Advertisement Development Strategy
Prior to executing the marketing plan, the agency will develop a value proposition for the gTLD brand. A core message and consequent advertising messages will be developed for specific audiences. These messages will be tested prior to creative development.
Next, a brand identity for the new gTLD will be created. Advertising concepts, consistent with the brand identity, will then be developed. The concepts will be tested in international focus groups to ensure global appeal. The concepts will only be approved if they resonate well with consumers and achieve high levels of acceptance and trust.
The advertising concepts will continue to evolve through further testing in an effort to foster an emotional bond between the brand and the consumer. While the advertising will continue to build awareness, it is this emotional link that will ultimately lead to sales transactions.
The following sections describe the marketing strategy proposed by Afilias to achieve maximum return on investment.
The target market is divided into two distinct groups: current non-web users and web-savvy users (including domain name registrants).
Web-savvy users are defined as:
Web-savvy users represent the greatest opportunity for Afilias. This group will be reached via a cooperative, one-to-one, direct-response campaign developed in conjunction with ICANN-accredited registrars.
Non-web users are defined as:
As people increasingly use the internet, they will have have various motivations, both personal and business, for registering domain names. Afilias will develop an awareness campaign to target this entire group.
A two-phase communications approach offers the best opportunity to reach the target markets described above and satisfy established registration goals.
Phase One: Brand Awareness
Conduct an awareness campaign using traditional media (TV, print, radio and outdoor) to establish credibility in the marketplace among individuals and businesses defined as non-web users. The campaign will have global appeal to reach the widest possible audience.
The geographic breakdown of market potential is outlined below:
Domain growth (#)
Dec-01 to Dec-02*
|% of growth|
The total budget for the brand-building phase of this campaign is $12 million in the first year.
Phase Two: Co-operative Advertising
The brand awareness campaign will be supported by one-to-one communications directed at individuals and businesses described above as web-savvy users. This will be done via targeted print advertising, interactive marketing, customer email, opt-in prospect email and direct mail.
Use of Registrars
As part of the marketing strategy, Afilias will develop a co-operative advertising campaign in partnership with ICANN-accredited registrars. The registrars will be encouraged to participate in order to drive secure registrations through their sites in their respective countries.
Afilias contemplates that for every dollar a registrar spends on advertising, Afilias will match the registrar's expenditure by fifty-cents. This strategy is similar to that used by many corporations which have either a dealer or franchise network. The core message remains the same, yet the advertising directs consumers to the local office, retail outlet, or dealership.
To protect the integrity of the brand and to ensure that clear, consistent messages are delivered, Afilias will impose stringent guidelines on creative execution, but will allow enough flexibility for local registrars to address local market needs. This level of maintenance and coordination can be achieved through the worldwide network of OgilvyOne. The advertising reach of Afilias will be extended at a local level and enhanced with local expertise, which will lead to a higher number of domain name registrations and a truly global advertising campaign.
Afilias has allocated a maximum of $6 million for this initiative and plans on procuring an additional $12 million in the aggregate from registrars. Given that many individual registrars spend in excess of this amount on an annual basis, Afilias believes that this is a feasible proposition.
The objectives are two-fold. First, the campaign will endeavor to create awareness of the new TLD amongst the target audience, and second, to drive traffic to partner sites for conversion to registration through the co-op advertising program.
The following geographic areas will be targeted: North America, Europe, Asia, and Latin America. A combination of national (brand) and local (co-op) media is recommended to most effectively reach the target audience. Recognizing that the target audience is located throughout the world, national print media vehicles are recommended for cost-efficiency and regional targeting.
Media will be selected to meet communications objectives as described below.
Phase One: Brand Awareness
This medium has proven brand building functions achieved through a low cost-per-thousand spend and broad reach. It is important that the brand creates high-level impact. Television can deliver the message to a diverse audience in a credible manner.
As a complementary brand building tool, print is very effective, particularly in conjunction with television. In addition, print media can help build awareness in those markets where television is not an economic option. Print works in tandem with public relations and allows for a detailed explanation of complex offers and selling propositions.
Radio builds awareness, especially in emerging markets, through a combination of extensive reach and frequency of message. It provides an efficient cost-per-thousand spend and allows target marketing via selected buys by station and time slot.
This is the fourth element of the awareness building mix. It allows for geographic flexibility and provides the most efficient cost-per-thousand of all media. In many underdeveloped countries, it is the preferred medium for awareness building.
Phase Two: Co-operative Advertising
Afilias expects that this marketing vehicle will deliver the greatest return on marketing spend. Existing customers are likely to respond to these marketing messages in order to protect their current registrations and expand their holding. Email delivers large volumes of cost-efficient clicks and allows for quick output and response.
Opt-in Prospect Email:
Afilias will effectively and cost-efficiently conduct target marketing via opt-in email, ensuring that these respondents are self-selecting prospects for optimal targeting.
A core component of the target market is the web-savvy user, therefore the agency recommends spending a large portion of the budget on interactive advertising. The most lucrative market - web savvy prospects - can be targeted while they are in the process of gathering information. This allows for both brand- and relationship-building and provides a targeted editorial environment. In terms of measurement, it is highly effective and adaptable.
This marketing vehicle is useful in emerging markets because it allows for optimal targeting via list selection and segmentation. It minimizes waste by narrowing segments of high-potential prospects and captures consumers' full attention once they are engaged. It allows for a detailed explanation of complex offers and selling propositions. Prospects can be identified by: Internet user/non-user, occupation, income level, computer owner, and current registrant.
Afilias' current intent is to commence a teaser campaign in May 2001 with brand advertising scheduled to begin in July 2001, followed by co-op advertising in September 2001, to maintain the momentum in local markets. Public relations will support the advertising campaign on a national basis and in local markets.
Afilias will employ an integrated communications strategy that leverages key strengths to turn the new gTLD into a global brand with universal appeal and acceptance. Public relations will be used to position Afilias as a trusted provider of registry services, to condition the marketplace for a new gTLD, and to launch and build the brand. Paid communications will be used for long-term positioning and brand reinforcement. Afilias will strive to create relentless momentum in the marketplace with ongoing communication.
Afilias believes that consistency is critical to the success of transforming the new gTLD into a global brand. Afilias has developed a compelling communications platform for the new gTLD with consistent positioning, key messages, programs and tactics to create credibility among employees, industry analysts, media, partners, and end-users. Initially, all communication will be centrally coordinated by Afilias' outside marketing consultants.
A new TLD has the potential of transforming the Internet into a truly global marketplace for businesses and individuals since:
• Businesses want to develop a personal" relationship with their customers; and
• Individuals want to create their own "identity" on the world-wide-web.
Hence, there is a need for a global domain name that can be used by anyone, anywhere, anytime for any purpose to create a level playing field for individuals and businesses to share and exchange information and ideas on a global basis.
The introduction of a new gTLD is equivalent to the creation of a new category. Afilias will begin its lifecycle as a "Market Maker" with the primary goal of building awareness of the new gTLD on a global basis and educating the public about the benefits of a new gTLD. Next, Afilias will stake a leadership position and promote the new gTLD as the domain name of choice, leading to brand leadership (preference for the new gTLD).
AFILIAS: Market Maker —> Market Leader —> Brand & Market Leader
Emphasis: (Education) (Choice) (Preference)
The opportunity to launch the first new generic TLD since the creation of the domain name system poses challenges associated with creating a new category. Registrars, registrants and end-users need to be educated as to the benefit and use of such a new product/service. The Company's communication will result in measured consumer response.
Through a strategic public relations program, Afilias will attempt to effect a shift in attitude and change in mindset towards the current DNS. This entails creating global acceptance of an umbrella brand over the existing unrestricted TLDs and country-code TLDs.
The overarching objective is to introduce the new gTLD as a "must-have" for all businesses and individuals who already have or want to have a presence on the web. Afilias will position the new gTLD as the next generation of the Internet, and communicate the benefits and advantages of being part of this new generation.
To accomplish the above, Afilias will undertake to create global demand for a new gTLD among small and large businesses as well as individual registrants. Through a coordinated public relations campaign, Afilias will strive to educate the public, create global awareness and appeal of the new gTLD, generate excitement, and create a call-to-action that will translate into trial, sales, and loyalty.
Moreover, Afilias will position itself among ICANN-accredited registrars as a trusted provider of registry services. Afilias will communicate a clear and compelling market vision that embraces registrars around the world. Open membership will be communicated to encourage future participation by new members.
A key success factor in turning the new TLD into a truly global Brand will be the central development of a multi-national strategy based on input from various markets/cultures around the world. Afilias is in a unique position to secure the ongoing involvement of nations representing the future market of domain-name registrars and registrants.
To transform the new gTLD into a global brand, Afilias will implement a strategic communications campaign in all key markets. Consistent positioning and messages that work across all target audiences will be conveyed in the local markets.
In order to ensure consistency of message and achieve efficiency in marketing, global templates will be designed by the lead agency and distributed to offices in local markets for implementation. This includes all strategic planning materials.
The attached budget accounts for implementation of the above PR program. The budget will be allocated in accordance with the overall marketing strategy. Local registrars will be encouraged to supplement this activity.
All communications will be based on the fundamental principle that the Internet is a communications vehicle to be used by everyone. The advent of a new gTLD will provide an "international gateway" for people of all nations to access and utilize the Internet for communication and commerce. The public relations campaign will be tailored to meet the needs of the various target audiences, but the messaging will always be consistent.
The following key messages will be communicated in all press materials:
• Meets Market Demand - The new TLD satisfies unmet global demand for new domain names to keep pace with growth of Internet.
• Smart Roll Out - Afilias will promote new web address while protecting existing .com trademarks.
• Global .com Alternative - The new TLD offers multi-purpose global alternative to .com, providing users with more choice.
Afilias will target contact multipliers such as opinion leaders, media and analysts to reach the customer segments defined below: registrars, registrants, as well as end-users who will need to embrace the new gTLD in order for demand to be created among registrants.
Opinion Leaders Registrars
Mass/Trade Media Registrants
Industry Analysts End-users
Markets with high penetration rates and high growth potential will be targeted, including North America, Europe, Asia, and Latin America.
Afilias will use the pre-launch period of six to nine months to condition the marketplace in anticipation of the actual launch. Excitement will increase over time as Afilias gains significant media coverage and generates word-of-mouth through grass-roots initiatives.
As Afilias gets closer to the launch of the new gTLD, communication will focus on the window of opportunity for companies to register their trademarked names. Afilias will make all policy decisions and process details transparent through published articles and speaking engagements.
At the time of launch, Afilias will secure coverage in mass media and trade media to reach both the individual Internet user and the business community. Regional events will be staged to create maximum awareness and acceptance of the new gTLD.
Target media includes print (newspapers and magazines) and electronic (television, radio, online). The emphasis will shift depending on the launch phase. During the pre-launch phase, the target media will include business and Internet press. The target will be enlarged to include general news and lifestyle media during the launch phase.
Phase 1: Pre-Launch—>Market Conditioning—>;Q-1/2
Phase 2: Soft-Launch—>Sunrise Period —>Q-3
Phase 3: Hard-Launch—>Landrush Period —>Q-4
Phase 4: Post-Launch—>Continue Momentum —>2002
H&K will build a worldwide communications infrastructure to ensure dissemination of information in all target markets. The account will be centrally managed by a lead office in coordination with Afilias. The voice of registrars around the world will be represented by the local H&K offices, and information will be exchanged on a regular basis.
Once the infrastructure is in place, Afilias will kick off the public relations campaign with a major announcement of the new gTLD. Riding on the first wave of publicity, Afilias will begin an information campaign to involve registrars around the world in the launch of the new gTLD. This will be coordinated with the co-op advertising campaign.
Afilias will condition the marketplace in advance of the product launch. By leveraging the expertise of its founding members, Afilias will attempt to secure third-party endorsement from key media and analysts. Afilias will act as a thought leader by articulating the vision of the industry on behalf of registrars worldwide.
The main objective during this phase will be to create awareness of the new gTLD amongst trademark holders. Afilias will be positioned as a reliable registry service capable of handling all conversions. The press coverage generated will trigger registrations and encourage registrars to promote the new gTLD in their own markets.
During this phase, Afilias will create broadscale awareness of the new gTLD via maximum media coverage. Individuals and businesses will learn of the benefits of a new global domain name. The press coverage generated will likely create a national dialogue about the advent of the new gTLD, leading to large volumes of early registrations.
Afilias will sustain interest in the new gTLD among the target audiences. Afilias will conduct public relations programs to generate word-of-mouth and e-mail referrals leading to trial, sales and loyalty among registrants. Afilias will continue to communicate with the registrar community to promote the new gTLD.
Regional Public Relations
In order to ensure that Afilias' messages are disseminated on a worldwide basis, local marketing organizations will be empowered to shape the following programs according to local market needs. All offices will receive program templates with execution guidelines, and all results will be fed into the lead agency to maintain control over the process.
A series of press announcements will be made over a 6-month period to create a crescendo of interest and awareness prior to launch. The appropriate analysts will be briefed prior to meeting with the press in order to secure third-party references. Afilias recommends the following cascade of announcements at regular intervals:
• ICANN grants Afilias a license to operate a new gTLD
• Selection of marketing strategy
• Technology behind new registry service
• Policy issues addressed by Afilias
Opinion Leaders & Analyst Relations
Afilias will meet with opinion leaders such as Internet insiders, advocacy groups, industry groups, and regulatory bodies. This is an opportunity to establish Afilias as a market leader, not just technology experts. The goal will be to establish a solid reference list which can be shared with media to secure more quality news placements.
Editorial Calendar & Contributing Articles
This program will consist of creating a series of white papers, byline articles, op-ed pieces to create an international dialogue on the need for a new global domain name. To maximize media coverage, Afilias will respond to editorial calendar opportunities in target publications and proactively seek placements authored by Afilias members.
Afilias will form alliances with key trade organizations, such as CORE, to reach out to registrars; chambers of commerce to tap into small- and medium-size businesses; and, marketing organizations, such as the International Advertising Association, to communicate with Fortune 500 companies. Through these alliances, Afilias will create an open dialogue and maintain ongoing communications with these target audiences.
In order to build trust and credibility, Afilias needs to be highly visible in key seminars and conferences. The agency will secure speaking engagements for members of Afilias. The designated speakers will espouse the principles of the new gTLD.
Trade Show Participation
Afilias will be present at all relevant trade shows in order to build relationships with registrars, media, and analysts. The agency will construct an eye-catching booth to reinforce the brand and educate the trade as to the success of the new gTLD.
Afilias will invite partners to share in the benefits of success through joint announcements, links to partners' web sites, participation in influencers breakfasts, quarterly meetings, privileged web site access, etc. Afilias will maximize PR spend through co-op press conferences and co-op trade show activities.
An Advisory Board will be created to provide objective, third-party counsel. Statements on behalf of Afilias will be generated in response to the political/social/economic climate affecting domain-name registration and the growth of the Internet around the world.
The new TLD will be launched with maximum fanfare at a press event for target media. Designated spokespeople, including the CEO and COO, will participate in this event. The company's mission, its business model, partners, and the anticipated impact of the new TLD will be unveiled. A piece of original research commissioned by Afilias will provide context for the need/demand for this new product/service (see below).
The event will be simultaneously cast on the web site and will be accompanied by a widespread press mailing to absentee journalists. A satellite media tour will be conducted at time of launch to complement the live press event.
A qualitative/quantitative study that captures attitudes and behavior on the registration of new domain-names and related matters will be conducted by a leading independent research house. This definitive body of research will provide context for news generated by Afilias about the introduction of a new gTLD.
Vision & Voice
Afilias will engage a high-profile spokesperson in the tech arena to communicate the benefits of the new gTLD. By putting a "face to the name" Afilias will endeavor to reinforce the brand identity of the new gTLD.
Afilias will host meetings and seminars at major trade shows or similar industry venues. These events will focus on an industry issue or trend. Select partners and customers will be invited as third-party endorsers.
Afilias will host a series of distinct events aimed at the tech community, small- to mid-size businesses, Fortune 500 companies, and individual registrants. Afilias will sponsor contests and promotions to build awareness and drive demand for the new gTLD.
In addition to using analysts as third-party endorsers, Afilias will also secure testimonials from end-users for use by target media. These testimonials will be used in press materials and in promotional literature.
Crisis Preparedness Plan
It is acknowledged that Afilias will be highly scrutinized. In order to respond quickly and effectively to any negative publicity that may occur, a defense plan will be put in place.
Afilias anticipates that the public relations campaign will generate millions of impressions (see summary in Forecasted Projections) which will educate and excite the public in the new gTLD. As momentum is built in the marketplace, the press coverage will increase exponentially. A high-profile discussion in the media will sway attitudes and in fact enable Afilias to define the next generation of the Internet.
Measurement & Evaluation
A critical part of the program will be arranging and following an ongoing system of measurement. Given the complexity of the new TLD campaign and the varied audiences, Afilias proposes a gauging progress at regular intervals -- monthly, quarterly and/or annually. While the criteria would be agreed upon with Afilias from the outset of the relationship, potential "yardsticks" for the new TLD campaign would include:
• Registrar and registrant enrollment targets.
• Quantity of media coverage.
• Consistency of messages delivered through media coverage, speaking engagements and through third-parties.
• Awareness studies of registrars, registrants, end-users, and members of government and Internet communities.
Estimated Response Projections
The following is a breakdown of the brand building budget with anticipated response levels at the three confidence levels. The charts indicate budget allocation according to brand-building medium.
The following is a breakdown of the cooperative advertising budget with anticipated response levels at the three confidence levels. The charts indicate budget allocation according to direct-response medium.
Afilias believes that the launch of a new gTLD will be a news-breaking event in itself that will carry some significant momentum in generating new registrations, particularly when supported by public relations. One of the major benefits of using a high proportion of one-to-one media is that Afilias can test advertising concepts and various media, and modify spending in each area accordingly. After the initial response period, a comprehensive advertising and public relations plan will position the brand accordingly and develop further significant landrush registrations.