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Brands reveal the reasons behind their first .brand domain

By Tony Kirsch
Head of Professional Services, Neustar

With the continued evolution of .brand usage from the world’s largest companies, those of you that have been reading our .brand Industry Reports will know that we’ve been trying to understand the key drivers that are inspiring this change.

Some are looking to revamp their digital identity with their .brand, but in many other cases we’re learning that the desire to utilize a .brand comes from a diverse range of motivations and from differing areas of the business.

Taking the leap can be a challenge, so what prompted that first domain that got the ball rolling – and what can other brands learn from this?

Here’s just a few anecdotes from our recent client discussions.

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1. We saw an opportunity to save large amounts of money

One EU-based client told us late last year that the momentum to use its .brand was driven by a last minute concern about the cost of an aftermarket domain to support a new product launch.

Despite undertaking a reasonable amount of awareness raising and education with key stakeholders across the digital, IP and technical teams about the benefits and opportunities of the .brand, this organization was “on the fence” in terms of using its .brand. It wasn’t against it as such, but the motivation to actually begin with the first .brand domain was negligible and simply hadn’t received enough attention to get off the ground.

As management questioned the significant six-figure sum required to buy the initially desired .com domain, the idea of using the .brand resurfaced and was met with enthusiasm when the team realized that the cost was “a few Euros.” The .brand domain was a good compromise given the situation, and that was the foot in the door required to prove its worth.

The takeaway: Using your .brand makes a lot of sense if you can save money on expensive aftermarket domain acquisitions.

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2. My tech team needed something quickly

This was a regular perspective we’ve heard in recent conversations with clients who simply wanted to have immediate access to domains for internal technical projects/activities.

In some cases, this was to provide fast access to domains for urgent testing purposes. In others, it met immediate needs for digital platforms by other departments.

The ability to register whatever domain was needed is also mentioned as a helpful benefit.

“We didn’t have to register a keyword domain, and in some cases we deliberately didn’t so as not to use up the valuable names. But it took us a matter of minutes as there was no issues with availability, pricing or brand guidelines and we could simply execute.”

The takeaway: Domains aren’t just for the public. Look for ways your .brand can smooth internal processes and win the support of potential advocates.

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3. We couldn’t find a domain to support our campaign

Most marketers have run into this challenge at some stage in their career.

A domain manager at our US client recalled the frustrated internal dialogue from the branding team as they were getting close to launching a new campaign. Their research showed that most of the preferred domain options were taken and with a limited budget available, their options were thin on the ground.

“Using our .brand opens a whole new door for our marketing team who now feel like they have a whole range of keywords available to them that we’ve previously not been able to support from a domain perspective. Having the confidence to use our .brand was one of the best things we’ve done and we’ll be using it for campaigns from now on.”

Access to domains is a significant challenge for many organizations, particularly where a product or promotion is likely to generate fraudulent behavior from squatters. Recent examples from organizations like Apple, registering a number of product domains such as applepay.apple, applebooks.apple, appletv.apple and wallet.apple, only reinforce this point.

The takeaway: Everyone loves something that makes their job easier. Position your .brand as a solution to their problem, not a new addition for others to work around.

.brand usage continues to grow each and every week, though it’s clear from the above examples that the motivations behind this usage differs company to company. Understanding these elements may help you with your internal conversations and guide you to an alternative when overcoming these regular business challenges.

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