September 8, 2018 (Sat). While traditional branding (Branding 1.0) focuses on "what", domains add the "where" dimension to it.
Well, I must say that I'm not a branding expert, so my knowledge about branding may be limited. As I understand, Branding 1.0 is about associating a brand with "what". When you think of a brand, you automatically think of a product or a service. Conversely when you think of a product or service you think of a brand. Such association is very powerful in consumer marketing. For example, when the word "Nike" pops into the minds of consumers, they immediately think of running shoes.
Branding 2.0 is about both "what" and "where". When you think of a brand you automatically think of a product or service and also where to buy it. This is accomplished by the use of domains. As I have explained in my previous posts, a domain is technically a digital address. When you enter it into the address bar of your browser, you can visit the store at that address. So, a domain gives you the "where" dimension of your brand.
How can you choose the right domain for this purpose? There are two requirements: (1) your domain's name must exactly match your brand, and (2) your domain's extension must be .com. If consumers know your brand, they already know your domain's name part because they are exactly identical. Since .com is globally recognizable and also the default extension used by global brands, consumers can simply assume .com is your default extension.
Major brands in China are already using the Branding 2.0 approach. For example, Alibaba Group Holding's brand is "Alibaba". When you think of "Alibaba", you know it's about online shopping and you can visit its store at Alibaba.com. How about OFO? Consumers know OFO is about bike-sharing and they can easily figure out the address to go to is OFO.com.
Therefore, if your brand is X make sure you own X.com and you'll become a member of the Branding 2.0 club.