May 5, 2015

Presidential candidate’s URL snafu reinforces importance of branding

On this blog, we've discussed the importance of securing branded domain names, social media handles and other calling cards that can keep your marketing efforts airtight. A high-profile example of overlooking this step in the branding process is newly announced Republican presidential candidate, Carly Fiorina. This week, the site "" redirects to a page bearing this message:

"Carly Fiorina failed to register this domain. So I'm using it to tell you how many people she laid off at Hewlett-Packard. It was this many." The copy is followed by 30,000 sad-face emoticons. 

What emerges isn't a partisan issue so much as a reminder to enterprise leaders about the importance of branding. This year, a host of new web domains has made seizing the right digital real estate more important than ever. 

Vanity Fair calls the process "digital diligence," or the responsibility for individuals and organizations to seal their web presence before undertaking a major campaign, political or otherwise. In tech mergers and acquisitions, this can be critical to articulating a polished, deliberate message. 

Individuals running for public office aren't the only entities that can be subject to adversarial campaigns. Whether lacking the appropriate Twitter account or web URL makes your business look sloppy or invites attacks from competitors, prevention is the best way to keep your branding under control. Digital diligence is necessary to avoid embarrassment, distractions and misuse of your brand signatures. 

From the outside, failing to perform those checks can look like a sign of incompetency. In Fiorina's case, the accuracy of facts listed on the .org website have been called into question. Incidentally, they refer to a tech merger Fiorina managed as head of Hewlett Packard. 

"As for the 30,000 jobs, that's certainly true, but as Politifact pointed out in 2010, it's a bit more complicated than the raw number," clarifies Brian Barrett of Wired Magazine. "Fiorina oversaw a merger with then-tech-giant Compaq during her HP tenure, and many of the eliminated jobs came from the redundancies that occur when you mush two companies together."

Whether or not the data points are legitimate, the digital diligence damage has been done. In any high-profile campaign, kicking off the news cycle on a strong note can make a powerful first impression, and coverage of her candidacy has begun with an unfortunate distraction. 

With the guidance of an experienced M&A advisor, your company can navigate the complicated merger or acquisition process. The right deal can help your business meet its growth objectives and reach a broader audience. Contact us today to learn more about our solutions for tech companies in search of an M&A deal.