What is Event Marketing? (Definition)
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Sponsorship, Domain Name Branding, and Your Event

Below is a scenario that has come up once or twice in years past. Let me start by stating I fully realize the importance of sponsorship to events.  Some events might not be able to take place without the support of sponsors.  Recently a particular case study prompted me to carefully examine the relationship between domain name branding and sponsorship.

A Sponsor Wanting to Rebrand the Domain Name
In the case study the title sponsor for an event wanted to rebrand the domain name used for the event’s web site to be sponsor centric. The domain name would include the sponsor’s name and the type of event. Some might think it’s an easy position to logically justify.  If a title sponsor is giving a large donation to help support the event, why not rebrand the domain name?  Consider this; the event already had a well established domain name that had been used for almost 8 years. Additionally, over $350,000 USD was spent on advertising for the event over 8 years with the previous domain name featured prominently.

When to Rebrand Your Domain Name

The one instance where you might want to consider rebranding your domain name to be sponsor centric is when you lock a title sponsor into a long term sponsorship agreement.

Local and Out of Town Domains
If you get event attendees from outside the local area and your title sponsor is only known locally you might run into additional branding challenges. You might want to consider using one domain name locally and another that resonates with out of town people

When Changing Your Domain Name, Keep your old Domain Name Alive
If you do decide to rebrand your event’s domain name, keep your previous domain names active and pointing to your new domain.  People who have an affinity for your previous domain name use it to get to your web site. From a search engine perspective, it can take several months or years to properly re-index a new domain name. Don’t forget to consider older links associated with the previous domain name.

Ultimately the decision to use a new domain name or stay with an existing one is the decision of the event organizers.  Make sure you choose wisely. If you’re event attendees are accustomed to using one domain name, a change might not be in your best interest.

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