“We have beachfront property, our domain is one of the oldest…” the client blurted out in an effort to galvanize the project team.
This bothered me at the time, but I had no idea why. Granted this client is right, they do have “beachfront” property, but as I thought about this I came to the realization that it had nothing to do with age.
In this particular case the value for the client comes from their own existing brand. They have the type of recognition most companies would give anything to achieve – but online it’s not quite there. It’s still a mishmash of marketing and product hype. (Albeit very well designed.) However in this case the distance from nowhere to everywhere is very short, this client already has the groundwork in place with every advantage.
Real equity online comes from the actual destination. Some of the biggest names online were barely an idea five years ago. And some of the oldest domains are pretty pathetic. You don’t need to be old and you don’t need to be a big name to make a big splash on the web. You need to offer something that will be valuable. If you can solve that part your customers will build your beach house for you regardless of how long you’ve been around.
It’s probably not fair to nitpick a client in context of the actual meeting. His point was genuine, and well taken. Certainly being one of the oldest players in their industry is something to be very very proud of. Relying on name alone online is an invitation for the little people to undercut everything.