NONE: Re: ONLINE-ADS>> Differentiation on the Web

Re: ONLINE-ADS>> Differentiation on the Web

Brian Sarrazin (
Wed, 28 Oct 1998 12:10:51 -0600 (CST)


>If you agree with Prof. Rayport's analysis, all these Web
>businesses have a competitive advantage BECAUSE of their
>context. And context is something that is difficult to
>replicate in many or all instances (or why isn't BMG beating
>CDNow, or Barnes and Noble beating Amazon or GM beating
>AutoByTel, etc). In point of fact, perhaps driving people to
>your Web front door is a commodity (eyeballs are eyeballs),
>not the visit. And however difficult, the ability to
>differentiate the end-user experience once on your Web site
>creates an extremely sustainable competitive advantage.

I think we are in agreement. However, your paraphrase of my
language makes me think I ought to clarify it. The
experiences I referred to that are difficult to
differentiate are such things as stock quotes, weather
reports, etc, "content," to use Rayport's word. However, it
is not difficult to "differentiate the end-user experience"
as you say. In fact, it's impossible to do otherwise. There
will always be some kind of impression, repeated
applications of which build brand.

What is difficult is welding these end-user experiences
(impressions) into a brand with a sturdy SCA. (Incidentally,
it's a bit early to say that, CDNow, and
AutoByTel, are winning because they make the most attractive
impression -- the proverbial fat lady hasn't even entered
the opera house for any of these battles. I think they are
winning today largely because they were first in their
respective market's minds.) Impressions do not automatically
lead to an SCA. Just because you've made an impression,
doesn't mean they'll be back. This is why I suggest the best
course of action is to enable your markets to have a hand in
creating their own impressions, and thereby your brand.

Call it "viral brand-building."

>Does this mean that the context IS the brand?

Context leads to brand. Brands are abstractions of
community. By associating with brands we tell the world who
we are, or who we want to be.

By enabling your markets to sell products from their own
online store as part of your site (in a controlled way that
positively enhances every visitor's impression), your market
helps you build your brand while adding profit centers.

- Why has no one called me to task on this last point? Is it

- And while you're at it, Are brands an abstraction of

Brian Sarrazin
vice president, sales & marketing
Media In Motion

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