What You Can Learn from Those Old GoDaddy Spots

BY Courtney Huckabay
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Remember those terribly over-​sexualized Super Bowl commercials that had absolutely nothing to do with domain names? Katee Van Horn is working hard to help us all forget them. As GoDaddy's Vice President of Global Engagement & Inclusion, she's been instrumental in affecting change in marketing campaigns to reflect the kind of business GoDaddy really is. Van Horn spoke about the company's internal and external rebranding at the Women in Digital Annual Conference in Columbus, Ohio.

"The marketing we were doing did not match our business inside at all," Van Horn told the attendees in the Southern Theatre. "Our culture is about helping small businesses."

Van Horn said people asked her all the time how she could work in such a sexist environment, for such a sexist company. Based purely on television and cable ads, consumers' perceptions of the brand were all wrong and very far from the truth of the business. And in GoDaddy's case, the perception was so polarizing that it was turning customers and prospects off.

Now is a great time for you to bring this topic to light with any advertisers you think might be straying from their company values. If you have accounts in the middle of a rebrand, or in the beginning stages of even thinking about a brand refresh, be sure to have conversations with them about syncing all their advertising efforts with their cultures and core audiences. Use GoDaddy as a real-​life example of why brand authenticity truly matters to the bottom line.

GoDaddy has been able to transform public opinion as well as internal opinion. With a new CEO and a focus on inclusion, awareness and open dialogue, Van Horn's team paved the way to better representation in marketing and a culture where employees were no longer embarrassed to say where they worked.

First things first, they changed the commercials.

Then they aligned all their marketing with their purpose.

The company ensured they were sponsoring, speaking and exhibiting at the right conferences. GoDaddy reps started spreading the word about technology for small businesses and showing their digital expertise at digital-​focused tradeshows – constantly reinforcing who they really are and what the business really does.

Encourage your clients to do an end-​of-​the-​year check-​up on their brand consistency and messaging.