Helping startup business make sound branding choices is my passion. Talking about branding startups is also high on my list of things I like to do, so naturally I was enthusiastic to speak to a room full of 75 web entrepreneurs NamesCon 2017 about branding. Many of the entrepreneurs were domain investors, so my message was to two audiences.
I spoke primarily as if I were speaking to a room full of startup businesses. I spoke about the importance of insuring that every brand name and every domain name being considered for branded a business, to first pass the radio test. If the domain cannot pass the radio test, it fails, should be dropped from consideration, so more time can be allotted to other names being considered. I stressed that a name which fails this critical test, will cost the brand holder in lost traffic and wasted marketing dollars over the lifetime of the brand. To support my point, I had the audience participate in an interactive game with me. I read an actual radio ad using a real domain name. I then showed the audience a selection of four domains that phonetically sound the same as the domain name used in the commercial. One selection was correct, and the others were fake name. In the first test, only 15% of the audience got the domain name right. I repeated the test with a different commercial and domain. In this iteration, only 5% of the audience got the domain right. Those numbers are staggering folks! This exercise used real domains and businesses using them were real. They are spending real money wastefully. This happens every day for too many companies to count. Lets hope we can influence a few new ones to make better decisions before they brand.
After drilling home the reasons why to invoke the radio test on any domain being considered, and discussing the seo impact of a domain name, and the topic of trademark protection of a brand, I flipped the conversation to domain investors who too often invest in domain names that nobody wants. They too need to consider the types of names that work well for businesses in a branding capacity or for special purpose targeted landing pages. Holding onto investment inventory that fails the radio test, and expecting it to be marketable is not smart – unless the name is going to be used for something other than a website or landing page. These type of names may work well for pay-per-click networks, or email, or a personal blogging site – but not for branding a business.
If you want to see the middle core of my presentation, please view the video below.