NONE: Re: ONLINE-ADS>> Differentiation/revenue via community/brand

Re: ONLINE-ADS>> Differentiation/revenue via community/brand

Brian Sarrazin (
Tue, 27 Oct 1998 04:55:16 -0600 (CST)

Allow me to summarize/restate my premise.

First, I did not address the problem of bringing eyeballs to
the site initially. I presented *an* answer for how to make
visitors stay longer, and to come back more often -- and
ultimately, how to turn a profit.

That said, for sites that must profitably compete in the

1. Sustainable competitive advantages are elusive, because:

2. *Meaningful* differentiation is difficult, unless:

3. You attack it from a *brand* perspective.

Brands as we know them today are abstractions of community.
We marketeers have leveraged the human need for community by
working cues into our brands. For example, if I buy a
Harley, I enter the implied community of rebels.

Until the Web, this was the most we could hope for in the
world where the bulk of brand info was transmitted through
print or broadcast, without interaction.

But the Web gives us much more. Now we create a place where
interaction can occur. People can decide which communities
to join based on the way people within them *behave.* In
other words, the symbols (brands) needn't exist for us to
find our community. We can do it the old-fashioned, Main
Street USA way: by meeting and interacting with people.

Yet the overall impression any site makes will still retain
a gut-level impression. This will enable us to raising
branding to a new level, and thereby to create sustainable
competitive advantage wherever we do.

And the truly smart ones among us will work brands (as we
know them today) into this new mix by not only letting
people interact, but by letting them interact with brands.
So not only are people's actions, comments, etc, defining
community, their brand choices are too.

Finally, one way to do all of this is to let visitors build
their own store as a subsection right on your site (within
parameters). You let them sell whatever you feel fits within
your "community-brand" while earning a piece of everything
they sell.

An example: You create a site that is for owners of the
Honda Gold Wing motorcycle. You include chat, message
boards, etc, and you let users sell third-party products for
the Gold Wing (for a commission), but you also set up a
co-marketing deal with CDNow. People will feel an affinity
for each other on your site when they see (chat, message
boards, etc) the way they behave *and* when they see that
the CD selections most site-owners sell are the very things
they like themselves. You've created community with actual
behavior *and* brand choice.

Best of all, doing these things will make your site truly
unique, a brand, a community that no one can duplicate.

And again:

- Are brands an abstraction of community?

- Can interaction among site visitors/members produce

- Is this all painfully obvious?

- If so, why isn't everyone doing it?

Best regards,

Brian Sarrazin
Vice president, sales & marketing
Media In Motion

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