In a consumer-driven world, branded products are tangible and services are intangible. Brands are born alongside descriptions of their function: electronics, food, furniture, clothing, convenience services—they are all associated with a brand that rolls out a product or service for the consumer to use.
Consumers become acquainted with a branded product and seek to acquire it. The initial introduction can be artificial, e.g. as a sample given away at a publicly available facility, such as a mall, a customer service survey, or in targeted mailings. Or, it can be a gradual introduction alongside existing products and services.
Consumer pursuit of the product or service past its launch indicates the degree of the brand's successful launch.
In the digital world, domains are the extension of a brand and complement it. We are told that generic domain names that consist of dictionary words are the ultimate asset to behold when rolling out a product.
While it's true for a lot of products and services, brandable names have been part of the consumer universe for decades. Pepsi was born in 1893 as a fizzy refreshment sold at soda fountains. It wasn't called "soda pop" or "fizzy cola" because the Pepsi brand was chosen as a new concept, and the product's christening still lasts to this date, despite several variations in its recipe.
In the same sense, brandable domains are brands with a domain extension, able to direct interest and engage with consumers online. Brandable domains can "hold their own" as instant reminders of the product, and are most likely to be associated with a .com top-level domain.
These days, part of the challenge of creating a new brand is the availability of the .com. Rolling out a brand that does not rely on generic keywords, has two consequences: firstly, it can lead to the successful registration of a fanciful trademark or service mark. And second, the matching .com domain better be available!
A properly engaged branding campaign ensures that the domain promoting the brand is registered and developed. While a brand can exist under the corporate name, as a subdomain or as a part of the domain's path, it gains improved traction when a separate domain is out there for consumers to visit and interact with.
Brandable domains are limited only by the imagination of corporations and their marketing teams. They expand the pool of domains beyond the realms of the available dictionary words. Whether they are based on a play of existing keywords, or they are formed by "random" syllables, brandable domains are a marketing tool of unlimited potential.
There is, however, a certain amount of science that determines the potential of a brandable domain name. It has to be visually attractive when designers lay it out on products. It has to be easy to remember, and it should not be confused with another product. It has to be in harmony with other products and services offered by the same company.
Should start-up founders consider coming up with a brandable domain instead of acquiring a single-word or two-word dictionary domain?
Budget-restricted start-ups have many options: go with a less fancy but still generic domain, a secondary TLD, or a payment plan. But they can also try to come up with a brand that doesn't rely on generic keywords.
What if the desired brand's domain is already taken?
Chances are that a great idea has already been thought of by another company or individual. If the domain name is taken, chances are that the registrant is seeking considerably less money than for a single word .com. By selecting a great brandable, the odds of getting the matching .com on a lower budget are higher.
Such a decision should not be made in a haste, however. Brands and product names, along with corporate names, remain for a good amount of time and are hard to rebrand once you turn on the attention of the public eye and the consumers. Brand developers should make an educated, conscious decision when moving onto the realm of brandable domains, and tackle its challenges with the following points in mind:
- Will there be a need to rebrand to a generic domain in the future?
- Is the brand strong enough to carry its own weight and elevate the corporate name?
- Has the brand been tested by consumers as easy to remember and use?
- Are there any related non-brandable (generic) domains available as well?
In a nutshell: Brandable domains can provide a company's products and services with plenty of support on their road to success. Once selected, such domains are ambassadors of the products in the mind of the consumer, and for that reason, plenty of pre-launch research and brandability testing must be performed.
Budget-friendly and generally cheaper to acquire from existing registrants, brandable domains can be part of your company's branding strategy. Reach out to the Uniregistry Brokerage team to discuss our domain name acquisition approach.
The information contained in this blog is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as an endorsement, advice, or opinions from Uniregistry on any subject matter.