Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Branding on the web: a variation

I’ve written about top-level domains here and here, and noted there that people are increasingly using search engines to find what they’re looking for, making the use of domain names for branding ever less important. An interesting case study for how branding works is Snickers, a candy bar made by Mars, Incorporated.

Of course, Mars owns mars.com, and you can get some information about Snickers there. Mars also owns snickers.com, and, no surprise, that will also lead you to (far more) stuff about Snickers.

Going by what I wrote in these pages about TLDs, when ICANN opens things up, it’s possible — maybe likely — that Mars will also grab .mars and .snickers, and they could even register .candy and set up snickers.candy and other such domains.

Snickers 'BAR HUNGER' signBut now I recently saw the banner on the right at my local gas station (click to enlarge; sorry, it's a poor-quality picture from my BlackBerry). There’s a depiction of a Snickers bar, but where the Snickers logo would be it tells you to “Do your part to BAR HUNGER”. The rest says, “Join the Snickers brand in providing at least 3,000,000 meals to those in need,” and it shows the Feeding America logo.

Want to know more? Sure... do you expect to go to snickers.com or mars.com for it? Think again:

Learn more at facebook.com/snickers
Not satisfied with what their own web site can do with it, they send you to social networking. You can become a Facebook friend with the Snickers brand, and work through that.

Is this, perhaps, the real future of web branding?


Ethan said...

As the web gets more and more cluttered, brands are relying on SEO to connect with consumers. One important point here is with SEO, brands often have to substitute creativity for rational keywords. Using your Snickers example, buying candy.com would be a good move, but leaves little to the creative mind. It would be interesting to see the next evolution of SEO and if search engines could incorporate creativity into their results. Great post, looking forward to more.


Barry Leiba said...

Good point, Ethan; thanks.

For those who don't know: "SEO" is "search-engine optimization" -- using various techniques (some more clearly ethical than others) to make sure your web site or brand shows up at the top of the search results.

If getting their brand prominent on Facebook improves their search stats, that's a win for them.