Inspiration is a powerful force that drives growth and success for brands around the world. As consumers, we are constantly seeking out brands that inspire us, that speak to us on a deeper level and connect with our values and aspirations. In today’s competitive marketplace, being an inspiring brand is not just a nice-to-have, it’s a must-have. That’s why Wunderman Thompson has developed ‘The Inspire Score: Top 100 2022‘, a ranking of the Top 100 Most Inspiring Brands in the World today. This proprietary diagnostic tool measures a brand’s inspiration status and uncovers the brand attributes that fuel business growth through their ability to inspire people.
The ‘Inspire Score: Top 100’, first launched in 2020, is part of Wunderman Thompson’s global brand study, Inspiring Growth, the world’s largest ongoing study into inspiration. The study explores why brands need to be inspirational, how inspiration drives growth and what brands can do to inspire their customers.
As the world’s foremost researcher on inspiration, we have again proven that there is a strong correlation between inspiration and brand growth. The brands at the top of our list have shifted with the zeitgeist and placed themselves at the centre of people’s lives, perfectly positioning themselves to take advantage of inspiration as a powerful lever for growth.
Mel Edwards, Global Chief Executive Officer, Wunderman Thompson
The 2022 ranking is derived from WPP’s proprietary BAV dataset, with the 2021-22 data compiled from over 85,000 studies of 19,000 brands in 722 categories and 26 markets. This comprehensive dataset provides a detailed and insightful view into the world’s most inspiring brands, revealing what sets them apart from the competition and what they can teach us about the power of inspiration in business.
The Impact of Domain Strategy on Building a Strong Brand Identity
A domain strategy is an essential component of building a strong brand identity that inspires customers to engage with a business. A well-chosen domain name can establish trust, create a sense of professionalism, and make it easier for customers to find a brand online. By choosing a domain name that is relevant and memorable, businesses can inspire customers to connect with their offerings and build long-term loyalty. In today’s digital age, a strong domain strategy is critical for businesses looking to inspire their customers and compete effectively in the marketplace.
The Top 100 Most Inspiring Brands have unique approaches to naming and domain strategy, with some using creative and memorable names to establish their brand identity, while others choose more straightforward and descriptive names that make it easy for customers to understand their offerings. In this article, we will examine some of the top brands on the list and their different approaches to naming and domain strategy. By analyzing their choices, we can gain insights into how these brands have built their inspiring identities and achieved success in their respective industries.
CVCV Domain Names
CVCV domain names have become increasingly popular among businesses looking to establish a strong brand identity. CVCV stands for consonant-vowel consonant-vowel and refers to words that are short, easy to pronounce, and memorable. These types of words have a positive and bouncy sound, making them appealing to customers across different languages and cultures.
Interestingly, 7 of the companies on the Top 100 Most Inspiring Brands list have CVCV domain names. These brands include Dove, Visa, Sony, Nike, Lego, Bose, and Puma. These brands have successfully utilized the power of CVCV domain names to create strong brand identities that are easily recognizable and memorable.
Lego’s remarkable journey spans nine decades, transforming from a humble carpenter’s workshop to a thriving multinational corporation and one of the largest toy manufacturers worldwide. The Lego Group was established in 1932 by Ole Kirk Christiansen, a skilled carpenter from the town of Billund in Denmark, who started crafting wooden toys. However, little did he know that his passion for creating toys would lay the foundation for a global enterprise that would revolutionise the toy industry.
In 1934, the company was officially named “Lego,” derived from the Danish phrase “leg godt,” which translates to “play well.” Lego’s famous motto, “only the best is good enough”, was coined in 1936 by Christiansen to inspire his employees to always strive for the highest quality.
In 1947, Lego expanded its product line to include plastic toys, and in 1949, it introduced an early version of the now iconic interlocking bricks, calling them “Automatic Binding Bricks”.
By 1954, Christiansen’s son Godtfred had become the junior managing director of the Lego Group. It was his conversation with an overseas buyer that sparked the idea of creating a toy system. Recognizing the immense potential of Lego bricks for creative play, Godtfred set out to improve their locking ability and versatility. After five years of research and development, the modern brick design was finally developed and patented in 1958.
Over the years, Lego has continued to innovate and evolve, staying relevant and appealing to new generations of children. The company has collaborated with popular franchises such as Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Marvel, producing themed sets that have become some of the most popular and sought-after Lego sets in recent years.
The scale of a company’s domain portfolio can be a crucial aspect of its online presence, and Lego appears to have an extensive one. As evidenced by the information available on Whoxy, the company possesses nearly 8,000 domains, indicating its proactive approach towards safeguarding its brand identity and intellectual property.
Three-Letter .com Domain Names
Six of the companies on the Top 100 Most Inspiring Brands list have successfully leveraged the power of three-letter .com domain names, including BMW.com, DHL.com, KIA.com, KFC.com, IBM.com, and UPS.com.
The beauty of this type of naming asset is its brevity and versatility as an acronym for various longer business names. With only 17,576 possible three-letter combinations, all .com variations have already been claimed and are only available for resale. Considering that there are more than 150 million .com domains currently registered, owning a three-letter .com domain reflects not only prestige but is also a solid investment in the brand’s future.
Founded in 1944 as Kyungsung Precision Industry, today Kia is South Korea’s second-largest automobile manufacturer. Kia declared bankruptcy in 1997, during the Asian financial crisis, and in 1998 reached an agreement with Hyundai to diversify by exchanging ownership between the two companies. The brand name KIA stands for KI or “To Rise From” and A or Asia, « to rise from Asia ».
In addition to its main domain, Kia also owns several additional domains, such as kiamedia.com, which serves as a hub for news, photos, and videos related to the brand and borrego.com, a domain dedicated to a particular car model offered by the company.
We believe movement inspires ideas. Great ideas come to you when you’re on the move, whether you’re walking, running, or driving. Our vision is to create sustainable mobility solutions for consumers, communities, and societies around the world. This is why we create the spaces that inspire you being through our products or our stores, and meaningful and convenient services that free up time for the activities you enjoy the most.
Two-Letter .com Domain Names
Two-letter .com domain names are considered to be some of the most valuable and highly coveted in the world of digital branding and marketing. These types of domain names are highly coveted due to their uniqueness and rarity, as there are only a total of 676 two-letter .com domain names that exist.
Four of the companies on the Top 100 Most Inspiring Brands list have such names Facebook (FB.com), Hewlett Packard (HP.com), Volkswagen (VW.com), and Burger King (BK.com). Each of these companies has leveraged their two-letter domain names to build brand recognition, establish a strong online presence, and inspire their customers.
You can also see global brands like Apple securing two-letter names for side products. The company uses the domain ME.com for its iCloud, cloud-based data storage and processing system.
Facebook / FB.com
On February 4, 2004, Mark Zuckerberg launched a site called “TheFacebook”, which initially used the domain name TheFacebook.com. However, the company soon realized that a shorter and more memorable name would be crucial for its growth and success. In 2005, Facebook dropped the “The” from its name and purchased the domain name Facebook.com for $200,000 from About Face, Corp.
When asked in 2009 by a TechCrunch interviewer what he might do differently today if he knew any better, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he “would get the right domain name”.
Facebook’s success story highlights the crucial role that domain names play in building a strong brand identity and establishing a memorable online presence. While the cost of acquiring a valuable domain name may seem high, the long-term benefits can be immeasurable. As demonstrated by Facebook’s acquisition of Facebook.com and FB.com, a well-chosen domain name can make all the difference in inspiring customers and driving business growth.
Personal Names as Brand Names
Using personal names as brand names is a popular strategy that has been adopted by many successful companies. It is a way of creating a unique and memorable brand identity that resonates with customers. A personal name can bring a sense of familiarity and trust to a brand, making it easier for customers to connect with and remember the company. It also allows companies to create a sense of personality and identity, which can be crucial for building brand recognition and loyalty.
Thirty-one of the companies on the Top 100 Most Inspiring Brands list have personal names as their brand names. These include Colgate, Nestlé, Toyota, Ford, Hewlett Packard (HP), Tesla, Philips, McDonald’s, Canon, Nike, Mercedes, Heineken, Honda, Dell, Knorr, Vick’s, Bosch, Bose, Lipton, Smirnoff, Harley-Davidson, Marriott, Jack Daniel’s, Bacardi, Disney, Kellogg’s, Heinz, Pringles, Hilton, Mazda and Adidas.
Tesla is one of the most innovative and inspiring companies in the world today, and its success story is one that has captivated people around the globe. The company was incorporated in July 2003 by Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning as Tesla Motors, named after inventor and electrical engineer Nikola Tesla.
In February 2004, Elon Musk became the largest shareholder of the company via a $6.5 million investment. According to Musk, who has served as CEO since 2008, the primary purpose of Tesla is to expedite the move to sustainable transport and energy obtained through electric vehicles and solar power.
In February 2017, Tesla Motors shortened its name to simply Tesla and upgraded its domain name from TeslaMotors.com to the exact brand match Tesla.com. This move reflected the company’s evolution beyond just producing electric cars to include a range of products and services related to sustainable energy. The new domain name also aligns with the vision and image of the company, as Tesla now designs and manufactures electric vehicles (cars and trucks), battery energy storage from home to grid scale, solar panels, and solar roof tiles.
To secure the Tesla.com domain name, Elon Musk personally invested $11 million in February 2016 to buy it from its previous owner. The move was a bold statement about the company’s commitment to its brand and its long-term vision for sustainable energy.
Buying Tesla.com took over a decade, $11M & amazing amount of effort. Didn’t like TeslaMotors.com even when we were only making cars.
Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla
Today, Tesla is one of the world’s most valuable companies and is, as of 2023, the world’s most valuable automaker. Its innovative products and services, combined with its commitment to sustainability and visionary leadership, have made Tesla a true inspiration in the world of business and technology.
It’s no surprise that all the companies on The Inspire Score: Top 100 2022 list have chosen to operate on the .com extension. This extension is one of the most widely recognized and trusted domains, making it a popular choice for businesses looking to establish their online presence. Customers naturally tend to trust .com as it has dominated the internet for decades.
With 99 of the world’s most inspiring brands owning an exact brand match .com domain name, it is clear that having the right domain name is critical for establishing a strong online presence and inspiring customers. This proof highlights the importance of investing time and effort into choosing the right domain name that matches the brand name exactly.
An exact brand match domain name is one of the most effective ways to establish a strong online presence and build brand recognition. It can also make it easier for customers to find the company’s website, leading to increased traffic and potentially higher conversions.
Nissan is the only company on the list that does not own its exact brand match domain name, which can be seen as a missed opportunity. It’s surprising that a company of Nissan’s size and stature did not secure its domain name from the beginning. If you were to type Nissan.com into your web browser, you would not find the expected polished presentation of Nissan’s latest lineup.
In the early 1990s, Uzi Nissan started the Nissan Computer Corporation. In 1994, he acquired the domain name Nissan.com to sell his computer-related products and services. However, the other Nissan, a Japanese multinational automobile manufacturer, wanted the domain. As soon as it was clear Uzi wouldn’t sell the domain, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. filed a lawsuit against Nissan Computer on December 10, 1999. Several issues and claims were brought and the case went on for 20 years. While Nissan Motor Companyowns the exact brand match .com for most of its individual product lines (Infiniti.com, Datsun.com, and Nismo.com), Nissan Motors uses the domain name Nissan-global.com, Nissanusa.com for its US website and variations of the brand name + country and extensions for other markets.
The case of Nissan highlights the potential consequences of not securing a domain name and the need for proactive measures to protect a brand’s online presence. It serves as a reminder to businesses to prioritize domain protection as an essential aspect of their overall brand strategy.
Below is the full list of the Top 100 Most Inspiring Brands compiled by Wunderman Thompson. More detailed information and the exact ranking of each brand can be found at WundermanThompson.com.
Head & Shoulders
The North Face
When it comes to premium domain names, it’s important to weigh the potential loss in terms of brand recognition and revenue against the cost of the investment. In the long run, a premium domain name can be a valuable asset for your business. Contact us to learn more about our premium domain options and how they can help your business succeed.