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eBrand Media and Zappos share core values

January 14th, 2009
eBrand Medianista

eBrand Media thanks Zappos for their gesture of genuine partnership

PORTLAND, Ore.–(eBizine)–01/05/2009 – 11:50 AM – eBrand Media can make a series of reasonably sound assumptions by the way a company treats it vendors. Savvy Senior Managers understand that the value they place on their vendors, customers and employees is directly proportionate to the value they place on their brand. Good relationships will always add to the brands equity.

Unfortunately, over the past 5-6 years, many managers, and merchants, have seemingly forgotten the importance of, and the investment needed, to build a brand. Most of the people we’ve met over the years have been driven by a direct return on investment now mentality. Too few were forward thinkers. These people wanted X number of dollars back for every dollar invested and many times, considering the gross margins they made, one could only arrive at the conclusion that they thought of their businesses the same way they’re customers thought of their homes; as ATM’s. We’ve often wondered where the revenue was going. As far as we could tell it wasn’t going into creating a platinum level, end-user experience.

We, at eBrand Media, think the companies that will thrive during this economic transition have been companies that have always had a coherent, cogent vision for the company’s present and future. In addition, management takes care of their employees; they create a positive environment and treat their people like a valuable resource. As a result, the return they see on the the investment they’ve made in their human resources typically exceeds the usual. These employees aren’t just showing up for work to trudge through another day.

They become evangelists for the company and work longer and harder than what’s expected because they feel good about the company they worked for. In addition, employees fortunate enough to work at companies based on the model just described make sure that that company’s customers share in the good feelings, and those customers become evangelists too.

Zappos is a company that meets or exceeds the above criteria.

Often we’ve heard a decision maker say, “people who shop on the internet are price driven.” That’s true, but eBrand Media maintains that people will pay more for a positive shopping experience. This includes, but is not limited to, an easy to navigate site where purchasing is made easy, regular e-mail updates; including tracking numbers, and intelligent, responsive customer support. In short, people will keep coming back to companies that deliver on their promises.

Zappos understands that their not just acquiring a conversion, they’re acquiring an opportunity to develop a life time relationship. They may not get every shoe purchase this shopper makes but they could, if the relationship is handled in the right way, end up with a fair share of them.

This is brand equity, and it takes will power, and discipline, to make the necessary investments in websites, people, products and processes, to build it. As a reminder, from, “equity” means among other things; “the monetary value of a property or business beyond any amounts owed on it in mortgages, claims, liens, and etcetera.”

Companies like LL Bean, Zappos and Trader Joes have built brands that will withstand the test of time by following several simple time-tested concepts: provide good, and sometimes extraordinary, products at a fair price, treat customers like they’re valuable, treat employees well by creating a positive environment for them and treat vendors as well as customers and employees are treated.

You’d be surprised; many people do not find their motivation in money. There are those who are motivated by creativity, appreciation by others, and by being part of a successful team. Money’s important, yes, but usually it’s a by-product of something else. Often time something loftier than greed. How many times have you heard that somebody became wealthy because the created something useful to others. Their desire was to help.

Recently, Zappos, out of the blue, sent the eBrand Media team working on their accounts a 20% off coupon code. What you have to understand is that what’s important here is not the amount of the discount or the size of the gift; it’s the good will that has been created by the gesture. Every eBrand Media person who is working on their accounts felt noticed, appreciated, and important. Of course we’re all professionals and we strive for excellence every day but we enjoy a little recognition, now and again; particularly when it comes from a client.

Will this gesture by Zappos improve the quality of work we’re doing on the Zappos accounts? No, because the eBrand team is largely compensated on performance. But every time they go into the accounts, they’ll do so with positive personal feelings and there’s magic in that. That’s why Mom’s cooking tastes better than a restaurants cooking even when they are both using the same ingredients.

Kudos to Zappos, a company that knows how to build a lasting brand and apparently doesn’t miss too many details while doing so.