JUMP THE CURVE: Part 2: Building and Executing a Brand Top-Level Domain Strategy

Our CEO Peter LaMantia in collaboration with the Brand Registry Group delivered two educational webinars for business, digital and IT leaders. In this latest webinar, Peter followed up from the first webinar, JUMP THE CURVE PART 1: Building a Brand TLD Business Case, walking attendees through a practical methodology to build and execute a Brand TLD Strategy.  We hope you will find it valuable to help empower your organization JUMP THE CURVE to an authentic, secure, controlled, and TRUSTED Brand Top-Level domain space.


The status quo is a stubborn thing.  Yet, challenging it with new ways of thinking is the only way companies can innovate and remain relevant over the medium and long term.  Challenging it requires courage, persistence and unwavering conviction to inquiry and learning.  We are reminded by thinkers and business leaders why challenging the status quo is both difficult and essential.

It’s uncomfortable to challenge the status quo.

Seth Godin

Any business today that embraces the status quo as an operating principle is going to be on a death march.

Howard Schultz

First, you need a vision and sponsorship permission to innovate from leadership. That can be achieved by the Business Case and a peer aligned vision statement. Once you have the ‘permission to innovate’, you need a proven Product Introduction Process to align stakeholders to advance teams through; Ideation, Strategy, Planning and Go-To-Market while addressing and mitigating risks.  In this webinar, we share a facilitation methodology you can use to guide your organization to align on vision, build your strategy and execution plan that will create a competitive differentiator, as your company, “Jumps The Curve” to a TRUSTED and SECURE Brand Top Level Domain space. 

welcome everybody and thank you for joining us on our fifth webinar of the series um i know that uh some of you have joined us before but for those that haven’t it’s nice to see some new faces and you’re very welcome to join us today my name’s martin sutton i’m from the brown registry group which is a trade association for brands that operate their own top level domain or for those that want to and intend to apply at the next opportunity for their own dot brand in our previous webinars if you’ve been joining us we’ve we’ve been jumping and we jumped the curve a few weeks ago and that was very much focused on business case elements um to support you and your organization and help build up the capabilities of your dot brand activities today i’m pleased to welcome back peter lamantia the ceo from authentic web uh to join us and present to us jump the curve part two this is looking very much at the challenges that many face with status quo within organizations but specific specifically around the grant all day and looking at ways in practical ways um to approach and overcome that status quo inertia and hopefully to drive fruitful change for yourselves and your organization in the future so sit back and enjoy what peter’s got to deliver um in the process of the presentation if you do have any questions there is a question box that you can enter in any of those questions and once peter’s finished this presentation we’ll come back to those and cover off any questions you may have okay thanks very much and i’ll hand over to peter thanks peter that’s great thanks a lot martin welcome everybody um so jump the curve part two so we did the first one as barton mentioned on how to build a business case um so we shared some math with you on that and um you know the last one that we did with chris green with this seo i learned a lot of stuff there and actually i’ve taken some of that stuff internally so the purpose of the brd is trying to help equip you with information to help socialize and drive your own brand top level domain success so today we’re going to talk about jump to curve part 2 which is really about the strategy but just for those that may have missed the first one i wanted to really talk about what it means to jump the curve in terms of how high-performing companies move through different technologies or changing environments or introductions of new new products and what how that is really relevant to domains dns brand protection and tls certificates so the first real evolution of this starting in the mid 90s was around just systems to manage these areas and today they’re sort of operating manually in silos ticketing systems etc the second evolution that some companies may have already adopted is really around thinking about automation with workflow audit controls and policy and role-based permissions to help you become more secure more compliant with increasing regulatory authorities and improving the performance of not only your digital footprint but your people the third one that we’re going to talk about today is the brand top level domain or brand registry that is a secure controlled space that you can drive innovation initiatives that’s fully scalable and most importantly that it’s trusted by audience and that’s what we’re trying to help you understand today we know that innovators beat spenders every day so i went around the web and looked at some different market research on this just to validate this and everywhere you look you’ll find that innovators beat spenders whether it’s on revenue margin or market cap so we know that we know that that’s a fact and we think about it we think about spenders as incrementalists so they invest a dollar and they may return a dollar ten dollar 20 um to the company and that works until it doesn’t suddenly things stop working because the the world has moved on but innovators are transformative where they invest a dollar to return two or ten or even more dollars these are the people that are jumping the curve they’re the ones that are driving forward and we know it’s risky not to innovate there’s some great examples that all sorts of business school business cases have been operated on the first one we know is blockbuster in 2006 they had a market cap of 6 billion in 2013 they went into bankruptcy netflix took over and there are other streaming services such as hulu disney prime and others that have really taken over this market blockbuster failed to jump the curve to the new space the other one and maybe even more significant that is kodak kodak was a 30 billion dollar company in 1997 and today it’s a fraction of itself at 90 million dollars where the industry with huge brands have created hundreds of billions of dollars of market value in in innovating digital photography both hardware and software and other types of tools and then there’s a little company we all know called microsoft and in the early days they were driving out office with cds and then in 2011 they introduced office 365 fully digital experience on a subscription-based model and you can see what’s happened to microsoft’s market cap as a result of you know not just office but it’s very evident and obvious to all of us who use office products so it’s imperative that we jump that we drive the status quo away because it’s stubborn we know that we need to innovate there’s an innovation imperative every business school will tell you we’ve been trained in it in everything we do we continue to read research on it we know we need to innovate to disrupt our own space and enter into new markets that we’re trying to gain some traction but we resist change we hear in meetings well that won’t work we can’t do it because it’s too risky we don’t have time so why when we know we need to innovate is it so difficult to push this push against the status quo well it’s simple it’s just because we’re human we’re risk averse we like the comfort of what’s what how we operate today and change is risky for us so that’s why we need leaders we need cultures of innovation that’s brought down from the very top of the organization so for a little inspiration on that i went online to find the favorite quotes on the status quo and i found some really good ones that are worth just reminding us and giving us inspiration that this is true we know it’s uncomfortable to challenge the status quo i like this one that managers accept the status quo but leaders will challenge or the status quo takes commitment courage imagination and above all and i think specifically in this brand tld transformation it’s a dedication to learning howard schultz is a great one any business today that embraces the status quo as an operating principle is going to be on a death march that’s a good one and then ronald reagan had an interesting one that i think describes the current status that we all face managing large portfolios dns and tls that he says the status quo you know it’s just latin for the mess we’re in we know that’s the case we know we need to change and that’s what we’re going to talk about today about how to develop a brand top level domain strategy that is proprietary trusted secure you control it and it’s fully scalable so thinking about the status quo the imperative for change we know we need to do it but still it’s difficult so i thought i’d do a little poll so martin’s going to put this poll up so you can respond to so what are the internal conditions that rank at the top to challenge your ability to plan and deploy a brand strategy so just think about your own organization is it lack of a sponsor or a champion is it general lack of value knowledge or understanding now do we have the poll open there martin yeah okay is it internal status quo resistance like we’re talking about or is it really the fear or risk of unknown or is it something entirely different so just give you a few minutes to think about that and um it’s martin here um peter so the polls up and running uh that’s fine but um i just wanted to mention that you know for those that uh look after and support uh dot brands perhaps just a general feel for for which uh you think is the the biggest uh impact in the list for for your range of clients and that that would be helpful too all righty let’s give everybody a few minutes it’s a difficult thing you know the other could be many things that um you know i sort of created this and i thought well you know all of the above is probably relevant but there might be one or two things that are just clearly um you know above the others so we’re just trying to get a sense of what your views are i’ll share the results now um there’s the results as as okay okay interesting so general lack of value or knowledge or understanding um that’s interesting it’s interesting to me that no one had fear or risk of the unknown that’s good for your brave organizations then lack of leadership of course so very good martin i’ll just continue along let me know when people can see my screen again as back up and running now okay great thanks very much for that it’s interesting to look at that so you know you sort of look at these things and you sort of see a whole bunch of uh uh variety everybody faces similar challenges and it’s difficult to get things done so why adopt a brand strategy when you think about you know the the lack of general knowledge so there’s there’s two areas that i always look at once and on the defense side so on defending your brand for securing your your organization and your network reducing cost controls there are some true benefits there that you can drive out of this the other side of that is the opportunity side where you can develop use cases to drive growth support innovation contribution margin and all the rest of it and that brings us back as a recap from the first business case uh jump the curve that we did and we looked at a few things and quantified that how can you reduce total cost of ownership how can you improve consumer trust how do you differentiate yourself to drive top-line revenue growth or contribution margin so those concepts were quantified into something that you can use internally to be able to support the vision to get the sponsor and and the champion inside the organization and all of that was thinking about a brand tld strategy and first thinking about what you’re doing today if you continue to do what you’re doing today you’re going to continue to increase costs to support the organization with more domain registrations increasing brand protection requirements but if you start to invest in your brand top level domain first internally to get alignment on what it means and what are some of the possibilities are and then starting to educate your market to trust your own brand space that’s the point where you can start to reduce your total cost of ownership and end up in a place five years from now that is a much better place where you have trusted brand position with a lower cost structure it’s something that you own better communications engagement and abilities to improve security and compliance so that’s all well and good to say it but how do we get there so we’re going to throw some concepts on you to hope hopefully will help you internally so how do you do it so the first thing you need is a vision so you’re going to have to develop that and help educate your organization to develop that vision of what it what it can be and in that what you’re seeking to do is to engage with sponsors to get a sponsor sponsored position to allow that permission to innovate and then a business leader champion who’s going to drive them and then lastly and very importantly you need to have some sort of a product introduction process that can be introduced with cross-functional teams that start very simply at gap in ideation where are we today where do we want to be in the future from there developing a strategic plan execution plan and then go to market so that’s the basis of what we’re going to cover and i’ve got a few tools for you to think to help you think about that the vision to the plan how do you get there well first you need that sponsor or champion and then you need a team to be able to execute now the sponsor first or champion first will depend upon your organizational culture of whether or not you can go out and find that sponsor or whether or not you may want to approach different leaders as a champion first but to develop the innovation vision requires you to be able to communicate the status of what’s going on in the brand top level domain space today what are some of the future state visions for where you see the market where you see your your own organization and why dot brand in my view around why dot brand is really around the business case executives respond to numbers how you can reduce your total cost of ownership how you can drive revenue growth or contribution margin opportunities and then it’s the educating the leader side the marketers the brand people the business unit owners that are responsible for p l and we have to remember that these people have a disposition that domains are a pain and they don’t get it it’s just a domain name it’s just a website but because you’re here you understand that the domain and the dns run everything in your business so helping to educate them can be done through a few different means the business case understanding your business objectives or this notion of dot brand iq that i wanted to share with you today as well and then you have to have an ideation team and strategy team and a project methodology something that i call the brand registry introduction path or a product introduction path more generically and the outcome of that becomes an aligned plan that’s communicated and socialized inside the organization that gives you real a real solid execution to be able to go forward to go to market but it all starts with the business right we have to think about the business objectives are first of all what are we trying to do on top line margin how we want to differentiate ourselves and then secondly what are the drivers of that are we trying to drive more customer acquisition are we trying to introduce new products are we trying to upsell cross-sell to drive revenue growth and margin improvements what about web engagement can we improve the response rates or conversion rates and cross-pollinate audiences to create a more more fulsome engagement experience for those audiences and customers that that you’re that you’re selling to and servicing and social engagement we’ve already seen some brands use their dot brand and social and because of the attributes of trust they’ve been able to increase their their click through rates in some of their social posts in brand position who are you as a brand can you use this to drive increasing trust and affinity to your organization and you demonstrate that you are an innovator and a leader in your space then of course security and product innovations using some of the control policies available to you with your brand tld whether it’s dnsec tls monitoring of that space or identification research and development you can use for services or network security and all of this is grounded by how you measure analyze adjust the changes that you implement in your organization so let’s come back to this notion of dot brand iq what is it this is something that occurred to me back in actually 2013 when i started to think about how you how companies and organizations and people inside can understand what they’re doing and where they are today is a brand persona and where they want to be in the future so you think of it as an iq distribution curve or a market adoption curve where you think about what are the business objectives we’re trying to achieve it’s universal that everybody has them and how the brand tld capabilities can be leveraged to drive those business objectives and achieve them and from that understanding you develop the use cases in ideation sessions and strategy sessions and then create an execution plan in your go to market and it kind of looks like this so who are you in this group and where do you want to be we first have the dismissers they didn’t apply they may be applied without knowledge of why a couple of years go by and they decide to let it go then there are defenders many brands applied not sure what to do with it and it’s still sitting there on the shelf with one or two domains up and really not doing anything with it yet and not sure why they should and then there’s the the learner so this is someone who owns it starting to understand the capabilities review they’ve got some ideation going on in use cases they’re starting to apply some dollars and people to understand how they can use it and sort of shifting in towards the experimenter side that are doing test and learn campaigns paying close close attention to the market starting to allocate a few more dollars and more resources to be able to drive it forward then the the innovators who truly understand the capabilities and the use cases have cross-functional teams working together to drive out new experiences and new innovations in digital and then of course there’s the genius eye who are really planning to disrupt their market disrupt their operation to really jump that curve in a big way so the purpose of dot brand iq is to say who are you today where do you want to be in three months six months and then what is that gap in how you’re going to get there we see lots of global brands in action when you look at this sheet of these logos these are leading organizations and you know we had a a presentation a couple of weeks ago by the folks at kpmg that switched everything over there’s a 27 28 billion dollar organization that’s recognized the value and has had good success in driving it forward and other leaders in the industry and remember five years ago we had none of this so we now actually have some businesses and brands that have deployed this that we can all learn from as we go forward so how do we do it so the brand registry introduction path is the idea of moving through a stage gate project methodology to introduce new technologies and products so each is its own stage at the end of that stage there’s an approval point where you present the views the documentation of what to developed as a team that gets approved or it goes back to be reset before you advance to the next stage sounds very much like uh our coven phases as we release as we start to reopen everything i want to explain that a little bit more though so think about these phases so you’re going to go into a phase gap and ideation might take you a month a couple of months and in that you’re doing it with a construct of people who’s on the bus who’s the leader of that bus what’s the story what’s your brand iq what are the use cases what are the business objectives and how you’re going to get there that’s the strategy and the process is this planning around the challenges the systems and everything you need and what’s what kind of budget do we need to drive this out so that sort of looks at the first phase being very simple around the sponsorship the departments and teams external experts if you need them the story again around capabilities objectives the process how you’re going to drive this thing through how are you going to communicate it inside the organization how you’re going to project management it what systems you need how you’re going to measure analyze adjust and always important is the operating and the capital expenditures that you’re going to need to go through so the first part of that and i’m just going to drill into the first one a little bit to give you a sense of how it’s it’s structured is gap and ideation so what’s the mandate of gap in ideation is to develop a vision and alignment with a select group of people inside your organization to develop use cases to support those business objectives and the result of that is an aligned vision as a strategic framework not the full strategy but the framework of what you want to do think of it as you know the uh um the overview or the executive summary of what a full strategic plan could be and it’s a document of vision the business case and the objectives drilling in a little deeper on that who are the people so it’s an ideation team to start it’s a small group of leaders in the organization that seek to innovate whether there’s a champion people from select departments or or profit law centers external if you feel you need them and on the story side what are we trying to do here what are the objectives what are the problems we face today achieving those objectives what are these registry capabilities that could help us achieve those objectives the use case and roi and importantly in the first gap in ideation phase it’s important to ignore the constraints don’t worry about the challenges that will be solved by the process which is really this notion of ideation to go to market where you gain approvals at each stage at the gated gated sections where you get approval to move to the next next next phase where you can have budget approval for the next phase project management and constant adjusting cycle then on the money side what do you need there and it’s small chunk it’s risk uh mitigated and that you’re only asking your organization for a small amount of money that could be internal resources or otherwise to get through gap and ideation and any the next part of the project gets funded by itself from another stage gate approval so that’s the principle that you run through gap and ideation you complete that and then once you complete gap and ideation and you have your approvals you then move to the strategic plan side that’s more fulsome it may include some additional people some additions additional stakeholders in the organization completing the strategic plan getting that approved by the c levels and the business leaders then you say okay we have our plan now we need to do the execution plan now you’re getting into the project schedule you’re addressing the constraints the challenges in the organization of what you need to do to drive this forward and once that’s done you’re off and running you’ve been approved and you’re in go to market and once you get in to go to market you’re off and out in the field and you started that transition and in a cycle of measure analyze and adjust as you go forward with strong backing of research that you’ve done and throughout this product introduction process to be able to support that modification and adjustment as you go forward so i hope that’s helpful i’m going to summarize it quickly there is an innovation imperative to jump the curve we know we need to do it and we need to do it to stay relevant to the market don’t forget about mr schultz’s comments about businesses that do not you need leadership permission to innovate without that people underneath that organization will not move because they have not had that sponsorship to be able to go forward a brand tld strategy really starts with that vision and ideation and to support that you need the business case you must do the math if you don’t do the math you’re not going to get any support to be able to go forward because it won’t have a proper justification to extend spend the money and then it’s about the process the product introduction process and very importantly it needs to be stage gated so you mitigate the risk and you allow for approvals throughout that project planning cycle to be able to move forward and have buy-in from all the different stakeholders in the business and particularly the leaders of the business i hope that’s helpful be happy to answer a couple of questions we wanted to keep it fairly short i’ll be happy to take any any questions if people have some hi thank you so much peter and um i’ll look and check for any questions that come in i’ve i’ve probably got one that i’ve i’ve got if there’s none in the queue so um i mean thanks peter that puts it into a really good sort of structure um to sort of like plan out and move ahead with with changes here so out of all of those um stages um what would you say is the most important factor to make sure that you successfully execute that approach is there a specific area that you think is is the most important i do i think it’s um if at the very beginning if you don’t have that sponsor you’re not going anywhere and with that sponsor you’re going to get a champion and i think i mentioned you know you can either start with the champion who really believes that really wants to innovate here to support you to get that executive sponsorship because you need that to be able to support the cross-functional teams and that permission to innovate in my view on that to get that you need to have the math done so you need the business case done because the numbers will ground the vision in reality to be able to set up the objectives of what we’re trying to achieve so the leadership can then look back and say okay were we successful on this did we achieve what we sought to achieve so in a nutshell you need to get a sponsor at a senior level within the organization okay so if you’ve got that and you want to push ahead so you you start creating all of these um stages that you’re going to go through so you’ve got this sort of gating process so if you were just about to start and prepare all of this do you get a sense of how long it would take to implement tough question because i think it you know the answer to small these things are always you know it depends it depends what type of use cases you’re thinking of um for example if you’re thinking about deploying a new type of technology you know you’ve got to get through development cycles from the requirements side to the specifications use case testing perhaps a beta deployment um and release you know that that could take a year it could take longer on the other hand if you’ve got some digital folks that just want to try out some microsites and do some a b testing against your current um domains that you’re currently running versus the dot brand to see what kind of response you get you know that can be done really quite quickly and i think it’s something that people have noticed that have their dog brand have been able to set things up pretty quickly um i guess the other one on that is you know what’s the cadence it’s the cadence of the project planning so you know are you gonna have um you’re going to have a meeting per week one per week you’ll meet with the small ideation and gap team or is it going to be you know once a month or are you going to meet every day so depending upon the urgency and how you’re going to drive it if you’re really committed and you’re going to do daily check-ins on where you are in your gap in ideation you can move through this pretty quickly but it really depends what you’re seeking seeking to do and how involved it’s going to be i think the you know you think about a full transition the kpmg did you know it took several months um to understand you know what they have what they’re how they’re going to change it the structure and go forward so it depends and it’s up to you how you want to approach this whether you want to boil the ocean or whether you’re going to cut it off in a test and learn or launch something absolutely transformative that’s that’s fair enough because i think the stages still apply it’s just that the speed will be different and dictated by what you want to do so for instance those i saw the slide with a number of um use cases that you highlighted and some of those were perhaps less intrusive on the current digital space so whether where people have used their dot brand for social media as yeah it doesn’t impact their digital space per se and it’s very easy to implement and not disrupt uh what what uh perhaps some people would would feel a bit nervous about first off when they’re introducing a doc brand into play absolutely thank you right i didn’t see any other questions um just one more then in terms of looking uh you you mentioned the kpmg uh webinar that we had a couple of weeks ago um i mean they transitioned entirely so so it’s a huge exercise and one of the things that they were looking at was um the seo and the growth in organic traffic [Music] that they managed at the same time there was this aspect where we’re told that tld itself doesn’t really matter in terms of search engines so there’s some kind of disparities in that have you have you thought about that at all and as to why that may occur yeah it’s interesting you know i listened to a gentleman from kpmg and um and also chris last uh last week talked about seo and even through some numbers that showed that they’re at they’ve actually improved and they’re driving more organic traffic um i kind of think and i’ve heard this from a few companies that have sort of played with this and you know you think about current web presence for a large organization you know there could be thousands of pages there that have developed over a period of years you know microsites tons of legacy content links and some of those things may be detrimental to seo in your current infrastructure so when you start to apply savvy folks and digital with all the expertise that’s going on some of the learnings um just the exercise of doing that it seems what people are finding is they’re finding areas for improvement and to refresh it so what they’re what what i see happening is the web presence isn’t optimized and when they start to think about the transition it’s a fresh look so they’re creating a fresh presence that’s dedicated um you know that when they’re dedicated to recasting you know invariably lead to seo benefits so and then from there you know once they get a re-platform on their dot brand now they’ve got a better seo baseline from which to grow to streamline digital engagement so in a nutshell i think it’s well there’s always been constant improvement in seo and a current platform until you actually look at the entire thing and work to redo it um you know i think i think that’s creating benefit just by the focus on it and you know i also believe that yes the search engines say that it’s not it doesn’t matter today and i believe that but i think that’s chicken and egg i do believe that as more brands drive out digital um engagement experiences in their own space that the search engines will change because the search engines will want to deliver the most authoritative and and the best response to searches that people make and if brands create those in their own space those will start to get ranked further but that’s speculation we have to see what the search engines do in the future based on what we do or brands do to make that make that a reality true true so i’ve got one question here and going back to the poll we saw there was a strong indication that general lack of value knowledge or understanding um was highlighted as uh as one of the the blocking points to their strategies um is there anything that you can uh suggested by way of overcoming that that block well i guess the first thing would be to share all martin’s presentations um you know it’s it’s really around education and my experience so far has been with companies that haven’t applied that are thinking of it if you can get to chief digital officer chief marketing officer you know they get it pretty quickly they’re savvy they’re savvy people you know they they can see the value of an elegantly branded space with a very clear message promotion duck brand and how that could improve them um so just you know we’re all inundated with information you know it’s an information overload everywhere and trying to get the attention you know you need to lock your cxo in a room and uh and sit down with him or her and run through some of the examples of you know what other brands are doing here’s what a business case could look like here’s what uh some of the seo intelligence that we’ve seen and how we can even improve what we’re doing today by adopting this and here’s a strategic way to go forward with that um you know there’s these tools that uh you know martin and the brg and the best practice group are putting together are really designed for that the challenge now is getting the attention of those leaders to help them understand it i think that you know those folks once they understand what you’re talking about and they see other brands doing it and there’s also you know risk of uh you know those brands leapfrogging i think it’ll make a difference i also think that you know when there’s finally a date for the second round i think we’re going to see a lot more interest for the c level to really understand what’s going on here so i think the wave is coming great okay um peter i think we’ve covered all the questions here um thank you so much thank you also for the presentation today that’s truly appreciated i hope it helps those of you that join us today and those of you that watch it at your leisure in the future uh to be able to accomplish more with your dot brand um meanwhile do look out for the next webinar that will be next week and details to come out shortly um and it will be the last one of the series before we revisit this for the latter part of the year so look out for that thank you very much everybody and we’ll say bye for now stay safe thanks very much everybody thanks partner thank you peter