Branding Speaker, Trainer, and Coach

Why Amazon Books Underwhelms

How to Avoid Creating the Grand Disconnect:

When the Brand Reality Doesn’t Meet Expectations

I am a true book lover and die-hard Amazon fan: I have an Amazon credit card, I have a prime account, I have TWO kindles (including a Kindle Fire, of course) so I couldn’t wait to visit Amazon Books open in my former home of San Diego.

My Underwhelming Experience at Amazon Books

Oh, my; I am so underwhelmed! The store that wowed me with technology? The Internet giant that introduced one-click? It set up a book store, er, like a book store. There is no killer techno wall, no flashy “hot new books” section; there wasn’t even a place to sit down and read a few pages. So, the internet behemoth which is always ahead of the curve was tragically at the end of the line looking like a small, Barns & Noble a la 1997.

Promo copy states that the store allows you to read reviews; true, own your own device! The reviews on the shelves are stagnant, paper one-liners just like anywhere else. I had visions of an electronic review below the books or the ability to search the book or….

The bottom line is that I was besieged with disappointment: the brand experience didn’t meet my expectation.

Brand disappointment is when the expectation doesn’t meet the reality @AmazonBooks Click To Tweet

The exact situation occurred when my Staples credit card was stolen and $4,000.00 worth of gift cards were charged to my account. Dealing with Staples wasn’t easy; it was a nightmare! It was another case of not living the brand.

4 Steps for Ensuring Your Brand Expectations Meets Reality

So, how you manage brand expectations?

  1. Understand Your Brand DNA – Get clear on who you are and who you’re not. Fair Warning: this exercise takes work in terms of understanding how others perceive you; you must be clear on how vendors, clients, and colleagues see your strengths. (Drop me a line if you need help on this exercise.)
  2. Create a list of what you will do…and what you will never do
  3. Identify who your target is…and who it isn’t
  4. Turn your lists into commandments that you never violate
To understand #BrandExpectations, understand your #BrandDNA first Click To Tweet

To fully live your brand means that not everyone will like you. In fact, you will earn raving fans and chalk up unhappy prospects who never want to work with you; that’s OK. If everyone loves you, you are not a brand!

If everyone loves you, you are not a brand! Click To Tweet

BUT, if you get comfortable and sure in who you are, you are poised to conquer your market: you offer what your clients need in a way they want to receive it; you offer an experience and you have the opportunity to charge a premium price. In essence, you have morphed into a brand – congratulations!

Share your story below!


To your sizzling success,



  1. Liz – my expectations were also high for the new Amazon bookstore in San Diego, but now I’m not sure if I’ll go back! I went with a friend who does not have a Prime account so she was really disappointed to learn she could only get the discount on most items with a Prime account (she did find a baby gift that didn’t require the Prime membership).

    And with my having a bad back, I couldn’t stand and browse very long as there were no chairs to sit and browse through a book, like you mentioned. It was cool to test out the Echo in person – I asked Alexa who was winning the World Series game and she said the game was over, but the the Indians had won earlier that evening. I’m guessing the stores won’t make it for the long term.

  2. Yes the stores are a way to sell more Prime Memberships, Kindles, Echos, and occasionally books. BUT, it doesn’t make for a great experience for the customer. (BTW, I’m a Cubbies fan so I was thrilled with the outcome of game 7).

    • It’s a pity you don’t have a donate button! I’d most certainly donate to this brilliant blog! I suppose for now i’ll settle for boraimkok-ng and adding your RSS feed to my Google account. I look forward to fresh updates and will share this website with my Facebook group. Talk soon!

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