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Join the Debate: Dotbranding and ICANN's new gTLDs

Posted by Shirley Brady on September 16, 2011 12:15 PM

ICANN's new "generic Top-Level Domain" (gTLD) initiative continues to create controversy and confusion.

The board of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers voted in June that any word in any language can now be used as the suffix on a URL, so brand owners can now pony up to buy .pepsi, .nike or .mtv instead of being limited to .com, .net, .org, .edu and other more common web address endings.

The problem: anyone can submit a name (along with a non-refundable $185,000 fee) for a gTLD, sparking fears of cybersquatters and irritating brands and organizations that already own their trademarks. It's also unclear whether switching to a new so-called "dotbrand" will boost online search engine results and strengthen digital branding, or override the long tail of digital equity that many brands have spent years establishing online with a seasoned dotcom address.

Our blog post on ICANN's gTLD ruling noted that while New York City pounced on .nyc, other brand marketers are taking a wait-and-see approach. Responding to the debate raging over gTLDs, ICANN president Rod Beckstrom — speaking Monday at the Futurecom conference in Sao Paolo, Brazil — stated that the organization is not "advocating" gTLDs, just enabling them.

Beckstrom emphasized in his remarks to Futurecom attendees: "I want to make clear that ICANN is an organization that is not advocating new gTLDs for anyone. Our role is merely facilitation to implement the policy and the programs approved by our community, so we are here to educate not to advocate."

To understand the pros and cons of gTLDs and dotbranding, read Interbrand's new white paper, "What's in a Domain? Generic Top-Level Domains and the New Dotbrand Frontier" and tell us what you think in this week's debate.


Did Nike Shoot Itself in the Foot by Making Marty McFly Nike MAG Shoes for VIPs?

Posted by Shirley Brady on September 9, 2011 06:17 PM

The first pair of Nike MAG shoes have been sold to British performer Tinie Tempah.

The 22-year-old rapper paid $37,500 for the first pair of the shoes in a live auction in Hollywood last night. The 1,499 other pairs of the Back to the Future-inspired shoes are being sold to "qualified bidders" on eBay, after being hyped this week in a viral campaign and then revealed last night by Michael J. Fox, whose Parkinson's foundation will benefit from the proceeds (which Google will match). 

The only problem: fans of the movie and sneaker collectors who've been clamoring for the one-of-a-kind kicks are complaining that they've been tricked — that only celebrities and VIPs like Tempah can get them, because they certainly can't afford to pay thousands of dollars for the limited-edition kicks, even for a great cause.

What do you think? Did Nike shoot itself in the foot by whipping fans into a frenzy with a brilliantly executed public viral campaign —only to reveal that they can't afford them? Post your thoughts in our debate forum.


Pop Quiz: Is Lady Gaga Diluting Her Brand?

Posted by Shirley Brady on May 27, 2011 07:00 PM

Lady Gaga's massive media (social and traditional) blitz to promote the launch of Born This Way made Madonna look shy, but the non-stop self-promotion appears to have paid off, with first-week sales of her new album today estimated by Billboard to crack the one million mark.

Still, does it come at a cost to her personal brand? Let us know if you think she's too overexposed (a word not likely found in her vocabulary!) in our debate.

brand mascots

Debate: McDonald's Goes to Bat for Ronald. Should They?

Posted by Dale Buss on May 20, 2011 03:00 PM

In the end, it’s probably not as much about defending Ronald McDonald as it is about not allowing activists to tell the company what to do when executives believe they’re being entirely responsible in their actions.

McDonald's CEO Jim Skinner flatly told both activists and shareholders on Thursday that, rumors to the contrary, the chain has no intention of retiring the red-nosed clown mascot who has helped the company market its food and brand to kids for nearly a half-century.Continue reading...


Are Australia's Tobacco Shock Tactics Going Too Far?

Posted by Shirley Brady on April 8, 2011 05:30 PM

The Australian government's move to become the first country in the world to adopt plain packaging for cigarettes is naturally meeting resistance from the tobacco industry. Australia's prime minister Julia Gillard is backing legislation introduced yesterday by health minister Nicola Roxon that would mandate that cigarette packages sold in the country adopt a standard olive green, found in research to be the the most repulsive color to smokers.

But that's not all: the packages, assuming the legislation survives legal challenges by Big Tobacco, would also remove logos and branding, with the brand name in a standard font and size. Each package will bear a ghoulish graphic (such as a sickly eyeball) meant to shock and hopefully stop the prospective buyer, along with a related health warning in uppercase text, such as "SMOKING CAUSES BLINDNESS."Continue reading...


Thoughts on JetBlue's Handling of Steven Slater Incident?

Posted by Shirley Brady on August 13, 2010 05:30 PM

JetBlue took a minimalist PR approach as flight attendant Steven Slater’s meltdown triggered one of the most dramatic exits (literally) in recent history. While the social Web blew up, JetBlue stayed on the sidelines until finally issuing only one official response – a single blog post on its corporate blog. It's also been responding to comments on Twitter (a little bit) but for the most part, staying mum.

Fast Company praised its blog response as “expertly done—mixing cheeky self-deprecation, ostensible privacy concerns, an apt and funny YouTube link (to the Office Space movie), and only the tiniest dose of PR pablum.” Referring to a New York Times article indicating that comments were turning positive, FC concluded, "in the end, may be the best lesson JetBlue give us—sometimes the best response to a PR disaster is a single blog post and a tight-lipped smile."

Despite its external composure, internally the company was befuddled by the public and press reaction. An employee memo (scroll down here) questioned why the public and media made light of the situation, particularly the deployment of the emergency slide, which "can be as dangerous as a gun," COO Rob Maruster wrote in his letter to employees.

Tell us what you think: Should JetBlue have got in front of this, even to address some of these concerns, or do you agree that it made the right decision — and the less said, the better? Weigh in at Brandchannel's debate forum.


Social Media Debate: What's the Value of Facebook to Brands?

Posted by Shirley Brady on May 13, 2010 01:17 PM

Here are more reader responses to Brandchannel's social media debate series, this one on Facebook's value to brands. Tell us what you think by posting a comment, and follow our social media debate series by clicking here. And don't miss the comments on the "That's Debatable" social media series on Interbrand.com.

Will Facebook's community pages make it more relevant to brands?

"Brands will get a big boost from the Official/Community Pages split. Users will now be able to verify brand impostors. I wouldn't be surprised if FB begins charging brands for Official Pages, a la Twitter's Promoted Tweets. One important distinction is that FB promises to hand over administration of Community Pages to the community once they become popular enough. This introduces wiki elements that may help pages continue to have life after admins lose interest." Ryan Evans, Director of Experience Design, Corey McPherson Nash

"Agree it will be a positive step. Facebook's search functionality is horrible so something needed to be done. Many marketers are beginning to pointing their campaigns to Facebook. And a bad search experience goes like this: Users forget the URL, search on Facebook and are bombarded with I HATE brand X instead of the brand page. Ouch." Christopher Andrew, VP/Group Dirirector, Media, DigitasContinue reading...

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Join the Debate: How Much to Spend on Social Media Marketing?

Posted by Shirley Brady on May 12, 2010 03:23 PM

Here are more reader responses to Brandchannel's social media debate series, this one on how much to spend on social media. We originally asked about money, but what about time? Tell us what you think by posting a comment, and follow our social media debate series by clicking here. And don't miss the comments on the "That's Debatable" social media series on Interbrand.com.

How much of your marketing spend to devote to social media?

"The key insight into social media is that its not just another channel. It has changed behaviour. So to be successful at your marketing you need to understand your brand in a different world. How much should you spend? Far less because it's far cheaper, but far more important." Walter Pike, PiKE | New Marketing

"Once you have opened a line of communication, the audience will expect you to follow-up closely. This demands not only time, also good knowledge in the media type, the specific brand and the company that you are working at. Social media can be an arena to build brand knowledge and awareness, but maybe it's not the most efficient channel to boost your sales? And will social media have a long term effect on your brand?" Merete W. Haugaa, Marketing Manager, Hennig-Olsen Is A/SContinue reading...

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