International Business: AtTask, @task and rebranding for international growth

Published: Friday, April 12 2013 7:00 a.m. MDT

Fortunately, SEO efforts by AtTask marketing have paid off, and even Google and Bing searches for “@task” or “task” return AtTask.com as a top result. That was not always the case, but it goes to show that concentrated SEO work can help to overcome certain branding challenges.

Even more common symbols like the ampersand — & — present online branding challenges that companies must counteract with a solid SEO strategy. Johnson & Johnson uses the abbreviated domain name www.jnj.com, which may not make sense outside of English. However, www.johnsonsandjohnson.com forwards to the same corporate site, and searches for "Johnson & Johnson" or "Johnson&Johnson" return the same top result because leading search engines do recognize ampersands. Most of the company’s consumer-focused websites like www.JohnsonsBaby.com do not have the same challenge.

Other brand names that include ampersands choose other methods to represent or eliminate the ampersand from their domain name. Barnes & Noble spells it out at www.BarnesAndNoble.com. M&Ms replace the ampersand with a hyphen at www.M-Ms.com. Both Dolce & Gabana and AT&T eliminate the character at www.dolcegabana.com and www.att.com respectively.

An international brand check can identify ways for foreign customers to find and recognize you more easily online, as in the case of AtTask. Or, in the case of other brands, an international check can help prevent embarrassing blunders that might equate your name with something obscene. These evaluations usually consist of a short survey of linguists and country-specific brand checkers in various potential markets. Organizations can perform international brand checks through a translation company, a multilingual marketing agency, or their own global networks. What do potential international customers think about your brand name?

International views on branding, rebranding

Branding is not easy, and branding for international markets brings additional challenges. Learn from the success of expert panelists in Utah who will share their views with the Utah chapter of the American Marketing Association (Utah AMA) at 4 p.m. Wednesday, April 17, in Riverton. Register at the Utah AMA website for the panel discussion “International Views on Branding & Rebranding.”

Adam Wooten leads translation service departments to help international companies grow globally. He also teaches a course on translation technology at Brigham Young University. Email: adam.wooten@byu.edu. Follow him on Twitter at AdamWooten.

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