Brand Loyalty and Domain Names

March 30, 2010 at 4:09 pm 1 comment

I just finished reading an interesting post about “building an army of brand loyalists” on the CityMax Blog, posted by  Grasshopper’s Ambassador of Buzz, Jonathan Kay. The post got me to thinking about the power of a domain name in building that buzz that Jonathan (and Grasshopper) is famous for (click here to read their coming out party and one if my favourite examples of buzz building).

For those that don’t know Grasshopper, they are the group that sent 5,000 chocolate-covered grasshoppers to key influencers across North America. They are also the ones who still make my hair stand up every time I watch their video about Entrepreneurs Changing the World.

A large part of the value of a generic domain name comes from the emotion or understanding that it conveys to your audience. Over at TeeTimes.net, people instantly get that which we do: we do golf tee times. But what about Grasshopper? They don’t sell grasshoppers. Yet still, as a generic domain name, it is a very powerful.

I wonder, would Grasshopper have the brand loyalists they do were they still called GotVMail? I mean, they still could listen to their customers, add value, and the rest of the points made by Jonathan, but would they still have as many loyal followers? Personally, I don’t think they would have.

Unfortunately, branding of this sort is one of those things that can’t happen in a vacuum and use normal scientific methodology (two identical companies, each executing the same strategies with the same product lines, and the same principles driving the company). I guess this is one of those philosophical chicken-and-egg type questions. What came first: brand loyalty or the domain recognition?

I think one of the points that Jonathan made is very important and it relates back to what we are doing at CityMax.com. Jonathan wrote:

“…The more you know about your customers, the more likely you will be able to set them up with other customers who might be able to help each other out. That is a memorable connection. Here at Grasshopper we have gone as far as to set up a formal program: Tell Us Your Story. This gives our entrepreneurs an opportunity to tell us what makes them unique, and how they are changing the world. Not only do we promote them to the media, but now we also have real stories and examples of entrepreneurs living their passion. Actively trying to help your customers businesses grow is a definite way to create a brand loyalist.”

At CityMax.com, we have been promoting many of our small businesses to media and to other customers (and we will be doing even more so in the coming months). We believe that “every website tells a story” and what makes the story interesting is not the website itself or the CityMax.com website builder technology driving the website, but what the individual entrepreneur was able to accomplish with the tools. One such good example of this was the “Homepreneur of the Year” award that CityMax.com handed out last year to Marco Barberini. Marco’s story is inspiring to other entrepreneurs.

So what do you think? Would Grasshopper have achieved brand loyalty under the name GotVMail?

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Entry filed under: CityMax.com, domain names, Ramblings. Tags: , , , , .

Happy New Year! Now back to blogging about marketing, entrepreneurship, domains, and life in general Is IBM building a SPAM list using Jigsaw?

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Dave Conklin  |  March 30, 2010 at 11:11 pm

    First, thanks for the mention…

    Second, I think you’ve got an interesting conversation here. We have the same one internally a lot. I will never forget grasshopper because of the major impression that they had on me. That doesn’t happen with exact match domains and such.

    However, I think it really matters on your product and/or service. There are some occasions when you need your site to spread virally. We’re working right now with a site that is all about men’s interests. This isn’t a site that’s likely going to spread with organic search as well as it will viral.

    On the other hand, if you have a credit report site or something, it’s likely to spread very well with search marketing and you’d want a more “keyword focused” domain.

    So, no… there’s no way that gotvmail would have attracted me like the grasshopper thing did.

    Great post.

    Reply

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