Amazon's arrive drives firms to improve their brand


It was 17 years ago – well actually the doomsayers began their warnings more than 18 years ago.

“Shock. Horror. The end of the world is nigh”

For those other than the Gen Y generation, you will well recall the enormous and impending warnings of potential threat and disaster for all businesses from the so-called ‘Millennium Bug’.

It was like a field-day for all involved in IT.

Suddenly CIO’s were not only heard at boardroom tables around the country – they were actually given a seat – such was their dire need to communicate the impending and potential disaster from the biggest threat to man since the black plague. Y2K.

The warnings of an Amazon pandemic spread are eerily similar to Y2K

In fact, such was the hysteria that amongst many prophets of doom the US Deputy Director of Defense even issued the following warning:

“The Y2K problem is the electronic equivalent of the El Niño and there will be nasty surprises around the globe.”

Well, as history ultimately showed, banking treasuries around the world maintained their money, ominous warnings of planes falling from the skies and a new dark age arriving….well, it simply didn’t happen.

Now, with the impending arrival of Amazon retail onto our shores, what similarities can we draw from our last ‘impending dawn-of-doom’, and should retailers and their brands really be throwing their hands in the air, Chicken Little-like, screaming; “The Skies falling, the sky’s falling!”

Does ‘disruption’ necessarily equal ‘destruction?’

Amazon’s Australian rollout plans are for a launch date sometime in 2018.

From next year, Australians will reportedly be able to access the Amazon online shopping service to purchase from a vast catalogue of products, including groceries, fresh food, clothing, electronics and believe it or not… even takeaway food.

Now, for marketers such as BrandQuest, we have always championed the axiom that competition should be viewed as commercially healthy – not just from a buyer perspective but also from a commercial reality.

Brand and category competition has to be good news for everyone

Competition is what drives continuous improvement.

It’s what challenges Boards, Management and the critical customer-facing staff to simply ‘do things better’ in order to maintain customer relevancy and importantly, customer loyalty.

For proof of this, consider the reality of Australian retailers since it was confirmed that Amazon would indeed, irrevocably wind its way to our local shores.

The brand opportunity that Amazon presents

The so-called ‘impending threat’ of Amazon has made every retailer in the country – from the supermarket behemoths, to every national branded retailer and even to the smallest independent, high street ‘mum and dad’ stores to sit up, take stock of their historic/current customer offering and business model and, in most cases, address their historic ‘go to market’ strategy.

So, the holistic outcome, is that the broader commercial retail sector of Australia – across the board – will have lifted their game due to Amazon’s imminent arrival.

Result? Improved customer service, operating efficiencies and improved offerings across the board.

And this can only be good news for the consumer AND for the industry – as many of our current retail categories are oligopolies that, frankly will benefit from their changes to defend against the impending challenge from Amazon.

Me thinks thou dost protest too much

With apologies to Shakespeare’s Hamlet’s Queen; ever since the noun ‘Amazon’ has come to define an operational business rather than the world’s largest river in our lexicon, the news services, consultants, retail associations and retailers themselves have consistently raised the ‘danger/warning’ alarm in tones and anxiety similar to the Y2K phenomenon.

But could their protestations of unfair advantage and tax evasion (amongst many others) simply be a defensive mechanism, a form of scare-mongering similar to the Y2K effect, that averts consumer sentiment against Amazon before they have even opened their webservers for business?

And, like Y2K shouldn’t we, the consumers of services as varied as Amazon’s offering, be somewhat more prepared and welcoming of the ‘ticking over of the clock’ welcoming a new dawn for shoppers with the arrival of a multi-faceted, best practice, world’s best operator on our shores?


About BrandQuest

BrandQuest is a strategy and brand management consultancy that intrinsically believes that great brands are born of the founders and staff who work within the company.

They are not the result of an outsourced creative endeavour but the cumulative knowledge and culture that a company possesses.

Since 2007, BrandQuest has developed a process that can extract and refine this inner knowledge into a powerful brand strategy ready to implement within a 4 to 6 week time-frame.

Our clients work with us because they seek:

  1. Increased brand and business value
  2. Strategic Alignment, clarity and direction
  3. Robust, authentic and fearless advice



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