Brand TLDs & Digital Strategy
The Brand Registries of 2015
I enjoy all the end of year prediction articles. It is fun to think about what is likely in this hurly burly, anything can happen world we live in, so I thought I would put one out there to start the new year.
“2014 is over and smart marketers know that they need to get ahead of the trends and anticipate relevant new products and services. If not, they will be devoured by their competitors.1” Andreas von der Heydt, Head of Kindle Content at Amazon
This is a great opening line to Andreas’ post on LinkedIn a couple weeks ago. Simple and True. YIKES!
Next steps are not simple. Andreas goes on to describe many areas where the Best Brands will act. Brand marketers will identify and set actions to best achieve business goals for next quarter and next year. My favourite and maybe the most challenging is the first: “Brands must be the best in Focusing”. How is that possible in what is a digital kaleidoscope?
When I speak with executive marketers at large brands, they are busy driving the plan with dozens of balls and risk mitigation actions underway. They find it hard to take time, properly consider the future and get focused. They, we all, struggle with the pace of digital marketing change. While change can be fun, there are so many options and trend lines to consider, interconnected parts and it is moving at digital innovation speed. Big brand digital leaders are in Catch 22. They know they need to move fast. They also know their organizations are slow. By the time a decided strategy is ready to rollout, that train has often left the station. Digital leaders therefore must make early bets, many quarters in advance and really guess where best to focus and invest. Those that guess and then execute best, beat their competition and WIN!
What technologies and platforms? How many dollars here vs. there? It is getting tougher every year to pick the right trend line and hop on. Brands are forced to this path because traditional engagement and delivery models have broken down and what they did last year is, well, so last year. The web is in a constant cycle of formation, destruction and reformation. One day social service A resonates for a target market, then it fades or evolves and no longer works; then service B catches fire. The increasing complexity to manage all the communication vehicles and social ecosystems to deliver coherent, consistent messaging and engagement is a daunting challenge. For example, how does a marketer manage change when a third party social ecosystem of choice lags innovation or adjusts its business model? The brand digital team is forced to recalibrate and dilute its focus and spend across yet another 3rd party social platform.
Add to that, a brand’s target market is constantly moving from social space to the next. Here today – gone tomorrow. It is fluid. Social services aggregate and fragment markets all at the same time. With the benefit of hindsight, we will see the life cycle we are living through today. For now, brands are in constant pursuit to catch up to their target markets in a digital game of ‘market chase’. It’s tough sledding.
ENTER THE BRAND REGISTRY.
In a BRAND REGISTRY, brand marketers will DESIGN THEIR DESTINY in a space they control, they secure, on their timelines, with their customers, partners and channels. Because brands own it, they will gain long tail ROI from investments made today and tomorrow as they progress and build a dynamic long standing ecosystem asset that is brand authentic and controlled.
In 2015, it will start. It will be year one in a multi-year evolution where brands begin to take back digital control and start to invest and build ecosystems in their own proprietary BRAND REGISTRY spaces. There are many new capabilities in owning a proprietary registry; CONTROL, SECURITY, BRANDING, VISIBILITY, NETWORKING and others. Smart brands will learn to extend these spaces to third party audience rich platforms with the FOCUSED ANCHOR on the BRAND REGISTRY asset. They will influence from the registry out to social circles and draw the influenced in, to the TRUSTED registry where customers and prospects can be engaged and nurtured.
If you have not heard of this change; search “ICANN New gTLD Program”. It is an extraordinary name space taxonomy shift. It is underway now and it is quite compelling for digital marketers who are paying attention. The BRAND REGISTRY solves the challenge of ‘market chase’, replacing it with the benefits of ‘destiny market design’.
So here is my prediction for 2015 and an impact for the future
After several years in the making, the BRAND REGISTRY will emerge mid to late year, driven by a handful of leading digital brand management teams. The brand value of these companies will increase at a higher rate, relative to their competitors the following year. These digital brand management leaders will be rewarded. All major and aspiring brands will eventually adopt to a BRAND REGISTRY.