14 Apr Why not brand for an entire century?
Now a new routine emerges as savvy marketers enjoy cyber-branding using Network Solutions’ latest offer of $1,000 to secure a domain name for an entire century.
Wow, it’s the bargain of the century… only 3 cents per day. Right now it’s the cheapest license in the world, providing the registration rights to your URL; it’s the only gateway to your Web sites and the only key to your cyber-branding in this global e-commerce. Right now global cyber-branding is the only game in town when it comes to global marketing.
Is there a catch? Yes, right here. If you are spending only three pennies a day on a URL but thousands on promotional branding each day, then the question is how good is your domain name? How does it fit your marketing and PR strategy? How is it building your corporate image? Do you really know where you will end up on this long 100-year journey? Is there a plan, or just the blind chasing the blind? Is your team mentally prepared for this marathon? In short, it shouldn’t be a wild goose chase, rather a proper road map.
For each penny spent, there is a million dollar question:
First: Is the name structure good enough to invest a century of branding?
How is a URL composed? What does it convey? How is its alpha-structure and how is it helping its visibility on search engines? How easy or difficult is it to type, remember or talk about? Today, less than 1 percent of domain names could survive a five-star name quality test prescribed under the laws of corporate naming. See if your names can pass this.
A five-star standard of business naming:
To qualify, a name must pass each of the five following criteria to get a star. If it fails at any point, then your name is in serious naming trouble. Anything less than five stars is really a liability wasting valuable branding.
Is your name…
1) Very distinct and very unique?
2) Short, simple with attractive alpha-structure?
3) Highly related to the business?
4) Globally trademarked and protected?
5) With an identical URL?
A majority of domain names are too long, confusingly similar, often totally non-related, hastily composed or poorly alpha-structured. These domains are pushed as cyber identities while seriously hurting branding, marketing and reducing traffic to the Web sites. Many corporate domain names have too much extra luggage consisting of dashes, slashes and numbers. This makes their daily use very difficult and hence they are often forgotten and changed.
“Corporations have difficulties in recognizing the immense powers of a true domain name, a high-value URL is priceless and should not be tossed around like a string of letters,” said Champ Mitchell, CEO of Network Solutions. “While finding globally workable names is another battle all together,” he added, “The future of domain registrations, despite big progress, is getting ever more complex.”
How true, marketers MUST now acquire a comprehensive understanding of how alpha-structures work and how to assess the hidden powers or weaknesses of all URLs they use. Also seek advance knowledge on such matters. Today, webinars on naming and corporate image issues is a new way to get the best expertise with super cost savings while getting internal teams involved without traveling.
Second: How do you measure the visibility of your Web sites for cyber-branding?
How long will the name match to your current branding model? Are you successfully projecting the right images? How are your customers reading your true strengths in your URLs? How and why do you need highly strategic, long-term name branding solutions? Right now, this very second, Web sites are tumbling into each other for lack of distinction and clarity. A majority is modified and names are changed for adjustments. The convergence of technology and mergers are often good enough reasons. Registration technology is also changing and so are the registrars. Your name, along with a professionally structured URL, must fit like a glove onto your total global image strategy. It’s easy to do; all you need is a master plan and right expertise.
Third: Now squatters too can get a 100-year lease, how are you protected?
Corporations are always frustrated with name cyber-squatting. This issue can seriously hinder global expansion and international marketing. How do you cope, as now it becomes a 100-year problem?
What we need is a respectable registration system to recognize properly developed names, filed and registered along with renewable trademarks. When you own a globally trademarked name and a thoroughly researched identical and matching dot-com URL, you also inherit a powerful position against squatters and can easily get injunctions to stop these conflicts. Once again, it’s all very easy to do if you have the right methodology. Naming is not a creative branding exercise; it’s the application of tactical rules of registrations, alpha-structures and global marketing issues. When following the strict laws of corporate naming, names turns into proper icons with global protection, otherwise they are just simply names shared by the many others.
Corporations in Asia routinely plan a quarter century ahead while in the United States, planning a year is considered too long. Centuries and millennia are truly for philosophers and historians to worry about. Corporations are lucky if they can plan their branding past a few years. Now that a 100-year registration issue is on the table, it certainly forces the management to think long term. Developing a branding strategy for 2104 or halfway between sounds like a great start for CEOs. It’s wise to acquire long life names, followed by long-term branding plans, and definitely not in a reverse order. So let the naming start and let the journey begin.
Naseem Javed author Naming for Power, recognized as world authority on Business Name Identities and Global Domain Issues, founded ABC Namebank International in New York & Toronto a quarter century ago… www.abcnamebank.com
The opinions expressed herein or statements made in the above column are solely those of the author, & do not necessarily reflect the views of Wisconsin Technology Network, LLC. (WTN). WTN, LLC accepts no legal liability or responsibility for any claims made or opinions expressed herein.