Yingfluence: creative branding with a personal touch
June 30, 2018 (Sat).
The advice of Esther Dyson still rings true today. Six years ago, the founding chairwoman of domain organization ICANN said that we are not running out of domains but "space in people's head". The story of Yingfluence shows that even today you can register a meaningful .com domain by tapping into that little space in your head.
Yingying Li (李莹莹) is a millennial born/raised in China and also educated in the USA. She is well traveled and has worked as a cross-cultural management consultant for over a decade. Her expertise in branding is reflected in the name of the company she started in 2017. The name chosen is Yingfluence. It combines part of Li's name with a play on the word "influence". Interestingly, Yingfluence's Chinese brand 莹响力 (Ying Xiang Li) is identical with the popular term 影响力 (Ying Xiang Li = influence). Look at it closer and you'll even see part of her name in the Chinese brand. Also, she established the talent think tank Yingfluencers as an incubator of cross-cultural influencers/experts. All these elements indicate the work of a creative person.
Yingying and I noticed each other as we both regularly post on LinkedIn to share our own field of knowledge. Naturally, we started a conversation about domains. When she established her company, she also registered Yingfluence.com at the same time. The corporate domain may have cost her little, but it's powerful and positions Yingfluence as a global player because it is brand-matching and uses the global extension .com.
The domain has become part of her brand. Traditionally, branding is about "what": when you think of a brand you think of a product. Domain adds the "where" dimension to it. Now, when people think of Yingfluence, they think of influencers and can easily remember to visit the digital address Yingfluence.com to find out how to become one.
During our conversation, I advised Yingying to register Yingfluence.cn – and she did -- for protection of her brand and also against any future laws to require domains to reside in China. She also registered Yingfluence.org which I think is smart. The .org extension is valuable when starting non-profit activities to build goodwill. For domains which Yingying registered but have no immediate use, they can be forwarded to her corporate domain.
All in all, the story of Yingfluence shows that you can create a global brand and register its matching .com domain by using your creativity.