Taking control of its brand online

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Businesses that operate through franchises or dealership networks can face considerable challenges enforcing the use of their brands by licensees and authorised retailers. This is particularly true in the automotive sector, where manufacturers have to try and maintain a uniform brand look and feel across a vast global network of authorised retailers. SEAT have used their dot brand as an important tool in helping them face this challenge.

Use case in brief

Initiative: Control of its global network of distributors

Main model of use: Mini sites

Key benefits: Agile network expansion, brand consistency, control of distributor network, consumer trust.

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SEAT takes control of its network of distributors

SEAT has used its dot brand Top Level Domain (TLD) to reinforce and control its expanding global network of local dealers, garages and retailers by creating mini sites for particular dealers, garages or regional outlets. This approach has enabled the Spanish car manufacturer to rapidly and cost effectively bring new affiliates online, while controlling and ensuring professional use of the SEAT digital brand. By creating a consistent brand across its network of sales affiliates, .SEAT also helps ensure that retail sales are directed through authorised channels.

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Improved user experience

SEAT also sees its dot brand as providing a more trustworthy and intuitive online experience for its customers:

“Compared to most existing TLDs, the .SEAT TLD user experience will greatly enhance predictability and memorability of domain names […] Clients and potential customers seeking information will be able to get accustomed to the predictability of .SEAT domain names. As a result, they also avoid stumbling upon typo-squatting, robotized pay-per-click traps or domain-for-sale pages.” (ICANN application)

Speed to market

In just a few months, SEAT was able to launch a pilot of 95 mini sites (which has since grown to over 700), covering the entire distribution network of SEAT in Spain, and 25% of its global production.

The speed of launch and subsequent growth demonstrates:

  • How dot brand TLDs can profit a global business by creating a strong brand across a network of sales affiliates;
  • The ease with which dot brands can deploy and maintain large numbers of template-based marketing mini sites; and
  • The value of pilot launches to evaluate the use case and track return on investment.
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