New 'dot brand' domains to increase customer loyalty
Written by Roland LaPlante, CMO of Affilias
Over the coming year, the Internet will experience its biggest makeover ever. More than 1,000 new top-level domains (TLDs) will join “heritage” domains such as .COM, .INFO, and .ORG. These new TLDs, covering brands, geography and generic concepts — like .DELMONTE, .VEGAS and .YACHTS — are designed to increase innovation on the Web. They will also open up massive opportunities for brands and retailers who want to make it easier and safer for online consumers to find and interact with them.
Many international brands have already diversified their Web presence. By using country code top-level domains (ccTLDs), they’ve created dedicated sites ending in .UK, .DE or .AU. With the availability of new TLDs, however, retailers will be able to get even more specific. Domain names in .VEGAS and .STOCKHOLM, among others, will allow retailers to target consumers by city, offering the possibility of a highly localized online experience for consumers.
Read related articles in Business Review USA
- The top Internet trends SMEs can take advantage of
- 7 marketing trends that will strengthen brand identity
- How to make sure your brand gives off a good impression
Also, with the new domains, expect to see retailers expand globally while leveraging locally based domain names. For instance, Chinese marketplace Alibaba has applied for .ALIBABA in English instead of in Chinese where it is already well known. This suggests that the company plans to continue its global expansion. Conversely, handset manufacturer Nokia plans to take advantage of new domains to increase its presence in Asia. Nokia has applied for the Chinese-language domain .诺基亚(“Nokia”), making clear the company’s ambitions for the Chinese market.
Of course, there will be occasional challenges for retailers looking to own certain domain names, as Amazon found out in its quest to secure the rights to .AMAZON. Countries in the Amazon region have formally objected to Amazon’s application, and this is delaying their plans. However, Amazon isn’t going away empty handed. They have applied for domains like .SHOP and .FASHION, including similar domains in Chinese and Japanese. And other retailers are also finding ways to commercialize generic names. Everything from .AUTOINSURANCE (from Allstate) to .TIRES (from Goodyear) is being used by creative retailers to carve online market share for their brands.
Based on the results of a recent survey, it’s also likely that retailers will invest less in third-party social networks like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Despite the current popularity of these and similar sites, they can end up diluting a brand since the focus moves away from the brand in question and onto the social networking platform.
By diverting energy back to brand websites, retailers can lure customers to online shops with an experience that still feels like it speaks directly to the user. One of the key advantages of these new “dot Brand” domains is that businesses will be able to take back control of their online presence and reduce reliance on social networks for online conversations.
Over the next few years, the Internet is certainly going to look like a different place. While “heritage” domains like .COM and .ORG will be sticking around, the availability of new domain names will offer up space and creativity for retailers to better interact with customers and make the Internet as local a presence as its main street stores.
Microsoft: Building a secure foundation to drive NASCAR
Microsoft is a key partner of The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) and together they are driving ahead to create an inclusive and immersive new fan experience (FX).
These long-term partners have not only navigated the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic with the use of Microsoft Teams and Microsoft 365, but are now looking to a future packed with virtual events to enhance the FX, well beyond NASCAR’S famous Daytona racetrack.
“Together, we've created a secure environment that's allowed for collaboration, but the future is all about the fans”, said Melinda Cook, General Manager for Microsoft South USA Commercial Business, who cited a culture of transparency, passion, adaptiveness, and a growth mindset as to why this alignment is so successful.”
“We've partnered to create a fluid, immersive experience for the users that is supported by a secure foundation with Microsoft in the background. We are focused on empowering and enabling customers and businesses, like NASCAR, to reach their full potential. We do this with our cloud platform which provides data insights and security.”
“Our cloud environment allows NASCAR to move forward with their digital transformation journey while we are in the background,” said Cook who highlights that Microsoft is helping NASCAR
- Empower employees productivity and collaboration
- Improve fan engagement and experience
- Improve environment security and IT productivity
- Improve racing operations
Microsoft Teams, which is part of the Microsoft 365 suite, enabled employees to work remotely, while staying productive, during the pandemic. “This allowed people to provide the same level of productivity with the use of video conference and instant messaging to collaborate on documents. Increased automation also allows the pit crews, IT, and the business to focus on safety, racing operations, and on the fan experience,” said Cook.
“We have started to innovate to create a more inclusive fanbase, this includes using Xbox to give people the experience of being a virtual racer or even leveraging some of the tools in Microsoft Teams to have a virtual ride along experience.”
“These environments are how we create a more inclusive and immersive experience for the fans. We're working on a virtual fan wall which allows people from new locations to participate in these events,” said Cook, who pointed out Microsoft was also helping bring legacy experiences alive from NASCAR’s archives.
“At Microsoft we can take it one level further by letting fans know what it's like to see the pit crew experience, the data and all the behind-the-scenes action. We will continue to improve automation with machine learning and artificial intelligence, from marketing to IT operations to finance to racing operations,” said Cook.
Christine Stoffel-Moffett, Vice President of Enterprise Technology at NASCAR, said: “Microsoft is one of our key partners. They have been instrumental in helping the NASCAR enterprise technology team re-architect our Microsoft systems to ensure an advanced level of security across our environment, contribute to our business outcomes, and focus on fan experience.”