google are another good examplestuff of how products have their own identity but backed by a main brand. 
My recommendation is to follow those proven methods.

Bonnie Crater President and CEO at Full Circle Insights

August 17th, 2016

When doing a startup, keeping things simple can be much more efficient.  That applies to names as well.  Popsoles is a great product name and a great company name.  I agree with Gwendolen -- get the URL asap and build a small Website to establish use right. 

You can expand from there after your first product success.

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.

RP

August 17th, 2016

Hi Caroline;

popsoles.co, .net, .org are available, and there appears to be a .shoes TLD as well.  You may want to consider grabbing some of these.

In terms of mixed messages in branding, perhaps at this stage you could achieve the separation of brand and business while still keeping focus on your key product - something like "PopSoles by ShoeScience" or similar.  Alternatively, PopSoles is "generic" enough that it could mean "popular shoes", so the name works as a company name.

My opinion (which matters 1000 times less than your opinion) is that you _do_ create a company name that is separate, and incorporate that, but keep it in the background.  

Your marketing doesn't have to acknowledge that entity, and if you're pursuing funding you can pitch as a company that is focussed on PopSoles but has a grander vision for other product lines down the road.  So your company could be something relatively generic like "Rouben Fashions" and you'd be OK.  If you create products down the road that don't fit into PopSoles, you create another website and brand launch.  If they're all rockets, you then roll them into an aggregation site that is your company, which then spins out into the individual brands.  Proctor and Gamble has separate sites for products (e.g. bounty.ca) and you could do the same once that line is big enough to warrant.

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)