One of the things I admire most about Amazon is their brand recognition: Fast, Reliable, Has Everything. Like….I could literally order seven million, tampon-covered duvet covers on a Thursday night, and they would show up in a cute little, unobtrusive brown box first-thing Fri AM. Jeff Bezos, I’ll give you two thumbs up the moment you can LITERALLY deliver tacos to me by drone within a five-minute period. But even so, I'm still pretty impressed.
Amazon's operations are immense, and their $6.4 billion in retail subscription services are clearly illustrative of a monstrous following. And Jeff Bezos (its founder) is notoriously protective of its brand and culture. Of brand, he says it's "...what other people say of you when you're not in the room." We think that's pretty on point.
I think about companies like Amazon, Google, McDonalds, Starbucks, Target, etc. a lot. Like, a lot, since opening the doors at Jaunt. They are so on-point with their physical branding, space planning and decor, color palette, messaging, and products that you never doubt where you are. Whether you’re in Cedar Rapids, IA, Boca Raton, FL, or Denpasar, Bali, a Starbucks is a Starbucks is a Starbucks. And those JavaChip Frappacinos??? They will destroy your Paleo diet equally well in every hemisphere on Earth.
At Jaunt, we continuously work to maintain our agility by playing a game called “We are, we are not” — a concept taught to me by an amazing neighbor who has spent decades in C-level positions throughout the corporate world. This exercise allows us to understand whether a single decision we make (i.e., should we hang this chair on the wall? Should we invest in urban onesies? Should we pivot to only US-made?) aligns with our brand, and by extension the experience we want to offer our customers. Not only does this exercise give us clarity in our overall mission, it often allows us to say “no” to certain questions we’re struggling with at any given time.
There is always an overall vision, but it is natural and healthy for that end-vision to continuously change. It’s a delicate balance we must strike between realizing our own business goals and objectives, while aligning our products and our services with the end users who are trusting us to make them happy. I think about how we are doing this in a single town (for now…), and Jeff Bezos is doing this on a global scale. Puts things into perspective. Never stop learning, never stop changing.