NONE: Re: ONLINE-ADS>> P&G/branding

Re: ONLINE-ADS>> P&G/branding

Alex Nathanson (
Fri, 28 Aug 1998 07:29:04 -0500 (CDT)

At 10:25 AM 8/26/98 -0500, Patrick Murphy wrote:
>Here's a company built on the time-honored business practice of
>branding as a way to sell product. Now it's faced with a medium
>that promises to subvert what P&G has practiced so successfully
>for over a hundred years. There's a lot of hype surrounding the
>Internet, but one thing is sure: e-commerce works. Whether it's
>direct marketing (e.g., Dell, or the auction model
>(eBay) or good old-fashioned price competition (E*trade),
>branding has nothing to do with it.

Mr. Murphy,

Branding has and will continue to play a critical role in the
purchase process, both online and offline. Consumers are
overwhelmed with information and purchase options these days,
from blaring radio and TV commercials to ads in magazines,
newspapers, billboards and yes, even web banners. Whether they
are aware of it or not, consumers use brand preference every time
they buy something. Brands are like information shortcuts --
they help consumers quickly sort through purchase options without
having to research every point in detail.

Consider a trip to the grocery store. Why buy Tide instead Wisk?
Or some other plain wrap laundry soap? Price plays a role, but
brand plays a bigger one. You might trust Tide because you've
heard of it before. You saw the name on an ad banner. You
visited a website that told you how to remove grass stains. You
know people that use it. It sounds familiar. Someone has
invested a lot to convince you that it is worth trying at least
once. If you have to choose between Tide and other brands you
may have never heard of, odds are good that you'll give Tide a
shot at least once. It's up to the product to keep you on as a
repeat customer, but branding can get the initial sale.

One of the most challenging points in the sales process is
getting into a potential customer's consideration set. That's
where branding shines -- the money you invest up front branding
your product, service or organization pays off in the future when
potential customers are faced with purchase choices. Which online
store should they buy books from? How do they choose when they
have no direct experience with the alternatives?

Why do you think Amazon is investing in offline media advertising
and public relations? They are trying to influence market
perception of their brand. When they get press coverage in a Wall
Street Journal article that compares them with established,
trusted brands like Barnes & Noble, they benefit tremendously.
People are more likely to try their service once because they are
familiar with them -- they trust the brand even though they may
have never used their service. If a new player tries to enter
the online book sales market, they're going to have to invest a
lot in brand building to rise above the current players and build
a customer base. That takes time, money and repetition.

Branding is about raising awareness, communicating value/benefits
and establishing a trusting, ongoing relationship with potential
buyers. It's about rising above the noise level and
differentiating yourself from the competition. Branding is an
investment in future relationships with customers -- it's not
about the immediate sale. Direct response campaigns are also
important, but you shouldn't completely discount the power of

(Getting off the soapbox now...)

Alex Nathanson
Vice President, Strategic Consulting
DigitalFacades/Rare Medium LA
4081 Redwood Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90066-5101

tel: 310.302.7250
fax: 310.302.7245

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