Since the emergence of the competitive environment that began in France with the decentralization policy of the 1980’s, regional authorities are engaged to develop touristic and industrial attractiveness by encouraging interregional migration. These issues have led them to promote their image at the national level, and sometimes international. Promotion strategies have been developed, regularly materialized by bill-boarding campaigns for regional brands in the corridors of the Paris metro, each advertizing their competitive clusters or the quality of their lifestyle.
When ICANN launched the new gTLD program in Paris in 2008, the regional authorities understood the benefits of extending their activities online. What could be better to increase their competitive dynamic than by acquiring a “piece” of the Internet? In fact, such a system has long been available at the national level, with country-code Top-Level-Domains. But are French regions really using this system as a strategic focus to promote their image online and take advantage of the connotations of these TLDs?
With the exception of official domain names based on the “.gouv.fr” TLD, regional authorities in France have yet to join forces under a national digital banner, such as the recent www.france-2020.com launched by the French employers’ association (MEDEF). Despite this fact, initial response from the public consultation on the “France” brand has highlighted our country’s assets, the creativity and enthusiasm behind our productivity for instance, which are the envy of our neighbors. French expertise in addressing and the originality of the management model of the French TLD will no doubt be recognized as a competitive advantage for the France brand, just as the regional strategies based on the upcoming launch of the new geographic TLDs.