The Brand Stands Alone

May 1999


The Brand Stands Alone

Don't mess with a good thing when establishing your on-line identity

If you already have a successful brand, let it work for you on the Web. That's the advice Peter Winter, president of Cox Interactive Media, gave at Stanford University's recent Publishing on the Web workshop in Monterey, CA.

When companies first began to research how to represent themselves on-line, some spent a great deal of money building and promoting new brands separate from already successful, recognizable products, Winter says For instance, instead of relying on its powerful titles such as Timeand Fortune,Time Warner spent millions of dollars developing, which has been criticized as "unwieldy" in its attempt to combine too many disparate properties into one unfamiliar identity.

American Airlines learned that lesson the hard way. The airline originally branded its Web site Access, invoking the image of an on-line travel agent, and gave it the domain name The resulting identity was too complicated for customers, says John Samuel, American's managing director of interactive marketing, in an article in Internet Businessmagazine. The airline realized it was a "dumb mistake" to try to create a new identity on-line, he says, and subsequently rebranded itself, a more familiar handle for travelers.

– by Stacey King

Copyright © 1999 by Bond Communications.


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