Friday, March 09, 2007

Borders video: brand building or cash wasting?

US bookstore giant Borders - which has outsourced ecommerce to Amazon - is none-the-less using the internet for marketing. Following hot on the heels of Borders Book Club videos, the company has launched 'Borders Live at 01' (warning: link will start a video with sound), a series of videos taken at the original Borders store in Ann Arbor Michigan. On a decent broadband connection the quality is far superior to YouTube, though viewers will need the latest version of Flash.

This type of retailer produced event could be the future of brand building. In a multi-channel world where consumers are looking for authenticity, relevent videos could serve to both draw in suitable prospects and demonstrate the retailer's credentials.

The questions are:
* Will people shift from TV to watch specialised content like this?
* Will enough of them go on to visit the retailer's website or physical store?

Until Borders reports on the success or otherwise of this experiment we won't know the answers. But any forward looking retailer should be thinking about what sort of content would be suitable to help create and sustain their chosen brand values. And any product creator (think author, designer, factory) needs to think about their role in creating content that can be used by retailers.

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