Tag Archives: Zappos

Consistent Branding and the Key to Not Disappearing

While many small business executives state their belief in the importance of branding and identity, a surprising amount miss the mark.  When proper branding can have the largest impact on their company and its survival, they either choose to skimp on it by just having a logo created or worse, working counter to any identity at all.  In some of the worse cases, the branding – or lack thereof – is so diabolical to the product offered that it actually taints the product.  There are examples from all different sizes of companies showing where companies that are consistent across the board on identity excel and companies that seem to have no clue remain stagnant or disappear entirely.

Proper branding doesn’t just provide a logo for your letterhead or website – it provides a clear communication of the company and its values across all connection points.  It should certainly help convey what you’re offering is, but it should also enable clear guidelines for how you actually do your business.  Consistent identity informs your staff or perspective employees what you’re all about from a day-to-day and ethics basis when related to communications and even the design of the offices. And, it doesn’t even have to do with imagery alone.  In the case of Zappos, they laid their identity foundation when they made clear that customer service comes first.  That identity persists even after their phenomenal success led them to be acquired by Amazon in 2009.  That unique and established identity enabled them to continue as they were and not be rolled into Amazon outright.  You can read further about this in a Mashable post by Ben Parr soon after the deal was announced.  Ultimately, it was not just about the logo or the business, but the entire brand, business and culture.

Just the other day, I experienced a small example of how consistency of brand is so important on a small-scale.  In this case, it was about how a small restaurant was able to change the taste and perceived value of its food by changing the decorations – and not for the better.

This restaurant used to have stark white walls and clear tables. Just recently, they added the strip of wallpaper, lace tablecloths and placemats that sort of match the wallpaper strip.  From this look alone, you would think the style of food is down-home cooking, comfort foods or maybe Italian if you want to stretch it.  Either way, it does not seem like the sushi restaurant that it actually is. As a relatively frequent customer, I was shocked to see the decor change.  To me, I would rather see stark white when it comes to Japanese food and this was so off to me that I wonder if they changed ownership and the quality of the food is going to suffer.

To be honest, the food didn’t taste as good as usual – and I wonder if that was because of the visuals.  As with anything, all of the senses play a part in the experiencing of the product.  In this case, the sense of sight colored my sense of taste.  My hope is that they work through this and change it back to what it was.

In the same way senses affect everything, just because you put out a great product doesn’t mean you can skimp on the office space or the characteristics of your staff.  Having a clear and consistent brand and identity makes it easier to convey what you want – rather than leaving it to your customer’s or partner’s imagination.  Without strong adherence to consistency, it will prove to hurt you in the long run. 

So, when you are small or just starting, the establishment, sharpening or even changing of identity is that much easier since you wont have to touch so many people and places to pull it off.  Therefore, it is that much more cost-effective to do so at the beginning of your company’s life cycle rather than later when you’re trying to round the corner to ultimate sustainability at whatever cost. The vision that is created by clear and consistent branding is that much harder to disappear - don’t skimp on that vision.

Zappos Succeeding in Relevant Retargetting Using Criteo

There is proof that some retailers get it and are doing retargetting well and not too invasively. As most people should know, many visits to sites and views of ads are being tracked – if only via a cookie on your computer – for retargetting purposes.  In some instances, its so stronger creative can be presented (like I had done for the UNSTOPPABLE Home Ent campaign).  In others, its simply crafted to get users to “come back” to the store and close the deal.  And, in the worst case, it is generic creative and messaging that is relevant only in subject, but nothing else.  An example of this is the fact that I still see ads for Lamps Plus even though I purchased lighting and installed it months ago.  As far as I’m concerned, its wasted impressions.

I did see a great ad unit today from Zappos.  It truly was no frills, but it was completely relevant – and it did not feel creepy.  I had been to the Zappos site looking at Adidas shoes the other day, so I was my interest was piqued when I saw some Adidas in an ad unit while reading about the Miami Heat.

The ad was extremely simple, but it presented similar types of shoes to what I had been looking for.  

It didn’t have to include a sell message other than the simple button and you see that it only has the retailer name at the bottom expressed simply.  One of the other great components is note at the bottom with “Why am I seeing these ads?” and “Learn More”

Upon clicking on Learn more, a new browser opens with clear explanations of their retargetting and it also provides opportunities to Opt Out.  We’ve mentioned Evidon as a technology provider for compliance in Online Behavioral Advertising (OBA) that enables easy opting out, but in this case, the company Criteo does a great job in adding more in truly personalizing the targetting and making it more relevant to the actual “behavior” it targeted. Instead of just seeing that I visited Zappos, it actually shows on the explanation page what exact shoes I was looking at that made them present the shoes they did.  I only looked at Adidas during my visit to Zappos, so I don’t know what would have happened had I looked at a bunch of brands.  You can see some of the explanation page that I got to by clicking on Learn More in the image below.

Ultimately, the experience is more comfortable and favorable due to its simplicity, openness and relevance.  It was not a targetted spamming of irrelevant content, but something that might get me thinking again and bring me back to the store to place the order.

Certainly, a well placed and well executed impression. Even if the consumer does not make the purchase, it provides the opportunity for more brand or retailer loyalty.