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Sunday, July 25, 2004

Jeff Bezos on Word-of-Mouth Power via Bweek

Amazon.com boasted one of the best-known brand names on the Internet almost from the time it opened its virtual doors nine years ago. But slowing growth and mounting losses as the dot-com wave crested in 2000 tarnished its reputation as a business. Chief Executive Jeffrey P. Bezos, however, never stopped pushing his obsession to please customers. Now, that persistence has paid off -- not only in recent profitable quarters and recharged growth but also in the value of Amazon's brand.According to the latest BusinessWeek/Interbrand survey, Amazon's brand ranking rose 22% last year. Very insightful Bezos views - "The right way to build a brand is by delivering a great service. Customers learn about who we are as a result of interacting with us. A brand for a company is like a reputation for a person. You earn reputation by trying to do hard things well. People notice that over time. I don't think there are any shortcuts. We don't do any television advertising, and we take all of the money that we would put into television advertising, and instead put it into things like free SuperSaver shipping [free shipping on most orders over $25], lower product prices, category expansion, and invention of new features.We take those funds that might otherwise be used to shout about our service, and put those funds instead into improving the service.If you do build a great experience, customers tell each other about that. Word of mouth is very powerful. Articulating the Amazon brand -It's about starting with the customer and working backward. And it's about invention. Our two very strong cultural attributes at the company are innovation and customer obsession. We don't want to start with an idea and work toward the customer. We want to start with a customer problem and then invent to a solution".Bezos talk is always interesting - this one focussed on Amazon is all the more so.

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