Branding and domain names
The domain name is an essential component of the global branding strategy. The objectives of that strategy are usually linked to brand protection against cyber-squattting, as well as localization via the ccTLD. The brands tried to have a domain that is as close to the brand as possible – typically brand.com, or brand.fr.
The objective of branding is to improve the short and long term brand equity, supporting:
- A preferential decision by the end user: when offered the choice between two products, the user should prefer the brand over its competitors.
- The acceptance of a premium price by the end user : The user is ready to pay more money because he trusts the brand.
- Engagement of the customer who is happy to promote actively the brand.
Dot brand and branding
Over 500 brands have applied to use their name at the top level of the domain name structure, where one usually finds .com, or .fr. This opens a new panorama, where any domain name registered by the brand in a domain name is naturally branded. BMW has launched the site next100.bmw that celebrates their hundredth anniversary. This article looks at all the activity of the brands and how they actually use the domain names to enhance their own brand and the image that the customers and prospects have. Some brands use the domain names to associate their brand with positive concepts, such as social-innovation.hitachi, which positions the brand as an innovator in the social field.
Other brands have shown their proximity to the customer at a more granular level than the ccTLD that was as a global country level. MMA, the french insurer, has created domains for every one of their agencies in France – every village in france now has their .mma domain name.