An overwhelming portion of the responses seem to indicate that the community is not aware of the consequences in choosing niche branding. So many bitcoin business ventures which are doomed to failure do coincidentally have a commonality: ‘Bit’ or ‘Coin’ are built into the brand.
While many bitcoin businesses and bitcoin based brands do not ultimately succeed for a multitude of reasons, this shared feature is striking. There is nothing wrong with this approach; it conveys very clearly what the domain of the company or brand is. But perhaps it conveys too clearly?
The bitcoin community, in its primordial infancy, primarily consisted of computer science majors and software engineers and programming hobbyists—in short, dweebs and geeks. Note that I do not claim to not fall into this crowd. But the social dynamics of this crowd do not lead to a heighted awareness of its own relations with other groups, which explains the recklessness of many of the suggestions.
The initial bitcoin community was intensely focused on the underlying complex technology. The name ‘Bitcoin’, while better than ‘Hashcash’, still conveys the underlying computing complexity. Again, there is nothing wrong with this in of itself.
But to a business or a brand that seeks to maximize its customer base or brand recognition, it may be beneficial to reconsider.
Here is the central point: As bitcoin becomes more predominate, the percentage of the community that is of the technical-minded interests becomes smaller. The people joining the community these days are not that much interested in the technical side of things. The name ‘Bitcoin’ is just a name to them and many of them don’t know precisely what a bit is; they only know bits relate to computers in some vague way. There is nothing wrong with this in of itself, but for those who desire the bitcoin community to grow, they must be aware that those who have not yet joined the community do not have this technical knowledge and don’t really care to.
Companies that take on some of these derived names, in effect, can end up conveying to people not in the community, “Hey, we do cool stuff with these incredibly complex cryptocurrencies—things that you don’t and can’t easily comprehend fully. Want to buy our product or use or service?” Many people answer with a resounding “No, thanks.” Concealing the underlying complexity and focusing on ease of use through intuitive design based on analogy—that’s the approach to getting the non-technical audience.
Now, there is another aspect of branding we can consider, too. Some examples I will use are MTV’s original logo, Cartoon Network’s original logo, and Headline News. These were brands that initially were built with a focus on their domain, as a foothold and initial grab at an audience. Through the years, as their audience and scopes broaden, they have all deemphasized their original domain, to distance themselves from what might be perceived as some form of hypocrisy. MTV shifted from music videos and took the ‘Music Television’ out of the logo. Cartoon Network, after changing the onscreen logo to ‘CN’, felt free enough to debut only live-action shows for the entire year of 2009. Headline News at some point decided to play Forensic Files all damn day after becoming ‘HLN’. There are two interpretations to take for a company seeking to broaden its scope: (1) This is a proven strategy of starting a brand by initially claiming one distinct audience and then, after gaining that audience, attempt to soft-rebrand in order to take on more diverse audiences, or (2) Prevent future criticism by avoiding the pitfall of tying the brand too closely to one particular scope.
I suppose, if Bitsquare is completely dedicated to the ideal of a decentralized exchange and does not foresee abandoning this course, then it may be permissible to have branding that communicates that intent. It may not be advisable, however, to be bitcoin-specific. There are other cryptocurrencies, why prevent the future possibility of taking on other very closely related domains?
Many successful digital brands share a commonality. And while having this feature does not guarantee widespread success, typically the brands that are built on this observation are also capable of recognizing the other aspects of marketing. In the 21st century, branding, to truly penetrate through all the noise, must be clear and crisp. Simple and easy to remember is one aspect. Easy to spell and easy to type is another. Google. Yahoo. Reddit. Double letter domains appear to be very successful, but only if they are relatively short and not convoluted.
Since the driving principle is a decentralized exchange, if Bitsquare could pickup deex.com, that would be a solid direction to take. After doing a whois, it looks like deex.com is owned by some Canadian domain-sitting company, yummynames.com, and currently listed for sale at $8,600. Considering that it is a 4-letter double-letter .com domain, it isn’t frightfully overpriced. I realize someone may snatch it up right as this gets posted.
deex, or DEcentralized EXchange. Find some competent graphic designers to come up with visual concepts other than icon-on-side-of-text, and Bitsquare might have itself a new brand. I’m seeing lowercase single-color text ‘over’ a light color depiction of nodes, but most of the few nodes are visible on both sides of the text. Not too many nodes, just enough to get the point across, with some semblance of offset-symmetry, to balance with the height of the ‘d’ in ‘deex’.
It is also worth nothing that many hugely successful brand names have no real meaning at all and are simply just single words. Single words are easy to remember, are easy to build logos around, and can be ambiguous enough to appear to a domain, even though they can be related with virtually any domain. Single words do not alienate potential audiences. If an international audience is sought, it may be important to pick a combination of letters that would be not too awkward to attempt to pronounce.
I look forward to using deex in the future.