As written and seen in Global Retail Brands Magazine
Dear Amazon, I Love You
My passion for everything about them except their private brands
I love you. You are one of my most favorite brands and companies. I love Jeff Bezos, his amazing entrepreneurship, his vision and leadership in a world that desperately needs more of people with the guts that he has.
Amazon is one of the best inventions of our time and the company continues to challenge conventional norms and thinking.
Amazon, you have changed entertainment programming, you have changed delivery systems, and you have changed shopping behavior with your predictive purchasing algorithms. You have made our lives much better. I cant’ wait for the drones you have promised and more stores that don’t have checkouts.
I love virtually everything about you, Amazon, except one thing – your branding strategy and approach to private brands.
You see, Amazon, it has been a confusing strategy and array of confusing, disconnected brands from your very beginning, all the way to the present. Oh sure, we can point to all the successes on the technology side – the Kindle, Fire and now the Echo. But let me just remind you of….
Strathwood outdoor furnishing and lighting.
Pinzon bed, bath and even kitchen tools.
Tom Douglas cooking products through Pinzon.
AmazonBasics, today with chaise lounge covers to electronic accessories.
Amazon Elements, and we are in diapers, and no, we are out of diapers. But we are still in wipes.
And now there are four new brands to add to the mix if you are a Prime member.
Happy Belly coffees, eggs and trail mix, Mama Bear baby food and products, Presto! Detergents and Wickedly Prime snacks.
You don’t really want to take ownership over these brands, through your various references and design-nuanced endorsements. There is the smile logo reference, there is the “Prime” reference, but they are all too subtle, maybe by intention.
The brand naming is all over the place to be honest…Happy Belly is an awkward name for coffee, and when I search for Mama Bear on your own web site to find it, you bring me to a portfolio of tee shirts.
When consumers have trouble finding your brands even while they are actively searching for them, this is not a good thing Amazon. I know this is cultural, and you don’t really like to be preferential to any items, after all, it is an egalitarian brand and item-deep site that is at your heart and soul, but to actually sell own brands you HAVE to be preferential.
The sad thing, Amazon, is that I have wanted to help you in this mission to be better at your own brand strategy, and really could help you, but it is still unclear to me what you are doing. Multiple brands, tough to find, not taking ownership over them, and not showing preference towards them.
Amazon, I know you are better than this. I love you, and always will. You could dominate the world of own brands, just like you dominate everything else. But until I see a coherent consumer-facing strategy for doing it, I guess all I can be is a doubter. Please prove me wrong in the future, as I will be waiting.
With great admiration,