Making .uk the ultimate British business ally.


Making .uk the ultimate British business ally.

The challenge.

Nominet, the official registry for .uk domain names, was facing competition for market share against .com. With around 11 million new domains already registered yearly, Nominet wanted to build awareness, credibility, and a positive perception of .uk domains. They also wanted to drive more registrations from small businesses and individuals with personal brands.

Their brief? A three-month summer campaign to test creative ideas, messaging, and channels. We said, “yes please!” The plan was to then take the learnings from this test period to inform a longer-term programme of activity.

Delving into the data.

By immersing ourselves within the market landscape, we found that having a solid online presence is crucial for business success. Yeah, that’s kind of a given in today’s world. But interestingly, we also learned that there are many SMBs in the UK that don’t have a website. Instead, operating through referrals or their presence on social media sites. Not only does a website give customers the impression that you’re a legitimate business, but we also found that the domain ending can have a meaningful effect on perception or trust too.  

Of course, the SMB audience is a broad one. So, we looked closely at which types of businesses represented the largest audience groups and compared these against the greatest propensity to change their behaviour. Essentially, we wanted to make the most efficient use of our media budget by strategically targeting our creative deliverables to the audiences that were most likely to see the value-add of a website and, specifically, a .uk domain.  

Leveraging our learnings.

With research and our strategic takeaways in hand, we started to develop our creative approach. Aiming to encapsulate a positive ‘go-getter’ vibe with our UK audience, a campaign idea took shape: “Show you mean business with .uk domain.” 

We spent some time researching what really matters to our SMB audience, as well as what a .uk domain delivers – trust, credibility, and safety. These valuable insights, backed by solid data points, were leveraged and transformed into our lead messaging. A collaborative creative brainstorm resulted in a mix of ideas that played on the idea of yin and yang. If you’re a UK business, it’s a no-brainer to have a website with a .uk domain. We also considered the best ways to share these messages on different channels, with clear goals to keep us on track. 

Making it authentic.

The campaign content was crafted with a human touch, featuring examples of real people and showcasing actual businesses that were likely to be operating without an online platform. We decided to spotlight the industry sub-segments that our research had identified.  

The campaign theme was then extended to personal branding, with a more aspirational approach –asking our audience, “Where will your website take you?”  

Our media channels were strategically selected to reach our shortlisted audiences, with different channels and targeting tactics used depending on whether our content was for SMBs without a website, startups, or individuals with a personal brand. For example, a programmatically placed TV ad went after the SMB audience in a broad way, while TikTok was used to home in on members of our younger audience who may be interested in promoting their own brand. Beyond those specific examples, a mix of social media, digital display, podcasts, radio, vertical media and OOH was also leveraged to test and learn how best to engage with these audiences and what messages were most effective.  

The results.

Following market research conducted by Nominet after the campaign went live, we found that our work has significantly affected perceptions of .uk domains, revealing impressive gains – particularly for such a short-term campaign.  

Post-campaign, awareness of .uk domains has increased by four percentage points – up to 72%. In terms of perception, Nominet found that many key terms that they had actively wanted to improve, had done just that. UK domains are now more closely linked to positive associations such as;

  • “established” (+7 to 34%)
  • “credible” (+7 to 29%)
  • “trustworthy” (+6 to 30%).

Similarly, in addressing the ‘proper business’ perception, “it’s professional” (+12 to 27%) and “it’s a legitimate organisation” (+8 to 26%) also saw impressive uplifts.  

Familiarity with – Nominet’s availability, comparison, and support website – has also grown significantly (+13 to 27%).

Overall, the campaign has taken effective steps to build the awareness and positive perceptions of UK domains, supporting Nominet’s long-term strategy to grow market share relative to .com. 

Our UK domain awareness campaign was a great success! Torpedo’s data-driven strategy not only enabled us to pinpoint and engage the audience segments that had the most potential, but also to develop an intelligent creative strategy that tapped into human psychology and drove home our core propositions in a powerful and actionable way. Our carefully selected mix of channels and tactics taught us valuable lessons for driving long-term impact, and the short-term results also delivered beyond our expectations in generating awareness and persuading the hearts and minds of our SME audience that a UK domain is a no-brainer for their business.

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