Here is a snapshot of a billboard at O’Hare Airport in Chicago, IL that features the .BNPPARIBAS new top-level domain:
By advertising www.USA.BNPParibas, the French bank and financial services firm is once again making waves in the .BRAND space.
While generic top-level domains like .SUCKS and .PORN have made headlines in the past few weeks, many in the domain name industry predict that 2015 will be the year that branded top level domains — such as .NIKE and .BMW — emerge as content-rich and secure consumer destinations on the Internet.
So with Q1 of 2015 behind us, are branded top-level domains beginning to emerge as appealing new destinations?
As we have noted in earlier posts, large brands like Marriott International and luxury fashion brand Chloé have already launched their “nic” pages, the first step to launching more content across their branded top-top level domains.
Now French bank and financial services firm BNP Paribas has made waves in the .BRAND space by launching two customer-facing campaigns within its top-level domain.
With Top-Level Domain, BNP Paribas is “Living the Change” Online
In March, BNP launched a new digital initiative called Living The Change. A sleek, interactive site can be found at LivingTheChange.BNPPARIBAS; its .COM counterpart is at livingthechange.com, which redirects to the gTLD equivalent.
BNP promoted the content through a few of its twitter accounts, including via retweets from the company’s Chief Digital Officer:
In addition, BNP built out a robust, consumer-friendly site at https://toutsurmabanque.bnpparibas.net/votre-reaction/securite. This link was sent out to a number of their consumers informing them of the change and asking for their feedback. The welcome page explains the merits and virtues of the .BNPPARIBAS top-level domain, writing:
This translates to: “Bizarre, an address without .net or .fr? It’s secure! Yes, a site that’s 100% secure!”
The site provides information for customers to learn about the new site and to offer their opinions through a feedback form. The bank provided a video for their consumers that discusses the benefits of their new platform, extolling it as a “simpler, more intuitive, more personalized” site.
Finally, the video concludes by implying that the bank will be migrating consumer content to .BNPPARIBAS.
Raising Awareness of the BNP Paribas Top-Level Domain
A .BRAND top level domain such as .BNPPARIBAS will only be successful, of course, if customers use the sites on it. And in order for a customer to trust these new sites, especially in cases where the customer has to enter a password to access such sensitive information as a bank account, the customer must understand what this new top-level domain site is and what it is being used for.
That’s why BNP Paribas’ campaigns – both the content on the new sites and the promotion of the new sites – are critical to the bank’s ability to ultimately make full use of its branded swath of Internet real estate.
Branded Top-Level Domains Will Continue to Gain Momentum
As more brands integrate gTLDs into their digital strategy and use them to curate better user experiences and provide more security, they will benefit from each others’ work and help build support for .BRANDs in general.
“BNP Paribas is setting a new standard on the Internet with their new gTLD address,” CEO Nao Matsukata explained in a recent discussion. “The financial services industry is one of the most represented corporate sectors in the new gTLD applicant pool. Wholly owning and controlling a TLD appeals to banks and insurances companies. They and their customers have often been targets of Internet related scams. A new gTLD is a strong antidote to this problem.”
He went on to note that the fact that BNP Paribas is a global bank validates the global nature ICANN’s New gTLD Program. BNP Paribas has set an impressive standard for what brands could be doing with their TLDs, and it will be exciting to see what’s next for their digital space and their customers.
It is clear is that brands will – and have – set a new standard for online trust and consumer experience.
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