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New year, new domain?

Friday, January 9th, 2015 by LRoderick

2015 will bring new opportunities for digital marketing with thousands of new domain name suffixes coming onto the market. Trademark Clearinghouse worldwide project manager Jan Corstens explains how to make the most of them

Everyone’s fighting for online presence. Domain name extensions didn’t seem to offer much help until recently. But a new programme spearheaded by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is changing the face of the domain name marketplace – by introducing more than 1,200 new domain suffixes to the internet.

Brand specific extensions and even foreign-scripted suffixes are up for grabs over next few years. So what are the opportunities and threats to brands? Here are some pointers to help navigate the new domain name programme:

1) Find out which domains are being released, and when

It’s important for marketers to be aware of the different types of domains that are being released, and how each type could affect their brand.  There are five main categories:
– Internationalised Domain Names: where the domain suffix is in a foreign-scripted (.شبكة).
-Brand-specific domains: where brands register a whole suffix, such as .google
– Geographical domains: such as the recently launched .london
– Sector focused: such as .shop or .luxury
– All-purpose domains: such as .world and .link
– Generic domains, such as .club and .cool

Marketers will need to have an idea of when each domain is being released, in order to begin the registration process. This calendar<http://www.trademark-clearinghouse.com/gtld-calendar> maps out rough timescales for all of the new upcoming domains.



2) Identify the opportunities

Brands can use the new domain addresses to increase command of their online presence, and better control their corporate image.  A clothes retailer could utilise the .shop, .luxury or .fashion domains for example to help consumers associate the brand with a specific area of expertise, which has a valuable effect on revenue. The new domains allow brands to create striking and memorable domain addresses, and demonstrate high levels of consumer trust. A business could use the .secure suffix to further verify the brand’s identity online.  Location and language-focused domains, such as .london, help brands to appeal to a target audience, and allow visitors to know they’re what the site is likely to deliver.

3) Identify the threats

Protecting your brand’s identity and trademark should be uppermost in your mind. The new domain programme presents three main areas of threat which need to be negated. All three threats below pose significant damage to a business’ reputation online, so brands need to be vigilant. Unhappy or disgruntled customers can damage your brand by registering domains such as yourbrand.sucks, or yourbrand.WTF 
Domains to keep an eye on: .sucks, .gripe, .exposed, .cheap, .adult, .porn

Phishing threats are on the rise, and criminals could register your brand against a new domain to masquerade as you, and steal customer identities or passwords.  
Domains to keep an eye on include .group, .solutions, .online, .finance, as well as domains that could be registered and used for the sale of counterfeit goods using your brand, such as yourbrand.cheap. Keep an eye on .shop, .deal, .discount.

4) Protect your brand

Brands need to ensure they have complete overview of how their name is registered and used online. The first step is to register their trademark in the Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH). Set up by ICANN, this is a single database of registered trademarks which offers protective mechanisms tailored to trademark holders.

Registering your brand has two distinct advantages. You will have “first dibs” on registering new domains related to your trademark, before the domain registration process opens up to the general public. This significantly minimises the chances of cybersquatting, where third parties seek to exploit your brand name, or masquerade as you online. Second, having registered in the TMCH, brands are notified if anyone else attempts to register a domain using your trademark. You will then have the opportunity to take swift and decisive action if there is a breach of trademark ownership.

The new domain programme is expanding the internet significantly, and the opportunities for brands and their marketers to bolster their online offerings are numerous. That said, there are pitfalls and threats that can prove costly for brands to correct, and they need to be aware of the protective mechanisms that are in place to prevent damage to trademarks and reputations.

Real-time marketing: to bite or not to bite

Monday, September 8th, 2014 by John Manning

Brands and the marketers, comms specialists and PRs that marshal, guide and protect them are now living within an “always on” social media ecosystem.

Long gone are 9 to 5 office hours; for social media and marketing teams, if the lights are on but no one is at home, you could be missing a trick. But how do you know what opportunities to take and which to leave alone?

Jumping on the back of an event just for the sake of it isn’t always right for the brand and your hard working attempts could have a negative, rather than positive, impact.

I clearly remember the time when the “always on” approach was cemented into the psyche of marketing teams across the globe. On February 3rd 2013, people all over the world were watching one of the most famous events in the sporting calendar, the Superbowl.

During the third quarter of the game, the lights went out and what happened next hit the social media history books as one of the best reactive social media campaigns to date.

Oreo’s world famous “You Can Sill Dunk in the Dark” Twitter campaign was the brand’s real-time marketing reaction to a widely talked about blip during the event.

And since Oreo succeeded in a number of ways, more and more brands adopted this approach and it was no surprise that many took the opportunity before the World Cup to plan for the unplanned. But while real-time interactions and the speed at which a brand reacts can provide huge rewards and opportunities; it can also create grave dangers.

Using the Luis Suarez biting incident as an example, we used our survey tool to conduct one in a series of surveys that ran during the World Cup to gauge the general public’s perceptions of Suarez and the brands associated with him. The survey results suggest that there are three appropriate courses of action that brands can take should they wish to implement any kind of real-time marketing activity:

Don’t react

It might be tempting to get involved, especially if you are seeing others doing it; but is it really worth clutching at straws and will the outcome be positive? If in doubt, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Will your audience gain anything?
  2. Will your audience care?
  3. Is it the right subject to pursue?

I was on the tube home one evening after the Suarez biting incident and saw an advert on the back page of the newspaper. One particular brand had jumped on the story but the product had absolutely no relevance to the incident. As a result, the brand in question immediately went down in my estimation and I was left feeling confused.

React, but don’t follow the lead

As soon as the Suarez biting incident took place, brands had exactly what they needed to work with, a situation and a concept. The situation in question was the incident, and the concept was the action: the bite. Countless brands jumped on the bandwagon and got involved in the slew of jokes on Facebook and Twitter, most creating images of products with a bite taken out of them.

By the time I had seen the tenth image of a product with a bite taken out of it, or read the twentieth tweet from a brand telling Suarez that he should have taken a bite out of their product, I was bored of it. I wanted to see something different, or nothing at all.

React, with purpose

This is where using evidence to make an informed decision can come into play. The Suarez survey data revealed that more than a third (36 per cent) of consumers changed the way they perceive brands associated with Suarez and that 40 per cent would be less likely to buy products or services from brands that continue to sponsor the player.

With this sort of insight, brands are able to make informed decisions as to whether to act and, if so, in which way.

So what can brands learn from this? If nothing else, it is a lesson to determine the ways in which evidence can be used to help make better, more informed decisions.

If a poor decision is made it could have a negative impact on the brand and fail to resonate; on the other hand, it could provide a fantastic opportunity to say something meaningful. Whatever the opportunity, be sure not to miss it.

 

Multichannel is about persuasion

Monday, August 11th, 2014 by Guest blogger

There is a common misconception in modern post digital marketing, which stems from a view that because it is difficult to track which media and devices a consumer uses, it’s difficult to ensure they’re always getting the same message. (more…)

New CIM qualifications explained

Friday, July 18th, 2014 by Guest blogger

“Change has always been on the agenda, but never has it been quite so profound.”  (more…)

Time for consumers to switch off?

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014 by Guest blogger

 

Engagement is always high on the list of marketers’ agendas, and is usually a KPI to measure campaign success. Yet, what does it really mean: to capture consumers’ attention, or gain their interest? And for how long? Is this a two way thing? Is this really what marketers should be striving for as an end in itself? (more…)

What lessons in digital can we learn from our top performing sectors?

Thursday, May 8th, 2014 by John Manning

As the economy shows signs of stabilising, it’s interesting to look back as well as forward – reflecting on the industries that have pulled us through the past six years of austerity. (more…)

Unleash the power of omnichannel

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014 by Guest blogger

The rise of ecommerce and the development of mobile devices have transformed the retail sector – consumers can now search and shop at their convenience, anytime, anywhere and even simultaneously through different channels. (more…)