What makes a consumer brand a success? In the end, it really comes down to two things: name recognition and perceived value. With the growth of the internet in our warp-speed communications age, a new or re-branded company faces marketing challenges within the context of a globally shrinking attention span.
Executives of growth businesses must create alliances, leverage existing technology while pursuing research and development, and face the overwhelming surge of information—all the while making budget decisions about advertising and marketing spending. Demographics, projected ROI, and other statistical analyses can sometimes appear to be, well, bunk. Marketing and advertising without unlimited funds can feel like shooting in the dark. Sounds tough, right? Read on…
Today, I think that marketing strategy will be developed in a moment of phenomenal opportunity for creativity. Partnerships with many different kinds of companies and outlets will be critical to success.
Take the case of our own company, Phone.com. The simplicity of our name has helped clear our first hurdle: brand recognition. Brand=Phone. Product=Phone.
Think about names of products or companies launched or re-branded in the last several years. Which ones come to mind? How did you first hear of them? Do they represent the product well? Do you need an explanation? A few years ago, for example, Verizon spent $300 million on marketing—just to promote its new name! That certainly buys a whole lot of name recognition, but I will bet most new companies don’t have that kind of change lying around.
In the last ten years, domain names have morphed into brand names. Simple, easy to understand words, either real or imagined, have become associated with products merely by adding the dotcom at the end, and the plainer the better. The domain name marketplace reflects this incredible branding paradigm shift. Today, consumers will generally associate the most basic domain names with quality, as they have become a particularly valuable asset. In other words, if you have the money to buy a simple descriptive name, you must have the commodities to go along with it.
The backers of Phone.com invested in its name and its product, not in its explanation. To make Phone.com a success, we will leverage its association with a consortium of related companies, connected under the umbrella of WashingtonVC, to create reciprocal arrangements for marketing opportunities. WashingtonVC was actually created to use synergies between its portfolio companies to add value to each of its domain names as their respective independent businesses are launched.
It’s a neat idea. These kinds of new relationships, as well as traditional and non-traditional advertising, are worth investigating for any company. We are not just buying services from each of these companies; we are trading goods. This is wampum redefined, and whether it is on the web or in a store, this is a great trend.
These new multilateral marketing strategies will ultimately lead to what everyone wants for their business; to what name recognition and perceived value will bring: customers.