Brand Marketing

Case Study: Register Your Company's Domain Name

A world famous chef is planning to open a new restaurant in a few months. This restaurant is going to quickly become one of the top restaurants (probably in the world). Out of curiosity, I checked, and the .com domain name of the exact restaurant name is unregistered.
Here’s the kicker… The restaurant group bought a different (shortened) domain name for the restaurant with a hyphen in the domain name. Guess what. The non-hyphenated name is unregistered.
Ordinarily, I would consider being a good samaritan and grab both names to give to them at no cost. The problem is that if I do this and can’t get in touch with the proper person, I could be accused of cybersquatting, as the restaurant name is not a generic term. Sometimes it’s just not worth taking a chance.
The moral of this is a reminder to register the .com domain name of your business before telling anyone the name!

Jet Blue: Web Deal – Where?

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I am going to go on a bit of a late night rant – my apologies. When I see a good marketing campaign, I do my best to point it out, so others can emulate it. When I see a poor marketing effort, I try to point out the flaws, so improvements can be made.

Before I start my rant, I have to say that Jet Blue is my new favorite airline. For the past few months, I’ve tried my hardest to only fly Jet Blue, which is difficult since they don’t fly everywhere I fly (yet). I love the fact that they have televisions on their aircraft, and their employees are always super friendly. One thing that has always bothered me though is their online reservation drop down menus. They ask for departing and arriving cities, the date of travel, and the number of passengers, which is all pretty standard. My question is why does the # of passenger drop down menu default to zero passengers? Wouldn’t they assume that at least one passenger is flying? I’ve been booted back to the main page for forgetting to change this one too many times. While minor, this is a frustration that can easily be eliminated by thinking like a passenger rather than a marketer.

You are probably asking where is the flaw in their marketing effort rather than their reservation system. Today I received an email from Jet Blue, touting their new wireless access on one of their airplanes. I clicked through to their homepage and saw this: “Featured web fares: $69 each way New York, JFK to West Palm Beach.” Unfortunately, there wasn’t a clear mention of when this is applicable, and I just spent the last 10 minutes searching various travel dates with no luck. I am sure I could call, but I would probably get a “sorry, that’s a web deal only” answer. It’s just frustrating when a company presents an offer but makes it very difficult to find the offer. It’s one thing if they stated the travel dates and you can’t use the tickets on those dates, but it’s annoying to have to scour the website to find it (with no luck).

One company that actually makes it easy to find the special web deals is Greyhound Bus Lines. They offer a link to the special web deals page where you enter the date of travel, and you get the advertised fare. Print your tickets and get on the bus. Piece of cake.

When a company makes a great offer and makes it easy to redeem said offer, they’ve done a great job. The point of direct marketing is to generate a calculable ROI. Jet Blue was able to elicit a response from me, but they made it very difficult for me to book a reservation, so I went down as an unconverted lead instead of a sale. Marketers should think like consumers, and they should make it as easy for the consumer to respond as possible.

Logo Contest: Sahar’s Viral Marketing Campaign

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As some of you know, Sahar has been holding a popular logo contest over at Sitepoint. This contest has become huge, as Sahar has offered $2,500 for the winning logo, and is even offering $1,250 to the person that refers the winning artist to the contest. There is now a YouTube flash video marketing the event. Some of those logos are damn good. Nice idea to add the viral P2P and YT elements:

Calling All Designers…

Top Notch Domains, LLC LogoAfter a couple of years with the same look, I’ve decided to move forward and have my logo and business card redesigned.  I  set up a contest at Sitepoint  to open this to as many designers as possible.  I admit that I got the idea of holding a contest from  Sahar  – Thanks!  

Although I like the current style/concept of my logo, I am looking for something more fresh that uses less black for better space.  I like the skyline, but don’t need the actual buildings (an outline of a skyline would probably suffice).  I would also like a more modern looking font for the name of the company.  I’ve given comments to the designers who have submitted their work so far, so you can get an idea of what I am asking.    

Down the road in the next few weeks, I can also see myself redesigning my entire  Top Notch Domains website,  and perhaps this logo and business card design contest will help me find someone for that project.

So check out my contest and show me your skills!

.Mobi Madness = .Mobi Sickness

Wow…. I just spent the last half hour of my life reading Frank’s, Jay’s, Rick’s and Sahar’s blogs along with posts on a couple of forums about .mobi domain names and my head is spinning. I don’t understand why <some> people who have invested in .mobi feel the need to defend it like they are defending their children or family. Well, I guess I know why they feel the need, but it’s painful to watch.

It’s a freaking extension. If marketers promote it, investors will probably make money. If not, investors better hope they aren’t holding the bag like many of the speculators who bought names in other little used extensions. I don’t want to hear any more about bofa, disney, skype….etc. None of that means squat for 99.5% of the .mobi names that were registered based on speculation.

In my opinion, at best, some mobile-savvy marketers will buy .mobi names for THEIR brand, and some lucky .mobi speculators will make money (not just flipping to other speculators as it seems most of the successful investors are doing). At worst, .mobi is just another choice of extension that is owned by speculators and barely used by anyone.

Bottom line is that you can’t even have a rational conversation with most .mobi investors any more. It’s madness, and its making me sick!

Citigroup Really Gets It!

Citi LogoLast week I blogged about Citibank’s purchase of ThankYou.com to go along with its “Thank You Rewards Program.” While it may seem like the obvious domain name for this program, many corporations simply assume its customers will find out more information about a branded product or service by navigating to the corporate site instead. Last week, I congratulated Citibank on this wise purchase.

I was reading a post on Frank Schilling’s SevenMile.com blog about Citigroup’s branding of Mortgage.com, and I wanted to bring attention to this. Clearly the ThankYou.com purchase isn’t just a one time smart move. There is a strong marketing culture at Citigroup, and its domain acquisitions prove that the company understands its customers’ web surfing habits.

Mortgage.com is miles ahead of any other domain name in the mortgage industry. Sure, Citigroup executives could have said “if a potential customer wants a mortgage from us, they will navigate to Citigroup.com or Citibank.com.” This could have been true, and nobody would really say otherwise. However, the Citi branding of Mortgage.com allows Citigroup to make their pitch to ANY potential customer who wants a mortgage and visits this site. Instead of paying $x.xx or more per click to attract customers to its site, they now own all of these leads. They’ve eliminated the competition that existed, and they don’t have to compete with other advertisers.

It’s so easy, but so many companies just don’t understand this. I can’t say enough positive things about this great purchase.

**Although Mortgage.com was acquired by Citigroup, when they purchased ABN AMRO Mortgage Group, Inc.

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