March 15 marked the 25th anniversary of the first “dotcom” Web address registration (by computer firm Symbolics Inc., right here in Cambridge, Mass.). With symbolics.com, a new platform was introduced to the world, one that enabled computer users to experience a brand beyond a brick-and-mortar environment. Smart companies quickly staked their claims on the World Wide Web, but many hesitated, partly due to cost of entry as well as doubts about return on investment. Now, of course, there’s no questioning the value of online marketing and there are more ways than ever to wrap your customers in a virtual brand experience.
Any parent can tell you the first rule of naming: Don’t blab your names to the whole world. It’s one of those lessons you learn the hard way. For example, when my wife was pregnant with our first child, I made the mistake of floating one of our top contenders past my father-in-law. “Ava?” he scoffed. “Ava Gardner was such a tramp.” Good thing we also loved the name Lucy.
While this adage may be true, there is a downside. As a Board of Health member in my town campaigning for re-election, I’ve recently faced an unexpected challenge communicating to my fellow community members what the board does and how our work affects them.