Since 1995, Amazon.com has become the most recognized brand on the Internet. Building a leading brand in four years could happen only there.
It begins with the URL. A customer's first exposure to a net company is through its URL. If it is short, easy to type and positively lodged in a customer's mind, a URL will attract visits -- just as a name-brand store with a convenient location and parking attracts shoppers in the bricks-and-mortar world.
EXPERIENCE A MUST
Customer experience is king. On the Internet, where interaction with any product or service is a few clicks away, excellent customer experience is a prerequisite. At Amazon.com, we are obsessed with creating a delightful experience for our customers on every visit.
We obtain a constant stream of customer feedback, which has led to developments such as 1-Click. It allows Amazon.com to reference a customer's account automatically for shipping and billing information. We recently added GiftClick, which lets customers shop for each other. Personalization creates opportunities for one-to-one branding.
The Web creates an unprecedented opportunity to develop highly personal relationships with individual shoppers on a large scale -- something that simply cannot be duplicated in the physical world. At Amazon.com, we leverage this capability by providing each customer with a shopping experience tailored to his preferences.
For example, returning customers are greeted by name and offered product recommendations based on previous purchases.
WORD OF MOUTH
Highly personalized service and one-to-one branding pays off for Amazon.com through word-of-mouth marketing.
Word-of-mouth marketing can be powerful. Clearly, there is nothing more powerful for a brand than one satisfied customer attracting another.
The result of this combination of one-to-one branding and word-of-mouth marketing can be seen in the rapid adoption of Amazon's Wish List service. Customers are given automatic e-mails and e-cards so they can notify friends and family to review the lists and create their own.
Ultimately, every detail contributes to the brand experience and therefore every employee must be on the same brand page and be committed to providing a quality product.
Sometimes branding challenges require out-of-the-box thinking. Virtually every company has its branding challenges. For example, just 18 months ago, Amazon.com was an online bookseller.
Today, the company also is the leading online provider of music and video and recently launched auctions, toys and consumer-electronics businesses.
To extend our brand beyond books and build awareness for our new toy store, we are launching extensive print, TV and online advertising. In addition to traditional advertising, however, we recently announced a ToyQuest competition, designed to capture the imaginations of children and parents alike.
The best is yet to come. With the advent of the Internet, new ways of serving customers and new ways of marketing are being invented. The next generation of leading brands will come from companies with a profound understanding of how the Internet is changing the way we live, work, think and shop.