What’s in a domain name? A look at the strategies of luxury brands

Like all other industries, luxury brands have not been immune to the pandemic, and in fact, the onset and continued effects of COVID-19 have resulted in significant declines in sales – and margins – in the luxury goods segment. But it’s not just income that has been affected by the pandemic; there is no shortage of brands and have dramatically reshuffled their strategies, which has led them to ‘courageous new industrial sectors’, with software and electronics, for example, ‘brimming with potential for luxury brands’, and also to focus on e-commerce more rigorously than ever before. The increase in consumer spending online and the corresponding reliance of brands on e-commerce has resulted in an increased need for attention among luxury brands for domain name issues.

Given the marked increase in the appetite for e-commerce among high fashion and luxury goods brands, the need to “protect their digital brand identities is more vital now than at any time,” says Clarivate in his recent “Luxury brands: Re-calibrating brand strategies for a changing world” report, noting that domain management is a critical part of the ownership equation, especially for overly self-conscious luxury brands.

Domain name policies are mixed

Examining the domain name registration strategies of some of the world’s leading luxury goods players, Clarivate found that “the picture is decidedly mixed.” For example, the London-based business analysis and analysis firm says Rolex, Moncler, Swatch, Chanel, Calvin Klein, and Gucci are among the companies that “have the most comprehensive domain registration coverage with an approach. proactive registration ”which helps to minimize unauthorized“ third party registrations ”. On the other hand, he found that brands – including Schiaparelli, Givenchy, Fendi, Yves Saint Laurent, Supreme New York, and Chow Tai Fook – “have surprisingly low property scores,” meaning they “operate on global markets primarily through web pages under a single domain name, rather than actively engaging their brand through global domain registrations.

Business approaches are also mixed when it comes to domain registration strategies in Asia, where there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach. According to Clarivate, businesses tend to fall into one of the few main camps. “Some brands, like Armani, have chosen to operate under their main .com site”, regardless of their geographic location. For example, Armani uses the armani.com/cn domain to reach consumers in China. The result, according to Clarivate, is that the domain name armani.com.cn is registered with a third party. Another strategy is the “hybrid approach”, in which companies register a range of geographic domain names for “purely defensive purposes, while creating local content on the pages of their .com site”. Burberry is one such example, having secured all of the major Country Code TLD Extensions (ccTLDs) including .cn, .jp, .hk, and .tw, but nonetheless leveraging its regional content from pages, such as hk.burberry.com, which are linked to a global site.

Considering the different approaches to domain name strategy, Clarivate argues that luxury brand owners can benefit from a strong domain registration policy and strategies that integrate major brands, as well as top level domains. common “high risk”, including “.org, .net, .asia, .shop and .store. When the incorporation of these terms into a registration policy is not possible, Clarivate asserts that “luxury brand owners can monitor domain names that contain descriptive terms such as those mentioned, and also, may consider Asia and other geographic areas of economic growth for their brands in their registration policies.

Litigation and expansion trends

Domain name arbitration and litigation is an area where the trends are clear. “Mainland China’s penchant for luxury brands and Europe’s position as a home to many of the world’s most recognizable and sought-after luxury brands means that they are at the heart of brand litigation. luxury, ”says Clarivate. “Considered as a region, Asia overtakes Europe in terms of the place where the greatest number of actions and cases are filed by luxury brands. According to Clarivate, 41% of actions specific to a brand area were launched in Asia between 2010 and August 2021 (with 31% in mainland China, compared to 21% of actions that took place in Europe and 16% in North America. .

And as briefly stated at the start, Clarivate’s report addresses another trend impacting the brand space: the active expansion of companies beyond their most immediate offerings in terms of market segment, a trend which has, in some cases, been accelerated by the pandemic. The result is that “the previously clear lines between sectors are blurring and the competitive landscape widens” as companies in the luxury brand sector continue to increase their presence in “non-traditional sectors”. Clarivate cites luxury goods conglomerate LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton as an example of what such cross-industry expansion looks like, stating that “computer, software, electrical and scientific products” are among the top five types of depository activity. brand for LVMH in recent years, with lasting deposits for leather goods, of course, and cosmetics.

“Another area of ​​growth and diversification for LVMH”, according to Clarivate, is the personal care category, with candles in particular proving to be “an increasingly important axis in LVMH’s strategy”, as ‘indicates an increase in deposits in the relevant brand. category of products, namely lubricants and fuels.

Yet, delving deeper into the family of brands owned by LVMH, Clarivate noted that the wider trend towards the adoption of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies, as well as developments such as non-fungible tokens , is “particularly pronounced for Louis Vuitton”, as indicated by “a ranking peak in the category of computer games and software in 2018 and 2019, which preceded the launch of the Louis game”. Trademark registration activity in this area is less noticeable for other LVMH brands, such as Fendi and Christian Dior, Clarivate says based on its trademark registration findings. There’s a good chance that will change, as more brands venture into the metaverse to cater to a growing consumer base.

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