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Love it or leave it – AMAZON name and logo

Posted by ipelton on: September 22nd, 2009

AMAZON.COM is ubiquitous as an online retailer.  And the company/brand continues to grow… the Kindle, online data storage (Amazon A3), and as of this week AmazonBasics branded electronics products (Wall Street Journal story here).

Amazon® is a great trademark.  The name represents size (huge), earth and nature, and uniqueness.  It represents enormity because it takes its name from the Amazon river,  which of course also has a relationship with nature.  And it speaks of “unique” because it is an “arbitrary” trademark which on its face has nothing to do with online retailing or any other product or service provided by Amazon.  Arbitrary trademarks are very strong brands (Apple® computer, Dell® computer, ) because while the words are not new or made up, they have no direct relationship to the services or products offered.   They are not suggestive or descriptive.  Arbitrary trademarks may be difficult to brand, because without more information the consumer does not know what is being advertised, but they are strong to protect.

The Amazon logo is great as well.

The logo says three things to me:

– Smile: be fun, be happy.  You will like shopping with Amazon.

– Move, travel.  The arrow (sometimes used by itself) represents what Amazon does best – moves product using its innovative warehousing and shipping methods.  When your order from Amazon you expect your order to travel from the computer to their warehouse to your door step quickly and smoothly.

– A to Z.  A subliminal message, perhaps, which I had not consciously noticed until writing this post.  Amazon carries everything, from “a” to “z”.

Because it is playful and tells a story of the brand, the logo is very good.  The logo has evolved over the years.  A fascinating history of the Amazon logo here: http://www.kokogiak.com/gedankengang/2004/07/amazoncom-logo-timeline.html

Backstory: Apparently Amazon once had to fight and settle and trademark case with a bookstore that had been around since 1970 called Amazon Bookstore Cooperative.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amazon_Bookstore_Cooperative

Amazon’s name and logo are unique and capture its brand story well –  a giant retailer selling and shipping everything from “a” to “z”.  As a result, I love it.

Lessons: Names based on nature can be powerful.  Trademarks which do not describe your service or product, but capture or suggest features of your brand can be very effective. The same goes for elements in a logo.

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