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Make My Day

The rest, which comprises the bulk of offerings online, will fight it out to be one of a chosen few in each category. Online relationships require as much of an investment on the part of the customer as the real-world counterparts. It takes great emotional energy to become involved with a brand as much as it does people and institutions. With limited time and personal bandwidth, we will carefully choose those offerings that we trust, can rely upon, and provide utility. All else will be discarded or ignored, just as in the offline world.

Online branding is not a result of out-shouting the competition. That works in the offline world. The Cluetrain Manifesto advocates values over volume, which recognizes subtle influences placed by users—limited attention span in the face of increased demands for our attention.

Because of the customers' bias toward limits, brand marketers who understand the entire branding process are trying to move as quickly as they can to establish their offerings as the "one and only you will ever need." To the first mover goes the market advantage. To second and third go the crumbs. To all those who follow, there will be nothing without extraordinary effort. And this is the reason why Amazon.com continues to sacrifice profit for brand power.

The one constant that cuts across all market categories and all online and offline strategies is the customer saying "Make my day." The strongest brands are the companies/sites that go beyond mere awareness and identification with an age group. The strong brands help people simplify their daily lives by saving them time, adding convenience to shopping and, incidentally, allowing them to buy at lower prices.

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