Posts tagged ‘citymax’

Brand Loyalty and Domain Names

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?

March 30, 2010 at 4:09 pm 1 comment

Happy New Year! Now back to blogging about marketing, entrepreneurship, domains, and life in general

My how time flies when you are having fun! I can’t believe that this small business blog was starting to go the way of so many abandoned blogs, having not written anything in more than 8 months. So this post is a little bit of a catch all catch up.

I stopped writing those 8 months ago after accepting a position within CityMax.com to bring ideas and passion into the 10 year old company and join on for what was promising to be a most “excellent adventure” (to badly paraphrase Keanu Reeves) — another guy from whom you haven’t heard anything intelligible from in awhile.

Officially, the job title on the business card reads “VP Marketing”, but in reality it might read “Entrepreneur-in-residence-and-the-guy-who-helps-coach-the-marketing-and-sales-teams-about-marketing-sales-pr-domaining-ppc-seo-and-other-hats-as-required”… But that might not have fit on the business card.

I am still involved in other startups of course. TeeTimes.net, my golf tee times and reservations company, is still going and growing well. Texts.com was sold off. Other ventures are percolating slowly. In fact, it is mandated at CityMax that all employees must also be entrepreneurs.

Painted Picture and Vision for CityMax.com

CityMax.com Painted Picture ... It is worth a read.

CityMax, after all, is trying to inspire the dreams of more than one million entrepreneurs through its small business website software (read the CityMax Painted Picture here) … And by being entrepreneurs ourselves, we can better understand and help customers (while seeing Blue Ocean opportunities as they arise).

So why am I back blogging again after such a long hiatus? It is a new year that is full of new possibilities… And I thought it would be such a shame to let all of this pass unrecorded.

To everyone in business, cheers to a prosperous and rewarding decade ahead.

John

January 14, 2010 at 10:27 am 1 comment

The Real Twitter, Courtesy of Guy Kawasaki

I had the good fortune of being invited to attend an EO Vancouver dinner and presentation tonight, featuring Guy Kawasaki (thanks to Dean Gagnon of CityMax for the invite). I had never heard him speak before, but I have been reading his thoughts now for many years and have been reading his latest book, “Reality Check: The Irreverent Guide to Outsmarting, Outmanaging, and Outmarketing Your Competition, off-and-on since Christmas.  I do maintain that he is one of the most influential marketing geniuses of the technology world.

He gave the audience a choice tonight: his standard stump speech, open Q&A, or his rundown on Twitter. The audience voted for doors 2 and 3, and what transpired was a very insightful 2.5 hours of “everything-you-wanted-to-know-about-Twitter-but-were-afraid-to-ask” discourse and conversation (mostly about Twitter).

And as noted from in this post here about my thoughts on the Northern Voice 2009 conference, while I was starting to see the value in Twitter, I didn’t truly see its power as a marketing vehicle until tonight. And while I can see a lot of growing pains erupting over the coming months and years about what the medium can and cannot be used for, its powers are there for all to see. And it is not just because @GuyKawasaki has 97,000 followers [he did self-proclaim himself to be the “Tiger Woods of Twitter” and the fact that he has 21,407 tweets to his credit (approximate 50 per day if you work out the average since he started Twittering)].

Twitter is powerful in that it provides a clear opportunity to spread a marketing message en masse in some instances, while in others, it is one of the purest forms of one-to-one marketing ever to be invented. Person A tweets “I like green apples”. Company A responds “Well what do you know, we sell green apples”.

The marketing message is simple and direct. But then it grows.

Person A replies back to Company A (and to the 1,000 followers of Person A), “I tried your green apples and they were delicious. How about red apples?” Pretty soon, through retweets, engagement, and brand fulfillment, there are a whole lot of apples being promoted [and no… I didn’t intentionally try to create a blog post that would get Guy Kawasaki and Apple mentioned in the same paragraph to boost my SEO].

That may not be the best example, but the possibilities are endless, and whether you are pitching apples or golf courses, the possibilities could be very fruitful.

April 1, 2009 at 1:26 am Leave a comment


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