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Brand Media Guide

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Amazon

Founded: 1995

Primary Products and Services

Originally known for books, Amazon.com is now the world’s online marketplace for: A/V; home audio; electronics, gift cards, not to mention clothing, shoes, jewelry and watches; music, movies and games, streaming video and music, health and beauty aids, sporting goods, groceries, and more.

Amazon Brands: Echo and Alexa lines; Fire tablets; Fire TV, Kindle-E-readers and Books, Prime, Whole Foods.

Company Story

Amazon is the quintessential Internet success story, as it was conceived by a single determined entrepreneur born precisely when the Internet began to enter households and businesses, and it has led the wave ever since through continuous innovation and diversification. To understand the Amazon brand, is to understand its founder, Jeff Bezos, who earned his undergraduate degree in computer science and electrical engineering from Princeton University in 1986 and who then worked for several years in the financial services business. During that time, he saw the potential of the Internet and its potential to disrupt book sales. He decided to launch the company in Washington state, at first calling the company Cadabra, short for the magical term, but he was warned it could be confused with the word “cadaver.” The name Amazon was selected because it could stand for anything and a name that foretold the vast territory the company would one day conquer.

The first-ever order was placed in April of 1995, when Bezos invited some friends and colleagues to try out his test version of the web site. When the site went live in July, Bezos set the tone for his business philosophy by boldly calling it “the Earth’s biggest bookstore,” when he had no advertising budget with which to even make that claim. Nonetheless, within about 18 months, mostly through word-of-mouth, the company had sales in excess of $15 billion, and Bezos took the company with an initial public offering that raised nearly $55 million.

Unlike other entrepreneurs who often stuck firmly to their core businesses, Bezos set out to leverage the Amazon brand in whatever sector he saw he could add value—not only by creating an enormous worldwide marketplace of independent entrepreneurs and retailers selling through the Amazon.com platform—but by creating new categories of home appliances such as Echo and Alexa and by entering the cloud services field. Why? Because there was a need and Amazon had the resources and expertise because of its own reliance on cloud services.

Brand Personality

Amazon brand is expressed through its principles: customer obsession; ownership; invent and simply; be right a lot; learn and be curious; hire and develop the best; insist on the highest standards; think big; frugality—accomplish more with less; earn trust; dive deep; have a backbone to disagree and commit; deliver results. Based on Bezos’ combination of engineering experience, the entire company is focused on continuous innovation and self-disruption. Having such a clear brand makes it easy to leverage not only the popularity of its products but the story its brand stands for.

Demographics

As with the company’s buyer persona, Amazon’s demographics closely mirror those of America in terms of age, income, and even education—so broadly it has penetrated homes and offices across the world. A Goldman Sachs report estimates that the average Amazon user is just under 40, and that about half of the users are 19 to 44 years old. About a third of users are between 45 and 64 years old.

Endorsements and Sponsorships

The company supports the Feeding America food program, a Local Love event program to encourage volunteers to help not-for-profits; a Device Donation program to provide Amazon products and gift cards to schools, a “Girls Who Code” event program, and many more programs to support education, employee empowerment, energy efficiency through wind-farms, waste reduction and recycling. It has a gifting programs for soldiers in service as well as disaster relief programs. The Amazon Smile program enables charities to raise money through Amazon by receiving a percentage of sales made by their communities using a designated charity code.

Customization and Personalization

The great benefit of Amazon is breadth of choice, price, and speed of delivery. These benefits generally are not consistent with customization and personalization beyond inserting a personalized packing slip or letter.

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