Today, in order to have a commanding e-commerce presence with universal access, domain names must be treated like very special golden keys. Without an effective domain name, the entire exercise of Internet-centric commerce becomes almost useless.
Super success in cyber-branding lies in the sophisticated creation, development and ownership of these powerful and magical keys, so that they may open the door to an undiscovered universe of billions of unknown customers around the world. Without this power and access, what’s the point of being in the race for leadership and image positioning?
It only takes a minute to establish if one is holding that magical key or just toying with a rusty screwdriver.
Domain Names Matter
Domain management strategies have in fact become ultra-sophisticated, and they are among the most valuable components of any ambitious corporation’s strategy for building digital branding assets and intellectual property.
Domain names are no longer small issues to be handled by the logo-centric, slogan-happy agencies or Web-tech teams. They now demand powerful strategic, boardroom-level discussions and a commanding knowledge of global domain registration laws and search engine visibility rules.
But in order to be golden keys and not rusty screwdrivers, they also must serve the company’s branding objectives.
During the dot-com boom, there must have been a million domain names registered each day. Even the most unusual, silly and dysfunctional names were sought-after icons of get-rich-quick dreamers, and 99 percent of them failed.
Exhausted or expired, these names have now disappeared, and along with them, the hundreds of millions of dollars on short-lived Web site campaigns.
Today, however, there are some very powerful, universal domain names that have carved powerful, highly lucrative positions. Their superior and exclusive fluidity on the net demonstrates the global power of e-commerce.
Smart businesses around the world are aggressively in search of such golden keys.
The best approach to universal domain naming starts with a serious audit to professionally measure the strengths or weaknesses of the proposed names. This process is best served by highly objective views.
The primary goal is to achieve power and access for maximum impact. Today, only the very best names will dominate the global marketplace. Weak, confusingly similar, or nearly identical names do not have a chance of surviving the power and ubiquity of e-commerce.
The duplication factor alone will bury most names in complex global listings.
The most expensive Web sites are useless and the best campaigns will remain stuck unless there is a deeper understanding of this subject.
Then there are alpha-structures, which can kill great Web sites and become a liability to business itself. One must have the knowledge to determine the message, personality and length of the name, plus the choice of alpha characters, as each emits its own unique signals.
General branding exercises cannot be mistaken for these complex naming analyses. The strictest application of the Five Star Standard of Naming guards against such expensive busts.
The Google Test
The hyper-visibility of a universal cyber-name is the main issue. A quick search on Google is an instant test of any name’s visibility. To appear on the top or on the first page is the most sought-after position, but only an extremely small percentage can achieve this as most names are poorly structured and remain buried by massive duplication.
With the high cost of promotion and intense global competition, it’s a brand-new frontier. A lot of money can be wasted in creating an artificial bounce in traffic to an expensive Web site, but in reality it’s only those uniquely designed domains that quickly rise to the top with little effort.
Only an in-depth, highly customized analysis will point to the deep problems and illuminate the latest methods to fix them.
Today, it’s about global domainization, as multiple domain names create multiple problems in multiple markets. There are highly sophisticated rules to be followed. Be aware that there are too many fancy services offering sketchy global registration and translation services.
The World Is Your Domain
Domains are for the international audience and global customer base, and companies should avoid serious language issues, such as translations or foreign connotations that may be embarrassing to the company or confusing to customers. Cyber branding is an extremely global phenomenon.
Mind share is more important than market share. Customers need to allow a name brand to settle in their minds before they give out their cash. As such, market positioning is more critical than profit maximization.
The human mind gravitates toward good names; those that are user-friendly and trustworthy. When trying to process millions of silly and randomly structured names, the mind quickly becomes exhausted.
In conclusion, logo-driven branding has fallen into a deep sleep on these complex matters, and there’s no need to wake it up. Currently, with 95 percent of the domain names stuck in traffic jams, a frank and very candid CEO-level discussion is required. Denials and refusal to face up to reality will simply keep a company’s e-commerce presence mired in oblivion — guaranteed.
Today, one needs a very special golden key to open the gates of e-commerce. Now, can we throw away that rusty screwdriver?
Naseem Javed is recognized as a world authority on Corporate Image and Global Cyber-Branding. Author of Naming for Power, he introduced The Laws of Corporate Naming in the 80s and also foundedABC Namebank, a consultancy established in New York and Toronto a quarter century ago. Currently, he is on a lecture tour in Asia and can be reached at[email protected].