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May 23rd, 2016

Canon Takes Its .brand to the World, Moves Its Global Site to .CANON

This post first appeared in circleid.com, May 18, 2016.

graphic image of canon's old and new url to show TLD

As the .brand movement continues to gain momentum across the globe, this week's announcement of yet another high-profile .brand launch was fantastic news for the industry. Japanese powerhouse Canon publicly announced the transition of its global homepage from www.canon.com to www.global.canon and even created a simple, yet powerful image to highlight the innovative move.

In a press release announcing the launch, Canon stated that the new website leverages "the simplicity of the TLD, which is easy to remember and easy to understand, Canon aims to enhance the Company's global brand value."

It is fantastic to see not only such a significant transition, but one heralded so publically by an organization of Canon's size as it rolls out.

The website at www.global.canon is a perfect introduction to the concept of the new address: a highly-visual site that opens with a number of stunning scenic photos and the appearance of the web address before the full site loads. This has the effect of reinforcing to visitors that using a new .brand address will return the content they're looking for in an engaging and easily-navigated environment.

It is particularly exciting to see this launch from Canon, as long time industry watchers will recall that Canon was the first brand to publically announce its intention to apply for a .brand TLD way back in 2010. In a press release at the time, Canon explained that the .canon TLD would allow the business to "globally integrate open communication policies that are intuitive and easier to remember compared with existing domain names such as "canon.com.""

With such a public statement made at that early stage of the new TLD program, the rollout of www.global.canon essentially acts as Canon 'making good' on its promise — and goes to show the complex and time-consuming process required to get a .brand to launch. From an enthusiastic announcement of its intention to apply, to a major transition of its homepage, the road to launching .canon has taken just over six years.

On a more personal level, I can assure you that my work with other major .brand applicants has shown me that the level of support and strategy required here to execute this sort of change shouldn't be understated.

Canon's alignment of the .canon TLD to its brand value and marketing and communications strategies shows that from the outset, numerous aspects of the business had a stake in what happened with .canon. It reiterates the importance of stakeholder engagement and communication in ensuring this valuable digital asset supports organizational goals and has buy-in from all the relevant parties — and illustrates how long this process can take, even with the best of plans.

Canon's new .brand website is a significant step towards familiarizing the average user with the .canon TLD and clearly demonstrates its importance in Canon's future digital strategy.

Many other .brands may not have the desire or ability to completely transition from their primary domains at this point, and will embark on other, gentler approaches such as redirects or promotional names. This is a perfectly acceptable strategy and in many cases, can add just as much or even more value to the brand and their performance.

Canon should be commended for this bold move as this TLD is definitely going to be one to watch. Importantly, it is another wonderful example of the opportunities for .brand owners and helps to continually push the industry standards on this digital branding revolution.


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