Once you’ve cornered your target market by finding and claiming your niche, it’s time to stamp your brand’s presence online. At its core, your brand is the perception others have about you. Your name, design, positioning, and values all go into creating this gut-feeling that lives in the hearts and minds of your target market.
Your brand is important because brand recognition is a big part of how consumers make purchasing decisions. Based on a survey by Nielsen, 59% of consumers say they prefer to buy new products from brands that are familiar to them. Building your personal brand online can also help with employment opportunities, as 57% of employers are less likely to interview job candidates if they can’t find information about them online, according to a CareerBuilder study.
Companies with similar products or services will compete for your customers, professionals with similar experience will line up for the job you want, and communities and organizations driven by the same mission will vie for the same members and supporters. One lasting way to stand out against the competition is by eliciting a gut-feeling that works in your favor and will make your audience choose you. Creating this feeling is known as branding.
We think good branding is truly the secret weapon of success, so let’s get started with establishing your brand in four steps.
The first–and arguably the most important–step to creating your brand is getting crystal clear on what your mission is. Also sometimes called a vision statement, your mission statement is a formal summary of the aims and values of yourself, your company, or your organization. It is the key message that you want everyone who comes across your brand to walk away with.
.XYZ was founded five years ago with a bold mission to unlock the internet’s limitless potential and give new users an innovative and affordable domain name to connect with the world online. With support in over 200 languages and more users than any other new domain in the world, this mission has been the guiding principle throughout every decision the company has made.
A great example of a company whose stayed true to their mission is Dare2Dream.xyz, a foundation who aims to “improve the quality of life for youth and young adults in order to strengthen our communities both domestically and globally.” Founded by Lefty Williams, star basketball player who once played for the Harlem Globetrotters, the foundation empowers youth and helps them develop healthy habits through ambassador programs and basketball and fitness camps.
Now you must give your brand a name. If you’re working solo and don’t have a brand name you want to use, then you could simply stick to your first and last name. For a new company or organization, you have a lot more room to work when choosing your name compared to an existing business. Use your mission statement as a jumping-off point to start brainstorming names. It should convey the feeling of your key message as much as possible.
Your brand name should be easy to spell, easy to pronounce, and easy to remember. Make sure it passes the radio test; if someone heard it on the radio (or a podcast), it should be memorable and easy to spell (even if you made up the word), so they can look you up later. Similarly, if someone else has only read about your brand, they ideally should be able to talk about it without worrying if they’re pronouncing it correctly.
Peer-to-peer sharing app, UseMy.xyz, chose a brand name that fits this criteria well. UseMy.xyz’s mission to allow people to share everyday things via their community-based platform is expressed cleary by their brand name. It’s also easy to spell, pronounce and remember, plus using the .xyz in their brand name promotes awareness about their exact website name.
Once you have some contenders, do your research to make sure the name you want to use is not already trademarked. You will also want to do a search online to make sure it hasn’t already been popularized by another business.
You now must register your winning brand name’s domain. Your website will be the main way your customers and supporters find information about you, so the URL should clearly state your brand name. The chances that your brand name is available depends on the top-level domain (TLD) that you choose, what comes after the dot. The longer a TLD has been around, the harder it might be to find a domain name that is available.
.XYZ is a new TLD, so the likelihood of getting YourBrandName.xyz is still quite high. It is also globally recognized and pairs well with any industry, profession, or mission. You can check your brand name’s availability at gen.xyz/register, or with one of our retail partners.
Using a .xyz also creates an instantly memorable domain name. Independent arts and music magazine, Preme Magazine, chose Preme.xyz because they wanted a domain name as cutting-edge as their content. Founder, Anthony Supreme, states, “Creating Preme.xyz was inspired by trying to think of something different than a typical .com. We wanted to name our site something creative.”
Once you have your domain name registered, you can set up your website. Create a logo and choose fonts and colors that express your brand’s mission and attract your audience. If coding and design isn’t part of your skillset, you can select and customize a template from one of the many website builder services that are available today, like the Weebly website builder that’s available for free with any .xyz domain registered at gen.xyz/register.
You want to fill your site with information about what you have to offer, and a good place to start could be your mission statement. A tagline and short description, also known as an elevator pitch, can also be used to spark interest in what you do. Make sure it defines who you are, describes what you do, and identifies what makes you unique.
Once you have launched your website, you must create ways for people to find it and contact you through email and social media. It’s recommended that your email address and social media handles are all the same in order to build brand recognition and awareness. Most of your communication with potential customers, clients and members will probably be done over email, so it’s key to use a custom email address in order to appear professional. With a .xyz, you can get your custom email address when you register your domain.
Use your brand name to create social media accounts on all the platforms that your audience uses. Using your full domain name as your social media handles ensures that you’re easily recognizable on all platforms.
Toronto-based R&B musical artist, Quami.xyz, shows true understanding of the digital world we live in by using his domain name as his stage name too. It’s easy to connect with him on social media as well, thanks to his branded social media handles @quami.xyz on Instagram and @quamixyz on Twitter.
Completing these four steps establishes your brand online and sets you up for success. You’re now ready to share what you have to offer with the world! At this point, it’s a good idea to summarize all of your brand information into a deck, called your Brand Guidelines, that you and your team can reference for the future. Keep in mind that your brand may grow and expand as the years go by, but your mission should still ring true. It’s common for brands to update logos, fonts, and colors as they grow.
Your brand may also expand in other ways. Fashion entrepreneur, Egreis Gjergjani of StilettoMeUp.xyz, started her blog four years ago as a way to share her story during a major life change: her first child. Since then, she’s launched two businesses, contemporary women’s line By Egris and children’s line Itty Bitty Toes, all while proving that juggling being an entrepreneur and a mom can be done in style.
For more branding tips be sure to check out our other internet “How to” articles and subscribe to our newsletter to receive the XYZ Quarterly.