The Ten Commandments of Branding

By on May 17, 2007

Anthony Mitchell has a nice writeup on his proposed “Ten Commandments of Branding.” Mitchell is an expert in the Indian IT outsourcing industry.

The article mainly focuses on tactics for what he calls “Outsourcing 2.0,” where brand image is key for an outsourcing firm’s success. I have taken Mitchell’s points and applied them to the domain industry and web development.

For more of an “Outsourcing 2.0” company spin on things you can read the original Ten Commandments of Branding on E-commerce News.

1. Focus on Target Markets

Make sure your brand or domain is well accepted by your consumers and visitors. Take into account geographical location.

2. Don’t Covet Another’s Brand
Copying the slightest detail of another company’s brand or someone else’s domain name can lose your credibility. The best thing you can do is be original and thrive on the uniqueness of your own name.

3. Match Brands Exactly With Domain Names

“A brand should be identical to its corresponding domain name. For example, a brand for news and services to protect against software vulnerabilities could be expressed as SoftwareVulnerabilities.com, not Software-Vulnerabilities.com or iSoftwareVulnerabilities.com. The dash can help in mirror sites put up for search engine optimization, but not for the primary brand. Unless streaming video is involved, only dot-com and dot-net names should be used for international and North American markets.”

Essentially your brand IS your domain name. However, it would be wise to remember that your brand also encompasses your logo, slogan and web design. The following “commandments” are essentially tips on how to pick a good domain name.
See also, “10 Tips for Investing in Domain Names.”

4. Don’t Use Silly Prefixes
We all remember the “e” fad in the domain industry and the recent resurgence of the “i” prefix. Unless you are a multi-million dollar industry (see: eBay, iPod) then I suggest you leave out the trendy vowels.

5. Escape the Background Noise
Mitchell reminds us to not use cliché words such as “global,” “tech,” “soft,” “serve” or “solutions.”

6. Obey Rules of Grammar
This one is self explanatory. Don’t make up words. No hyphens. No oddly placed numbers. Only capitalize when appropriate.

7. Avoid Negative Connotations
Mind your target audience and be sure not to offend them. Take a step back and make sure your name will be well liked by any potential clients or visitors. Make sure your name is not inadvertently making you look bad in some other context.

8. Make Brands Memorable and Easy to Spell
Memorable names bring people back. If you don’t leave a lasting impression on a customer then they are likely to forget they even visited you. You can also tie this into your logo with appealing use of color and contrast, give them something to “Wow” about.

These last two commandments are especially important for developing a strong company brand.

9. Obtain Internal Understanding and Acceptance
Make sure everyone in your company, partners and associates agrees on your brand. You want your employees to be proud and promote your company willingly.

10. Test Prior to Deployment
Find and survey members of your target audience, ask them about potential names. (Try to avoid domain snipers in your questionings though! :P) Getting insight into the public eye before you spend dollars on your brand is a must.

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About Mark Fulton

Mark is the Founder of DotSauce Magazine and a full time web developer, domain investor, SEO and online marketing professional residing in North Carolina, USA. Visit MarkFulton.com for information on freelance website development, SEO and consultation services.