In these times of digital innovation and hype, it can be hard for a business to know which trend is worth following. When ICANN announced an expansion of available generic Top Level Domains (gTLD) in 2012, it opened up an innovative new opportunity for brands looking to change the way they presented themselves online. Who would take the leap?
With the cost of an application so high, it was largely the biggest brands who took the initiative and applied for their Dot Brand. Additionally, the short window of time for applications to be submitted meant that some organisations missed the boat; just one third of total applications received were for Dot Brands in 2012.
That said, some of the world’s biggest names moved quickly and secured their own Dot Brand. The roll call includes Google, Bentley, the BBC, SNCF and Canon. Financial institutions are also well represented, as are luxury brands including Chanel. These companies now serve as an advertisement to others by demonstrating the potential for use and the benefits a Dot Brand can provide a tech-savvy business.
No exact date has been set for the next opportunity to secure a new gLTD, but plenty of organisations will already be wondering why they should follow in the footsteps of Google and apply for a Dot Brand. What are the real benefits to a business from a branded domain – and is it worth getting involved? Here are three compelling reason why the answer is yes:
A brand’s survival depends on reputation. High profile scandals of recent years – such as the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica furore – have clearly shown how quickly a brand’s reputation can sour, regardless of business size and influence. Brands must work hard to maintain the relationship with their customers and meet the expectations of an audience that have an increasing number of alternative (and sometimes cheaper) options available in the online space.
A Dot Brand complements the way in which we search for our brands online and allows companies to better integrate their various websites in different countries. It also demonstrates the brand’s commitment to a next generation of digital engagement, tapping into unique marketing opportunities (e.g. pop.swatch; next100.bmw, thepredator.fox) and signalling to customers that the organisation is forward-looking with a finger on the digital pulse. Reputation is also boosted by…
Operating from a Dot Brand is a more secure way for businesses to manage their online space. While domain endings such as .com allow scope for copycat registrations that tweak a letter or two to fool vulnerable customers, there is no space for error with a .bradesco or .barclaycard domain ending. Phishing scams sent via email become harder to pull off; a welcome fact for consumers.
A Dot Brand also gives an organisation a quick way to flag authenticity online. Customers will know they are on a secure site owned and run by their favourite brand when they spot the unique domain. This counts for a lot in a time when privacy and fears about online scams remain sky high with customers.
When an organisation registers their personalised Dot Brand, they retain control over all domains registered to that name. This provides flexibility for use and application, simplifying the process of creating new sites that live within the Dot Brand, such as Canon creating in.canon and ph.canon for use in India and the Philippines respectively, while operating from the main site of global.canon.
Uniting all the disparate business areas and/or countries of operation under one name helps maintain brand consistency throughout a customer’s experience with the company and its products. It also offers scope for targeted marketing and the creation of short-lived sites to serve a specific advertising campaign (such as assistmoneypenny.sony being created to help promote James Bond).
Preparation is key
Unlike buying a standard domain name, Dot Brands require much more planning for successful deployment. In addition to completing a lengthy application form, businesses need to have the capacity to manage their own domain, whether in house or with a third-party registry service provider.
Thankfully, there is help available from organisations like Nominet to manage the process on the behalf of an organisation, both from application through to deployment of registry services, allowing a Dot Brand to become a realistic prospect. If the business benefits have proved compelling and you are already plotting the potential of your own Dot Brand, now is the time to act, as the second round of applications is likely to be upon us around 2021.