.brands Spotlight: Audi

The .brands Spotlight series takes a deep-dive into interesting facets of the .brands space, looking at Stats Hub data to find insights about how .brands are being used across different industries, regions and organizations. This Spotlight piece focuses in on automotive brand Audi’s use of its .brand TLD.

Summary

Amongst the global .brands, there are a number that fall under large corporate conglomerates, who applied for .brand TLDs for each of their group brands and products. Some examples include Google (which also applied for .youtube, .chrome and more), Microsoft (.xbox, .skype) and Amazon (.aws, .audible).

Another highly active organization is the Volkswagen Group, which controls a number of international automotive brands, the majority of which now also have a .brand TLD.

Of the VW Group’s .brands, none is more active than .audi – the domain for German luxury auto manufacturer Audi AG. Today’s Spotlight will focus specifically on Audi’s .brand as the largest in the Volkswagen Group’s portfolio of TLDs.

Key statistics

Total domains registered

  • Proportion of active domains (resolving or redirecting) 68%
  • Proportion of overall automotive industry domains 46%

Overall rank by domains registered

Key use cases

Industry spotlight: Creating a consistent brand experience around the world

Templates for dealership branding

A large majority of Audi’s .brand domains are allocated to individual Audi dealerships. These include the likes of leipzig.audi, potthoff-hamm.audi, and hahn-schorndorf.audi.

As with many automotive brands, Audi relies on a network of dealers and distributors, many of which are owned or operated independently. Sometimes, these dealerships are responsible for their own marketing, including website design and management. When visiting the website of their local Audi dealer, users often don’t care or even know whether the dealership is owned by the manufacturer itself. This presents great challenges for these brands in that the customer’s interaction with the brand is out of its control.

Audi’s dealership pages are highly templated, providing individualized contact and sales data while creating a consistent look and feel across the sites. By managing the pages in this way, Audi is able to regulate the way its brand is represented to customers, even when they are interacting with a local dealer.

This also has benefits for customer experience and brand loyalty. For the user, being able to navigate a consistent template across multiple dealerships even on the simplest of searches brings a positive experience and ease of navigation.

In this way, Audi appears to be using its .brand TLD to allow greater centralized control of how its brand is presented, while still allowing a localized experience for customers and dealers in specific regions.

For more on this approach to geo-targeting with .brands, check out our whitepaper: ‘Think global, act local’.

Corporate pages a good starting point for roll-out

In addition to its large volume of dealership websites, Audi has also introduced a number of corporate pages on its .audi domain. These primarily revolve around large corporate programs and individual promotional events, allowing Audi to build dedicated content that does not impact its existing sites.

Some of these are career and employment-based, such as the employee portal at weare.audi, and a recruitment page focused on vocational training and student internship programs at bepart.audi.

Other sites include event-based promotional sites, such as summit.audi which included a countdown and teaser in the lead-up to the July 2017 event, and now hosts information on the product and company updates that were presented. Another example is live.audi, which redirects to information on the Audi MediaCenter about the new Audi Q5 and its #Qriosity campaign.

These mostly function as stand-alone microsites with their own look and feel, but the .audi domain keeps them seamlessly within the Audi brand experience. It also allows for memorable domain calls to action like “We are…” and “Be part…” which strengthen customer experience.

Conclusion

As well as being one of the top-performing .brands by domain registration and utilization, Audi has established itself as a leader by rolling out a very clear strategy of local dealership domains. Based on the similar strategy emerging in Seat with .seat, and the proliferation of the Volkswagen Group’s brands within the industry, this approach is set to become an industry standard for organizations to create branding consistency through an independently operated retail channel.

The efforts of .audi also bode well for the other auto brands under the VW Group umbrella; including Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, MAN and Volkswagen itself, all of which have their own .brand TLDs.

The sheer size of the Volkswagen group, which in 2016 was the second largest auto manufacturer by production and has appeared in the Fortune 500 list of companies, means its impact in the retail, customer experience and digital marketing spheres is significant. The standard set by Audi may prove to be an example for other .brands around the world.

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