What is branding?
Well, what is a brand, really? It’s not a logo or a slogan or the colours you choose. Your brand is the sum of others’ experiences with you. When you think of it this way, it’s easy to understand how your brand - whether business or personal - is so important.
Ultimately, your brand is not in your control. It’s in the perceptions and feelings of those you interact with. But don't fret! You can heavily influence how your brand is perceived and deliver an experience that matches that perception to create brand resonance.
When you’re able to consistently deliver on your brand, you build trust, expectations and a relationship. It takes many different tactics to accomplish this, but in an online environment it's your domain that is one of the most important pieces.
Email as branding
Your email address can say a lot about you and your brand. Having an email address with your business domain conveys credibility, savvy and professionalism. Using a third-party provider, such as Gmail or Hotmail, can reduce your recipient’s confidence in your brand. It's simply not as trustworthy.
The first part of your email address (before the @domain) can also convey different connotations and, if you consider them properly, you can better position yourself to give the perception you intended. For instance, if your address is email@example.com, it can give the impression that your company is large enough to warrant identifying first names and last names, since there are or may be multiple Jamies. If you use firstname.lastname@example.org, it can suggest that your organization is smaller (or that you’re just the most important Jamie).
If you use a generic email address, such as email@example.com, it suggests that the recipient may be a group or team – which could have its own positive and negative connotations. As a rule of thumb, generic email addresses are not very good for personal networking. Clever or witty addresses can help express your brand’s creativity or humour, especially if that’s what you want your audience to perceive about you. firstname.lastname@example.org has more character than a generic email@example.com address.Try setting up your professional email now – it’s free for the first 3 months.
Website as branding
It’s no surprise that the primary domain you choose for your website has a large impact on your brand. Your domains should be concise, memorable and descriptive. Usually, people undertake a business or new venture and plan out their branding with a name, logo and positioning. But before you get your heart set on a name, it’s very important to make sure that a relevant domain is available to you and that nobody else is pursuing another venture with the same name or branding. Without securing your domain as early as possible, you risk having to re-work your brand or settle on a domain that won’t be as relevant to your visitors.
The TLD you use is also important. By using your local ccTLD (country code top level domain), you identify that your brand is part of that nationality. By using gTLDs, you can suggest that your brand is generically available worldwide (.COM), an important organization (.ORG), a forward-thinking startup (.CO), or even focused on adult content (.XXX). Your TLD helps your audience understand more about your brand before they even visit your website. It's the first impression that you give - make it count.
Products as branding
If you have branded products or services, particularly if they’re well-known by name over your competitors, it is a very worthwhile investment to secure your product name as domains in relevant TLDs. You can then create specialized landing pages for those products that guide your customers into a sales funnel, either on the standalone site or your main website. You can also re-direct the domains to specific pages or sections of your website. For instance, the address ipod.com resolves to apple.com’s section for iPods.
The lesson is this: your domains communicate an important message about your brand and influence your audience’s perceptions. Your domains are flexible and meant to accommodate a wide range of uses. As the registrant, it’s in your power to register and use them as you see fit: so make the most of it! Start searching.
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