Donuts Inc. and Afilias, Inc. recently united under a new, single brand, reflecting the company’s commitment to helping customers find, access, and grow their authentic digital identities.
Since 2010, Donuts Inc. has been simplifying and connecting the online world with domain names and related technologies that allow people to build, market, and own their digital identities. The company holds the world’s most extensive portfolio of top-level domains (TLDs), branded TrueName Domains, and is ranked on Inc.’s 5000 list as one of the fastest-growing U.S private companies in 2021. Recently, the company announced a major rebranding uniting Donuts and Afilias, a leading TLD registry operator and provider that Donuts acquired in 2020, under a single brand. CEO Akram J. Atallah explains the process and strategy behind the new Identity Digital brand.
The following are highlights from Success Pitches Magazine’s conversation with Akram J. Atallah about rebranding:
What prompted this rebranding initiative?
“Identity Digital reflects a stronger platform for expressing the core values we have had all along – to provide a secure, authentic digital identity,” says Atallah. “The new name lets us more precisely define to customers who we are and what we can do for them. In addition, the internet is expanding, and businesses must have a digital presence to survive and be successful, so the timing was critical.”
Atallah confirmed this move wasn’t about changing the markets and companies his company currently serves, which includes registrars and web enabler partners and end users. “We revised and upgraded our strategy, enabling us to expand our focus on domain names to our clients’ broader digital identity initiatives,” he says.
What did you learn during the rebranding journey?
“It’s important not to skip steps,” Atallah says. “Shortcuts often result in incorrect assumptions and confusion, and either of these can result in short-sighted decisions or long, drawn-out discussions that waste time. Being organized and clear in your approach always helps.”
Can you share a specific example?
“One example that comes to mind was when we were developing the name. In one phase of the process, we tested our current name and explored candidates for new names. Much of the team felt that one of the current names (we had two) was very strong and would achieve our objectives. Our initial hypothesis was that we already had a great name, but let’s see if we can do any better. The original name did not perform nearly as well as we thought it would. After we digested the data, this solidified the idea that we had to select a new one,” Atallah explains.
“As you might imagine, selecting a name is incredibly subjective,” he says. “Various stakeholders are participating, and their past experiences and perceptions are at play. It’s important to leverage this to gain greater perspective and clarity. Through the questioning, discussion, and overall communication processes, you can better shape your journey and remain open-minded.”
What is included with this rebrand?
Atallah says, “We decided that to truly bring the rebrand to life, the former names (Donuts, TrueName, and Afilias) had to go away, and the following elements had to be updated:
identityVoice/toneWebsite (identity.digital)Presence at distribution partners
Identity Digital encapsulates what were before three different names. Individual brands and products didn’t go away—they are now better defined and consolidated, making it more straightforward for everyone.
How does this rebrand impact the types of companies you want to reach?
“Our audience hasn’t changed,” says Atallah. “We are more precisely defining who we are so that we can let customers know with greater clarity that we are and what we can do for them.”
How does the new brand reflect your customers’ current needs and desires, and what can they expect from the company going forward?
“The internet is expanding—it’s becoming more complex, making it harder than ever to be found without the right tools,” says Atallah. “In addition, everyone is spending more time there. Businesses must have a digital presence to survive and be successful. Identity Digital helps give businesses a secure, authentic digital identity, hence the name.”
What are the three most critical messages you want your new name to convey?
We offer authentic digital identities to businesses, so they can clearly tell their customers who they are and what they do—without compromise.
As with every identity, it’s essential to know it’s secure—Identity Digital domains have added anti-phishing technology. Because Identity Digital domains use both sides of the dot, they are shorter, more memorable, and excellent for SEO,” Atallah says.
How do you see the new brand evolving over the next five years?
“The new brand describes who we are and what we do while leaving room for us to innovate and expand our offering to better serve our customers’ future needs.” Our new brand encompasses our vision, mission, and values as a company. It’s also the primary tool we’ll use to raise our online visibility and live our digital identity,” he says. “After all, what’s more important than your digital identity? It’s your name, a marketing tool, and your front door—all at the same time. That’s heavy lifting, and any new business will tell you it’s something you want to get right.”
Where can readers go to learn more?
“For more information about Identity Digital, visit our website at identity.digital. While you’re there, you can browse hundreds of descriptive domains, find one that best fits your company’s mission and amplify your digital identity,” says Atallah.