New BMW Site Aligns .bmw TLD With the Company’s Future

New BMW Site Aligns .bmw TLD With the Company’s Future

By Tony Kirsch
Head of Professional Services, Neustar

With every .brand that is launched onto the web, the industry watches closely to examine their strategy, analyse their success and evaluate whether the approach can be replicated and learned from.

We’ve seen a wide range of launch strategies in recent months, from the full transition of www.barclays.com to www.home.barclays, to the BNP Paribas online banking sites, to the promotional site www.play.afl for the Australian Football League (AFL)

By launching home pages, major commerce platforms or significant promotional and initiative-based sites on .brand domain names, these organisations are making a statement about the importance of their .brands in their digital strategy. 

Recently, the German powerhouse automotive company BMW launched a site on its .brand TLD centred on its 100th anniversary and its vision for the next 100 years. The website can be found at the appropriately-titled www.next100.bmw.

There is no denying that the site looks slick, typical of the BMW brand experience. Clean graphics and a unique ‘Interactive Experience’ introducing the ‘BMW VISION NEXT 100’ vehicle are all very eye-catching and make for a site that is certainly fun to explore.

“The choice to launch this site on the .bmw extension conveys a very clear message about the role .bmw will play in the company’s future digital strategy.”

However even more excitingly, the choice to launch this site on the .bmw extension conveys a very clear message about the role .bmw will play in the company’s future digital strategy. 

The whole focus of the site is on the next century of BMW’s business, particularly the new innovations and products it is developing. By placing this site on a .bmw domain name, the company has inextricably linked the .bmw TLD and the opportunity to use the extension as the future digital footprint for the company, to its future business operations.

Put simply, it’s incredibly powerful communication that says ‘here’s where BMW is heading as a company — both strategically and digitally’.

As readers of my other posts will be aware, launching a .brand TLD is a significant exercise in stakeholder engagement and education. Done correctly however, it has the power to unlock significant brand alignment and long term ROI for the organisation.

Understanding your stakeholder map and knowing what each group needs to hear is vital to the continued success of your .brand, and this isn’t possible without a lengthy process of educating and familiarising your audience with how your .brand will work.

It is about slowly getting those who matter to your brand to understand and accept the change — and what we’ve seen so far is that audiences are very receptive to this change if it continues to facilitate brand recognition and ease of navigation. 

The approach BMW has adopted with this site is a great way of providing ongoing reinforcement of the .bmw TLD and beginning a process of communicating about the future of its digital strategy.

The www.next100.bmw website allows BMW to promote its TLD without immediately transitioning existing assets, while providing an intuitive, easily navigated website that will resonate with users and continue to educate them about .bmw.

BMW should be congratulated on this fantastic site and for the commitment it has shown to the .bmw TLD for the future of the brand.

Images: BMW Group PressClub.

GoDaddy acquired Neustar's registry business as of August 3, 2020.

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Canon Takes Its .brand to the World, Moves Its Global Site to .CANON

Canon Takes Its .brand to the World, Moves Its Global Site to .CANON

Canon Takes Its .brand to the World, Moves Its Global Site to .CANON

By Tony Kirsch
Head of Professional Services, Neustar

As the .brand movement continues to gain momentum across the globe, this week’s announcement of yet another high-profile .brand launch was fantastic news for the industry. Japanese powerhouse Canon publicly announced the transition of its global homepage from www.canon.com to global.canon and even created a simple, yet powerful image to highlight the innovative move. 

In a press release announcing the launch, Canon stated that the new website leverages “the simplicity of the TLD, which is easy to remember and easy to understand, Canon aims to enhance the Company’s global brand value.” 

It is fantastic to see not only such a significant transition, but one heralded so publicly by an organisation of Canon’s size as it rolls out.

The website at global.canon is a perfect introduction to the concept of the new address: a highly-visual site that opens with a number of stunning scenic photos and the appearance of the web address before the full site loads. This has the effect of reinforcing to visitors that using a new .brand address will return the content they’re looking for in an engaging and easily-navigated environment.

It is particularly exciting to see this launch from Canon, as long time industry watchers will recall that Canon was the first brand to publicly announce its intention to apply for a .brand TLD way back in 2010. In a press release at the time, Canon explained that the .canon TLD would allow the business to “globally integrate open communication policies that are intuitive and easier to remember compared with existing domain names such as ‘canon.com.'”

“It is fantastic to see not only such a significant transition, but one heralded so publicly by an organisation of Canon’s size as it rolls out.”

It is particularly exciting to see this launch from Canon, as long time industry watchers will recall that Canon was the first brand to publicly announce its intention to apply for a .brand TLD way back in 2010. In a press release at the time, Canon explained that the .canon TLD would allow the business to “globally integrate open communication policies that are intuitive and easier to remember compared with existing domain names such as ‘canon.com.'” 

With such a public statement made at that early stage of the new TLD program, the rollout of global.canon essentially acts as Canon ‘making good’ on its promise — and goes to show the complex and time-consuming process required to get a .brand to launch. From an enthusiastic announcement of its intention to apply, to a major transition of its homepage, the road to launching .canon has taken just over six years.

On a more personal level, I can assure you that my work with other major .brand applicants has shown me that the level of support and strategy required here to execute this sort of change shouldn’t be understated.

Canon’s alignment of the .canon TLD to its brand value and marketing and communications strategies shows that from the outset, numerous aspects of the business had a stake in what happened with .canon. It reiterates the importance of stakeholder engagement and communication in ensuring this valuable digital asset supports organisational goals and has buy-in from all the relevant parties — and illustrates how long this process can take, even with the best of plans. 

Canon’s new .brand website is a significant step towards familiarising the average user with the .canon TLD and clearly demonstrates its importance in Canon’s future digital strategy.

Many other .brands may not have the desire or ability to completely transition from their primary domains at this point, and will embark on other, gentler approaches such as redirects or promotional names. This is a perfectly acceptable strategy and in many cases, can add just as much or even more value to the brand and their performance.

Canon should be commended for this bold move as this TLD is definitely going to be one to watch. Importantly, it is another wonderful example of the opportunities for .brand owners and helps to continually push the industry standards on this digital branding revolution.

GoDaddy acquired Neustar's registry business as of August 3, 2020.

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Australian Football League Kicks Off Sporting Code .brands

Australian Football League Kicks Off Sporting Code .brands

football-field-afl-play

Australian Football League Kicks Off Sporting Code .brands

Aussie rules football has become the world’s first sporting code to launch a .brand Top-Level Domain.

By Tony Kirsch
Head of Professional Services, Neustar

I can’t lie — I absolutely LOVE Aussie football and have kicked a ball around since I was three years old. 

In fact, I always will. My ongoing love for the game is as certain as death, taxes and the fact that my beloved Melbourne Demons club will give me both incredible highs and heartbreaking lows each and every year.

For most Aussies, a sporting life is very much the way of life. We are incredibly passionate about just about any game and spend countless hours either with the family on the couch or in a stadium passing on encouragement (and sometimes frustrated advice or constructive criticism) to our teams or favorite players.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve developed different passions and from a professional perspective, a particular love of disruptive technologies. Not just ideas that are disruptive for the sake of it — the ones that leave an impact for future generations, the ones that people wonder why no-one has ever thought of this before and embrace for decades thereafter.

play-afl-website

Today is one of those wonderful times when you get to blend your professional and personal passions.

In 2009, I first met with the Australian Football League (or AFL), the most popular spectator sport in the country, about the possibility of acquiring the .afl Top-Level Domain.

“Footy” is an Australian institution, with approximately 100,000 fans attending the AFL Grand Final each year and around 3 million viewers tuning in on television. To put this in perspective, Australia’s population recently hit 24 million, so we’re talking 12.5 percent of Aussies watching a single sporting match. Domestic participation in the game — including local and regional competitions and programs across the country — has been recorded at greater than one million.

As one of the largest sporting organisations in the country, the AFL is a recognised and much-loved brand in the Australian market. Its programs to engage with the community, increase memberships and bring more people into the game are extensive and often innovative. 

This week, the AFL launched a new website to encourage participation in Australian football — a grassroots-focused resource now hosted on its new .brand Top-Level Domain — www.play.afl.

Not only is this is the first website launched under .afl, it actually places the AFL as the first sporting code in the world to launch its .brand. Of equal importance, the launch of .afl places the organisation alongside globally recognised brands that also applied for their TLD, such as .google, .apple and .nike to name just a few.

The .afl TLD provides an opportunity for the AFL to offer a more intuitive digital experience and visitors to any website that finishes in .afl can be assured that it is an official AFL website. 

As well as this, the AFL has adopted a really notable strategy for this launch that is a great example for other organisations looking to launch their TLDs.

With the new .afl extension, the AFL has created a domain name that genuinely compliments its content. In this instance, “play afl” is the clear call to action, both encouraging the aim of the AFL’s campaign and clearly identifying to the visitor what they can expect to engage with when they visit. It will be really exciting to see how that morphs into other areas of the AFL’s business in the future.

play-afl-website

Similarly, the AFL’s decision to launch its .brand alongside a campaign is a clever strategy for rolling out a TLD in an organisation with an enormous and complex digital strategy. Not only does the domain name speak to consumers, but it allows the AFL to roll out and promote .afl whilst retaining the afl.com.au domain as its continued primary source of information. 

Blending your personal and professional passions is a unique position for many to achieve but I feel incredibly excited about the opportunities ahead for the AFL with the .afl extension. More importantly, I guess I’m just a little bit proud to say that the sport that I grew up with and love is driving a global innovation in digital branding that I believe is the future for organisations across the world.

GoDaddy acquired Neustar's registry business as of August 3, 2020.

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www.sonicare.philips

www.sonicare.philips

www.sonicare.philips

Philips, a global electronic goods supplier, promotes their Sonicare range.

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