BRG Analysis: dotBrands in France￼
Updated: Nov 8, 2022
Following our recent analysis into dotBrand usage in Germany, another country leading the way in branded domains is France. While the region has fewer dotBrands overall, usage across these organisations is high and shows a wide variety of tactics and strategies.
In total there are 22 dotBrands registered in France. This includes very large and recognisable organisations, from financial services to luxury goods. Between them, these TLDs have almost 3,600 domains, of which more than 70% are in use.
The vast majority of these are redirecting domains, driven mainly by a few big brands with a clear redirect strategy in place. By creating shortcuts to places on their existing sites, organisations can make the most of the branding offered by dotBrand domains. What’s more, they can educate users on how to use them, without immediately needing to transition their legacy websites to a new location. It can be a great ongoing strategy if transitioning isn’t an option, or even a way to begin the move to a dotBrand and bring customers along for the ride.
Recently we shone a spotlight on French supermarket chain E.Leclerc, which put its dotBrand front-and-centre of the campaign around its sponsorship of the Tour de France, exposing the domain to millions of viewers. Using the exact-match domain E.Leclerc as its primary address, the organisation has seamlessly tied its online and offline brands to create an easy and recognisable user experience.
In addition to the flagship E.Leclerc, the brand has created hundreds of redirects that allow easy shortcuts to pages on its large corporate website. For example, many E.Leclerc store locations have their own domain which forwards to store information.
Similarly, insurance brand MMA has also established a strong portfolio of redirecting domains. Like E.Leclerc, several MMA branch locations have their own .mma domain shortcut, such as goderville.mma or menton.mma.
This location strategy from MMA and E.Leclerc cleverly sets up an environment in which users can effectively search by location within the dotBrand – typing in their town followed by the dotBrand to find their closest branch.
Other French brands using redirects include energy company Total, building materials firm Weber and even the state-owned railway operator, SNCF.
In 2017, SNCF rolled out the domain oui.sncf (translating to ‘yes’ in French) as its customer-facing ticketing and booking portal. Before making the transition, the domain first redirected for a few months to an article explaining the new address.
Redirects aren’t the only way dotBrands are being used in France however. Banking group BNP Paribas has a number of resolving pages on its dotBrand. These vary from key pages such as histoire.bnpparibas (‘history’), to regional sites such as usa.bnpparibas and apac.bnpparibas, to major campaigns such as wearetennis.bnpparibas – a hub for information on the bank’s sponsorship of the French Open. Like many other European brands, organisations in France are taking advantage of their users’ lower reliance on .com. They’re able to innovate and create new customer experiences on dotBrand domains. The opportunities for greater digital branding and more secure online interactions are just a few of the reasons French brands are among the world’s frontrunners in dotBrand usage.