More than a few CMOs (Chief Marketing Officers), business owners and even startup founders feel that a domain name is an insignificant aspect of their brand. The brand, in their mind, exists outside the narrow confines 🙄 of the internet. It has a life of it’s own, a character of it’s own and a philosophy of it’s own and it doesn’t depend on the internet to position itself correctly.
I also think that most people treat the internet as some sort of arcane outpost of technology that helps with sales, “nothing important”. That’s wrong on so many counts and levels I don’t know where to start, but here goes – The internet (or the www if you want to get pedantic) is a mass medium, it allows you to reach out to billions of people at the same time. As for being arcane or an outpost or technology only, we know those are just a simplistic view of the most complex media of them all – it’s a two way communication system, not one way like all other mass media – newspapers, magazines, events, radio, television and outdoors.
And this two way system inherently raises the stakes for any company / individual / business beyond everything else. Specially since it’s two way at it’s most basic level, but is actually a many to one scenario for the brand as well. If you don’t manage the narrative, and the conversation becomes many to many, it gets impossible to manage your brand image. Then it becomes a question of perception, not of product or the work ethos or even the people behind the company.
Also, the internet remembers everything, even with privacy and new laws preserving that privacy, everything that is ever said about your brand remains online, in some form, or another. Which means if you mess up, it’s out there for everyone to see, forever, no matter how much whitewash (read as reputation management) you throw on it.
So how does one manage the narrative?
Through your website. Not via social media or other offline media or through paid tweets and promoted posts. And your website needs to be at the center of it all if you want to manage the conversation, good and bad. And the way to your website? You got it, your domain name.
So in effect, a bulk of your customer interface is your website, which they need to access via your domain name which makes it one of the most important factors of your brand image per se. Sure you can use a second rung domain name if you want to be an also ran or for people to forget about you, but if you want to lead from the front, you have to ensure you’re on the right domain name.