Brand Consistency is very important and one often overlooked important asset is your brands domain name!
Domain names are becoming even more important (and expensive) now as the internet continues to grow. The fact is, people simply assume you own the matching .com (in the vast majority of cases) to your brand. This not only matters for your web visitors and brand consistency but also for important email communication and securing your brand.
Consider this “what if” scenario.
What if your brand name was OpenDoor. You put your blood sweat and tears into your company and brand. You do realize that your not the only “OpenDoor” name in the world and at the time you thought of your domain name, the “best and make sense” domain name OpenDoor.com “was already owned by somebody else”. You settle for second best and choose .io or do an add-on term to your brand name like OpenDoorLLC.com etc.
Fast forward a year or so and one of the “other” OpenDoor brands is rapidly growing, Secures $210 million in funding and is getting a lot of media attention. They acquire the best domain to match there brand from that person who already owned it, OpenDoor.com. Suddenly, you lost your chance at acquiring the best domain name AND now you are forced to rebrand because your suddenly “lost in the mix” of the other popular OpenDoor, over shadowed and creating confusion to what you offer and the other service offers. Ouch! If you thought that upgrade/best domain was “expensive” before, now you totally have to rebrand! That’s not only expensive, time consuming and distracting… it can kill your business!
The above example is real! OpenDoor.com acquired the domain name in May 2014 and is now a popular home selling service. OpenDoor Development Group, also branded simply as OpenDoor is a co-living space provider and operates on the second rate (not professional or trusting) domain name OpenDoor.io, launched in 2013. Not only is the .io company lost in the mix when somebody searches OpenDoor on a search engine, I can promise you that OpenDoor.com is getting a lot of email intended for the co-living company, who’s simply not even getting it! It’s second nature to type .com, not .io or .whatever! It happens.
Securing your brand name as a .com domain name is vitally important! If it seems “expensive” to purchase it from its current owner, consider having to do a rebrand, the email communication you are missing, web traffic, trust and general lost business because you do not own it! If OpenDoor.io had acquired the .com in 2013, they wouldn’t be in the mess they are in now!
Do people and businesses really send emails to a domain name because they assume your company owns it? You bet! Important ones and really, you as the business owner should be ashamed and embarrassed for creating the confusion for your clients and potential clients.
If you call yourself X and your logo is X, your domain name should be X .com! No Question!!!! No add-on words, no .whatever! If you simply can not be X, don’t brand yourself as X! If you need to be XY, then brand yourself that way or you are creating unwanted confusion.
I have used this example before, but I will once again use it. GutCheck, the agile marketing research company based in Colorado. They have some $20+ million in funding, and use the second rate, add-on type domain name GutCheckIt.com. Yet the company is branding itself something they are not on the web, GutCheck. The logo is GutCheck, they refer to the company simply as GutCheck, yet they create the confusion by using a different, unnatural domain GutCheckIt.com. Such a mistake!!
Although the company feels they have become “well established as a business entity under the GutCheckit.com domain”, they are missing the boat. They are lacking brand consistency for one and they are missing LOADS of important email communication.
For an example, on January 10, 2017 a fortune 50 company attempts to contact Brian from GutCheckIt as he got his name from somebody within the company (aka a referral) and needs the services of “GutCheck” for naming two new home services offering. The email goes to firstname.lastname@example.org and they don’t see it. A follow-up email comes January 11, 2017 with a bit of urgency and asking to set up a quick call. Again, goes amiss due to the confusion the GutCheck brand has created by branding as “GutCheck” but using a different domain name than it brands itself as.
The same rings true for GutCheckFitness.com, who have email flowing into GutCheck.com. The same for GutCheckApp.com, the same for Gut-Check.com, the same for GutCheckPress.com, the same for GutCheck-usa.com, GutCheckYourself.com, GutCheckRide.com and the hundreds of other “GutCheck” related brands / services.
How about a smaller company, Affinity Escrow Services for an example: See, they relate to themselves as simply Affinity Escrow, yet they do not own AffinityEscrow.com. I DO!
People simply assume they own AffinityEscrow.com yet the company uses AffinityEscrowServices.com! Mistake! Missed emails, created confusion!
Want proof that people assume they own the domain? Sure:
Need more proof? Sure
I could show you thousands of emails like this that missed target and they are because these brands are not being consistent in there branding efforts and are creating confusion but using a different domain name than what they are branding as. Be consistent with your branding and this includes your domain name!