Category Archives: Domain Name

Corporate Branding Basics: Your Name, Logo and Slogan

If I were to say to you, “It’s the real thing,” you’d probably think of Coca-Cola. “Finger-lickin’ good” should invoke the Kentucky Fried Chicken brand. And we all know that the solid, angular, gold bowtie logo means Chevrolet.

Your company’s name, logo and slogan are typically the first thoughts in your corporate branding strategy. Corporate branding is the system of promoting the brand name of a corporate entity, apart from, but often side-by-side with the promotion of products and services. It begins to “tell the story” of your business and answers questions like, “What’s your corporate identity and values?” Corporate branding ties together your company’s vision, culture and public image.

But corporate branding goes beyond shapes, colors, images and catch phrases. It’s about how you conduct business at every step, what makes you unique, and more importantly, provides structure for how you tell your story in everyday business interactions.

Invoking a Feeling with Brand Recognition

Most of us realize the value and power of brand recognition. Many remember “Quality is Job 1,” the heavily-advertised slogan from the 80’s to help Ford compete with giants like Toyota and Honda. Today Ford’s slogan is “Go Further.” Global director of marketing, Elena Ford, said it’s an internal reminder to set the bar high after recent years of profits. Her way of explaining that could be a slogan as well. She said, “We go further so you can.” (Woodall, Bernie. “Ford’s New Ad Slogan: Go Further.” Autonews.com. Crain Communications, Inc., 24 Jan. 2012. Web. 2 Feb. 2015. http://www.autonews.com/article/20120124/RETAIL03/120129953/1018)

Brand recognition begins with the company name, logos, slogans or tag lines – these are the short, visually impactful, sometimes almost subliminal messages the public gets used to seeing and hearing. The cool thing about branding is that its very purpose is to invoke recognition and “feeling”.

“Go Further,” is a call for the company’s workers to excel at their jobs and create products that sell and keeps the profits rolling. But what feelings does it invoke in the car-buying consumer? For me, it produces an image of form and function in a car that I not only enjoy driving every day, but that I’m confident will take me anywhere I want to venture for 200,000 miles or more. These messages, or feelings, convey culture, identity and vision to both internal and external audiences.

Get the Creative Juices Flowing

In December’s blog we talked about Mission and Vision Statements. Your name, logo and slogan are all descriptions of your mission and vision. Remember, your branding must convey the vision of your company or business, the culture, mindset or your way of doing business, and lastly the image you want the public to associate to your business.

When tying your branding to your mission and vision, here are some questions to help you produce something creative and memorable that builds that brand awareness:

Naming your Company

  • Does your name describe what you do and who you are? Example: ‘Auto Shop’ may describe your business, but ‘Dirk’s European Auto’ adds identity and describes a specialty.
  • Is your name catchy? Example: ‘Salon’ Cultured Curls’
  • Alliterations: Bob’s Big Boy (restaurant), or Chrissy’s Cultured Curls
  • Is the domain name available? Many companies are purchasing the domain name now before filing for the trademark. To learn more about choosing a domain name, please see our post at http://www.1402webpage.com/website-basics-an-introduction-to-important-terms-and-concepts-7.
  • Choose the right adjective. Example: Epic Records and Epic Sports are well-known companies, not Awesome Records or Awesome Sports.
  • Make sure to do an exhaustive copyright search. (One place to include in that search is http://www.uspto.gov.)

Developing a Logo

  • Is it graphically attractive? In other words, is the image sharp? Is it neither too simple nor too complex? Are the colors, lines and shapes complimentary and flowing?
  • Depending on your geography, some business adopt colors, shapes and images of the local high school or college.
  • Is it unique? Think use of fonts. Think of artistic impression.
  • Does it represent something through imagery? Example: A landscaper’s logo could include a tree, retaining wall, or something as simple as a dewy leaf.
  • Avoid “Substantial Similarity” by learning about copyright infringement guidelines.

Creating a Slogan

  • Is it short? Two to six words can be both easy to remember and descriptive.
  • Does it invoke an image? Think “Finger Lickin’ Good.” Those three short words paint a far better picture than “Great Tasting Chicken You’ll Love to Eat,” plus it’s much more creative.
  • Is it tied directly to your mission and vision statement? Read them again, and again, and again. They’re the guiding principles for your slogan.
  • Choose the two or three most impactful or meaningful words from your mission statement and build the slogan around them – play with the order or words.

Test Your Branding

Now that you’ve created what you think are the perfect name, logo and slogan, test the market. You can hire a professional facilitator to lead focus group testing, or you can do it on your own by inviting friends, family members, social or church groups, etc. to participate. One word of caution, your friends may be hesitant to give their honest opinions and risk hurting your feelings. Make sure to tell them that you need their honest input. Pay extra careful attention to replies from persons in your target demographic and psychographic audience. Remember that their input is important to help keep you on track, but that you are captain of your own ship. Ultimately, the choice is up to you as to what to do. If your formal or informal research goes contrary to expectations, be prepared to attempt it again with a different group and to learn from it. Some of the best business and scientific discoveries have been from looking at data that gave unexpected results. This could create opportunites unimagined before.

Corporate Branding and Marketing Strategies

Once you have decided on your corporate and branding strategies, look for every opportunity to showcase and reinforce them. One of the first places people do this is putting the logo and slogan on your website and business cards. Now break out your marketing plan . Think of how more and more people can see and hear your branding. Print, radio and television ads; brochures, flyers and press releases; promotional items like pens, refrigerator magnets, mugs, stress balls – the list is endless. Some of the best reminders or promotional items are those that are easily seen and used by the client or potential client. Take, for example, that little windshield decal reminding you when to get your next oil change, strategically placed at eye level, with the name and branding of their company.

Global to Local

While we’ve been talking mostly about mega-corporations who spend hundreds of millions in advertising, corporate branding can still be accomplished on the small, local or regional business scale. You may not have a world-wide ad agency at your disposal, but smaller, local resources are plentiful. We encourage you to ask us questions about finding resources that provide affordable solutions to work within your budget and let us know how we can help.

Whether you’re conceptualizing a new business, getting ready to launch, or have been in business for years, you can always create or revitalize your corporate branding strategy. Many long-existing businesses gain new customers and momentum simply by “re-launching” their brand with fresh new branding.

With a little more understanding into the long-term, positive effects of branding, and help from some expert resources, you can create new opportunities to increase and maximize the public and brand awareness of your business.

As always, we invite your feedback and questions.

Website Basics: An Introduction to Important Terms and Concepts

PART I: DOMAIN NAMES (CONTINUED)

After choosing a domain name, you can purchase it either separately or as part of a package with your hosting service. Some hosting services, such as Blue Host*, offer a free domain name with the purchase of their hosting service.

3. How Do You Purchase a Domain Name?

Domain names are purchased by domain name registrars that are authorized by ICANN for such purposes. “ICANN” is an acronym that stands for the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers.

“The mission of The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (“ICANN”) is to coordinate, at the overall level, the global Internet’s systems of unique identifiers, and in particular to ensure the stable and secure operation of the Internet’s unique identifier systems.” (BYLAWS FOR INTERNET CORPORATION FOR ASSIGNED NAMES AND NUMBERS, Article 1, Section 1, January 25, 2011, according to their website at http://www.icann.org/en/general/bylaws.htm#I ).

To learn more about ICANN, visit http://www.icann.org.

To purchase a domain name directly from a domain registrar, you can use the below registrars:

Other registrars may be found at http://www.icann.org/en/registrars/accredited-list.html

You can also purchase a domain name from companies that work with a registrar, such as:

If your desired domain name is in use, you may try to work with the owner, hope you get lucky and it drops off quietly when it expires or try one of the following companies to purchase it:

These companies or the owner of the domain name may use a domain name appraiser similar to what appraisers do in real estate for homes. The appraisers evaluate and put the numbers of what they think the “property” is worth.

The domain appraiser estimates the value of a domain name based on certain criteria such as:

  • Easy to remember
  • Good for branding
  • Contains good key words for a company
  • Short, preferably 16 characters or less
  • Purity of the name, no hyphens, deliberate misspellings

If there is a functioning website associated with the domain name, the appraiser may look at the following:

  • Website age
  • Website traffic/followers
  • Existing website revenues (advertisers, sponsors, affiliate members or partners)
  • Website quality
  • Other related developments (related social media, etc.,)

Please note that some of the above links are marked with an asterisk. These are affiliate links and those companies may remunerate Little Mountain Web Design as part of a partner or affiliate referral relationship.

Please return later or read on for the continuation of this series to include information on Part II, Web Design, from our website blog.

All rights reserved. This article and all articles, images, content, etc., are copyright Little Mountain Web Design.

Website Basics: An Introduction to Important Terms and Concepts-Domain Names

PART I: DOMAIN NAMES

Choosing a domain name is a starting point for many when beginning their first website or creating a new website. It is important to consider and understand the nature of a domain name, the factors in choosing a domain name, where is best for you to purchase one, and what might be the best domain name for your business or organization to maximize your website’s potential.

1. What is a Domain Name?

A domain name is the locational information that appears in the URL* (Uniform Resource Locator) such as “402webpage.com” for this blog at “http://402webpage.com” and “littlemountainwebdesign.com” for “http://www.littlemountainwebdesign.com”. This tells others where to find your website and the exact address location of your directory or file.

TLDs are Top Level Domains. These are domain names with endings such as the following:

.biz
.com
.info
.mobi
.net
.org

Among the most coveted are .com and .org. These were among the first TLDs and are easy to remember.

2. What Factors Should One Consider In Purchasing a Domain Name?

When you are considering your domain name, it is important to consider the following factors and strategies:

  • Company/Organization name
  • Functions/ action verbs associated with your company/organization
  • Nouns related to company/organization
  • Keyword relevance to what you are promoting
  • Distinctive name that is easy to remember
  • Branding strategy
  • Length of the domain name
  • Buying related domain names
  • Secrecy in selecting a domain name until purchase is completed
  • TLDs

Begin your search for that perfect domain name by brainstorming different names and ideas. You can use a thesaurus to help find synonyms to think of different but related names.

It is generally beneficial for your domain name to be short and easily remembered. This helps people find your business or organization quickly, even if they can’t remember it exactly when they look for it via the search engines. Some domain name appraisers will recommend you keep the characters down to sixteen characters or less for your domain name. Long domain names make for long URLs and email addresses. This can be difficult later for business cards, media and sending links.

Define you brand strategy and ask yourself if your domain name enhances or complements it. To help with this, your domain name should have a memorable name that embodies your company/organization and what you are doing. Prepare a list of several choices in case the domain that you want has been taken.

If your choice for a domain name has been taken, you can contact the owners directly or use a third party to contact the owner for you to make a offer. In those cases, it is unlikely that you will be able to purchase the domain name at cost from the owner. Be aware that there are many companies that purchase domain names with the sole intent to profit from selling it to someone like you who wants to own and develop it.

If that happens, you may work with a domain name appraiser. Domain name appraisers calculate how much they think your domain name is worth. Please note that it is their perception, not what your future domain name is actually worth. As mentioned earlier, many people buy domain names with the sole purpose of selling it to someone later. The real estate equivalent of this is “flipping” a house. Now while one does not need to develop the “property” or make repairs, some development can raise the asking price.

It is best to keep your ideas for a domain name secret and to not search for them online until you are ready to buy, to keep others from buying it first by watching your activities online with various programs. Having more than one choice for a domain name ready in case your desired domain name is not available is a good strategy to prevent persons wanting to buy your potential domain name before you purchase it.

When you purchase your domain name, you may wish to purchase WHOIS privacy. WHOIS privacy, depending on your particular company, can keep more than your email address off the main WHOIS Internet searches. WHOIS searches can tell you who owns a website and how to contact them. Having WHOIS privacy helps reduce spam and scams but can give the impression to some that you are hiding something. The decision to purchase or not purchase this should be considered carefully by a business or organization.

Please return later or read on for the continuation of this series and more on domain names, including registrars, ICANN and how to purchase one from our website blog.

All rights reserved.This article and all articles are copyright Little Mountain Web Design.

Website Basics: An Introduction to Important Terms and Concepts

The next several blog posts will cover the introduction and sections for our multi-part series, ”Website Basics: An Introduction to Important Terms and Concepts.” In this series, we will explain some of the fundamentals in having a website and what is needed to purchase and maintain one. While these articles primarily are aimed at persons who do not have a website and want to learn more about the basics, we hope that if you are familiar with websites that you will learn something new as well. At the end of later posts, there will be a website glossary of terms and website related definitions and link section that everyone may find helpful.

WEBSITE BASICS: AN INTRODUCTION TO IMPORTANT TERMS AND CONCEPTS

Websites are a valuable component in modern marketing and branding strategies of today’s businesses and organizations and have become an important part of a business’ or organization’s credentials. They can help your business to be found in this highly mobile society where more and more people who relocate turn to the Internet to help them move and find places, news and information. Local residents are doing the same to get more out of their communities. Websites provide many different types of services to both the business/organization and both potential and existing clients. It is important to understand what websites can do, how they work and what is necessary to have them and keep them going and maximize the benefits to both your business/organization and your website visitors.

Websites can have many purposes and fulfill many functions depending on the business/organization and its needs, its clients’ needs and its leadership and management style. These have been grouped into three general categories of purpose and intent:

1. Introduce Your Business or Organization or Ideas to Potential New Clients/Customers and Readers

  • Explain features, products and services of your business or organization
  • Explain ideas, thoughts, concepts and approaches
  • Entertain to increase name recognition and create a positive fun image
  • Educate potential clients, customers, consumers and followers
  • Help your business be found and connect you to your new clients and customers
  • Meet public expectations when researching your company or organization

For example, a list of your company’s or organization’s products and services can be displayed to make them easily found and understood by persons who come to your website. You can help keep your customers returning with new content, games, promotions, social media and more. The website should reflect not just who or what your business or organization is at this snapshot of time but meet expectations of the Internet user when they arrive. If your company produces precision made parts, your website should reflect this in its design, images and texts. If your organization focuses on creative elements such as art for children, your website should reflect that and be enticing not just to the parents but to the children. Press kits and brochures can be made easily available to the media and others.

2. Communicate with and Provide Functions to Existing Clients

  • Report company or organizational news
  • Report global or local news of interest to clients
  • Educate clients on more details of your business
  • Reward clients with special promotions and services
  • Easy access and logins for specialized information, updating accounts and checking results

There are many specific examples for this. Doctors’ offices can provide links to companies that can post test results securely online. Movie theaters can have special membership pages with coupons, discounts and other specials. Financial services can provide access to portfolios and have near real-time access to changes in the stock market. Businesses and organizations can provide their own abstracts and news services on popular, useful and current events. News archives can be kept of important events specific to the company or organization, including articles in the press.

3. Help Your Team Work More Effectively

  • Educate your staff with staff only sections
  • Post schedules and schedule requests in staff only sections
  • Lessen the work load and time demands of your staff and yourself by posting forms, FAQs and other information online
  • Share resources and collaborate on projects

For example, doctors’ offices can post HIPAA privacy notices, intake and other forms for easy download by the patient. This easy availability allows the patient to fill out the forms in the comfort of their own home, saving valuable office staff time and minimizing the patient waits in the doctor’s office. Restaurants can post their menus online so that the customer can review them before coming to eat or to facilitate speedy ordering for take out.

Websites are composed of three main parts which require action:

Domain Name
Web Design
Hosting Service

We will explore each of these in our upcoming posts. Our next topic is domain names and will cover choices for domain names, domain registrars, ICANN and more.

Please return later or read on for the continuation of this series and other new website blog posts. Thank you for your visit.

All rights reserved.This article and all articles are copyright Little Mountain Web Design.