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QWERT

[aka Radio Sonicnet]

THE POSITIONING DOCUMENT


by Alan Goodman
May, 1999

WHAT IS POSITIONING?
Positioning is the process
that finds a slot in a consumer's brain
for your product.

In other words,
it ties your product
to some benefit a consumer needs –
or a need you can create --
so that the two are immediately associated
in the consumer's mind.

Positioning your product means your product


-- and your product alone --
can fill that need or make that claim.

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WHY POSITION?
In a world cluttered with products and messages,
all bombarding a consumer too confused and frustrated to choose,
positioning is the only sensible marketing response.

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HOW MANY
POSITIONS
CAN ONE PRODUCT
HAVE?
Only one.

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POSITIONING VS.
PACKAGING.
"Must See TV." Positioning.
"Escape the Ordinary." Packaging

"Think Different." Positioning.


"Expanding Possibilities." Packaging.

"Fights ring around the collar." Positioning.


"Do it once. Do it right." Packaging.

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THE VALUE OF
POSITIONING.
Deals with the reality that no product "stands alone."

Takes for granted that by improving your focus,


you hit your target more successfully.

Admits that it isn't "the product" consumers buy.

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WHY ISN'T EVERY
PRODUCT
POSITIONED?
Positioning is hard.

There are a lot of products.


And not many slots open in a typical human brain.
Is there a position for QWERT?

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THE RULE OF SEVEN.
It has been theorized
there is room in the brain for seven products
in any one category.

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THE RULE OF SEVEN. --
page 2
Think of any product category as a ladder
with only seven rungs on it.

You want to be one of those rungs.


Preferably one of the higher ones.

If you're not, you may have to knock somebody off the ladder.
That's hard.

Or, you may have to create your own ladder.


That's even harder.

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THE BEST POSITION.
First.

Coke.
Ivory.
Hertz.
Lindbergh.
HBO.

They may not have been first


in the category into the marketplace.
But they are first in consumer's minds.

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ANOTHER GOOD
POSITION.
Relative to first.

Avis.
7-UP.
Prego.
Showtime.

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YET ANOTHER WAY
TO POSITION.
Position for a segment.

CNN.
MTV.
Cartoon Network.

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OTHER POSITIONING
EXAMPLES.
Weiss and Mahoney. The peaceful Army and Navy store.
(Defined by the audience, not the product.)

Perrier. The earth's first soft drink.


(Defined by its adopted competition [soft drinks],
not its natural foes [mineral water]).

Johnnie Walker Red. The official drink of just having a drink.


(Defined by the way it's used.)

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POSITIONING QWERT.
Is it first in the marketplace or in the consumer's mind?

Is there a position relative to first?

Is there an exclusive attribute to the product


to position for a segment?

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FIRST: WHAT IS
QWERT?
What are we positioning?
Interviewees' responses were good.
But varied.

"My dream radio station."


"The music site."
"The ultimate music destination."
"The place to go on the web to create your own music experience."
"The ultimate Virgin mega-store." (Mega-store version of musical
entertainment.)

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What happens
when I go there?
Entertainment in the form of streaming "radio."
Information services – articles, chat, tour info, background and bios.
Commerce – buy music, T-shirts, collectibles.

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Who are QWERT'S
competitors?
Rotem Netradio ("an old medium on the internet"), Spinner,
Broadcast, UBL, Launch, Yahoo (etc.)

Matt ENTERTAINMENT – Spinner, Netradio


MUSIC SITE – MTV, UBL, Source, Tunes, Launch
COMMERCE – CD-Now, Amazon

Justin Spinner, Launch, UBL, Label sites (Getmusic, TotalE, EMI)

Brad NARROWLY DEFINED -- Spinner, Netradio, Broadcast


BROADLY DEFINED -- All media

Fred CURRENT TRAFFIC -- MTV, UBL, M2K, MP3.COM


ULTIMATELY -- "Everything."

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What is unique about
it?
Customization. Personalization.
Rotem – "We're it, baby."

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Who is the audience?
Currently – 12-49s. Heavy concentration among at-work users with fat
pipes to the net. Early adopters. Not yet mass appeal.
Matt – "There is very little listening to radio on the internet."

Research – "[Should be] extremely broad in the music genres it


cover[s] and in the products and service it. . . provide[s]."

Fred – 8-90-year-olds. "Anybody we can grab."

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How all of this
violates
what we know about
positioning.
We can't define the product.
It does more than one thing.
It's for everybody.

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Back to "what is it?"
What happens when we examine
each product definition?

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"My dream radio
station."
But it's not a station. It's 40. And thousands more custom stations.
And if it's a dream station, why does it sound like my 1960s transistor?
Why does it drop out frequently?
Why is it dependent on my flaky internet provider?
Why is the playlist so limited?

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"The music site."
"The ultimate music
destination."
I don't know what happens at a music site or music destination.
Do I listen to music? Download it? Shop for it?
Get info and participate in a community chat?
Currently, you could call a wide variety of places "music sites" and
"music destinations," offering different services in the "feature war."

If I have any knowledge of them at all – and it's an open question


whether the audience does – it will affect what I think about Qwert.

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"The place to go on
the web to create
your own
music experience."
Hits at the interactive nature of the site.
But, what's a music experience?
Could it mean that I use it to compose music? Download it, a la MP3?
It's a description that demands the question – "What do you mean?"

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"The ultimate
Virgin Mega-store."
Two problems – Isn't Virgin Mega-store the ultimate Virgin Mega-store?
Fred – "I feel more comfortable at Tower."

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Customization –
is it our hook?
Customization – Qwert style – sounds great. But it sounds hard.

Customization in our lives usually consists of answering the question


"Do you want tan leather interior or the taupe?"

And personalization gets me three gold initials stamped in my luggage.

Even if the promise of customization draws me in to Qwert,


faced with too many choices or with a process
too daunting or time consuming to complete,
the experience of it might drive me away.

And doesn't it leave out all the other enjoyable aspects of the service?

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Customization –
how much do we
want?
Even Gateway's customers who are calling to
"have us build one for you"
are selecting from a limited list of options –
a larger hard drive, more RAM.
Mostly, the company's promise works to
suggest responsiveness to consumers.

Program a radio station? Sounds cool.


Maybe I'll try it someday.

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Customization –
how secure is our
hold?
Strong. We think.
We know our "listen-to-music" competitors
don't have it, and don't seem to want it.

But we don't know what everyone in the world is working on.

We don't know where our design engineers


will go to work if they leave Qwert.

We do know that some competitor somewhere


could copy it and wipe out our uniqueness.

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Customization –
if there are so many
negatives, do we
discard it from our
thinking?
Not at all. It works like gangbusters.
It will be a key to our differentiation.

But differentiate us from what?


Differentiate us as what?

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We haven't answered the most basic of questions.

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Customization –
customize what?
I can't be the customized "it"
when I don't even know what "it" is.

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The aggregation of
services
is certainly special to
Qwert.
Can we position that?
Entertainment, information, commerce.

It's like trying to be all things to all people.

You risk being nothing.

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The GO Network says: "You can go anywhere."
Talkway.com says: "Exchange ideas on practically anything."
Uh-huh. Why do I want you?

Is something missing
from the products and
services
I already have?
A problem Qwert
solves?
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Well, my radio doesn't offer customization.
But it delivers everything else.
I buy tickets by phone or online.
Search engines take me right to band sites.
The world needs another way to buy CDs online?

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How about that it's
new?
Isn't that worth something?

We need to hope it is.


Because getting really good will happen over time.
Over a LONG time.
(Ubiquitous DSL and cable modems – 3-5 years away.)

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The page of doom.
We can't define the product.
We're trying to be all things music.
We're trying to be for everybody.
The competition is amorphous – and growing.
The unique selling proposition scares me (it's hard),
and could be stolen.
I really have better ways to get almost everything.
While it promises a lot, to get the sound quality I'm used to,
Qwert will take a long time
and require investment and innovation by others
to be uniformly excellent.

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A ladder to climb on.
We want the easiest concept to communicate
because it will make the most sense to the recipient of the message.

What mental image already exists in the prospect's mind


that we can grab onto?

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The word we dare not
say.
We are a musical mega-store.
A music site.
A music destination.
A place to create a musical experience.

Why are we avoiding the obvious?

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Qwert is radio. . .
Maybe not to us.
Because we know all the other things Qwert can do.

But remember, the goal is


the quickest way into the consumer's brain.

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. . . at least to
consumers.
I can use it like a radio.
It feels like radio.
Why isn't it radio?

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What is radio?
Over time, it's been many things.
At first, it was a "ship to shore" communication system.
Became a means of providing news and information.
Concerts were a come-on to sell hardware.
It became the first network.
And finally, an entertainment device for listening to records.

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But Qwert doesn't
even
work like radio.
It's completely
different technology.
Radio is a signal transmitted through the airwaves.
Qwert is data packets streaming into a computing device.

But who cares how popcorn pops?

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Another concern:
radio is so old.
Qwert so completely
new.
MTV was entirely new. But at least it was TV.

Radio is certainly an inadequate comparative to Qwert.

Qwert is innovative, technologically-advanced, feature-rich.


Radio is dated, technologically-simple, and feature-poor.

But --

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If Qwert isn't radio,
what is it?
If we want a direct leap for consumers
from our position γour product,
we need to start at least with a product category
already in our brains.

Do music sites, music destinations,


and musical experiences make that connection?

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Radio –
is the simple way to say what will be
Qwert's door opener.

And simple gets us into the consumer's brain faster.

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"Simple" ignores the
allure
of being high tech.
Don't we want to be
high tech?
For the techno-file, Qwert delivers incompletely.
Yes, it's the latest. But is it the greatest?
Will it develop into more than a novelty? Only if it
doesn't disappoint me so much that I don't stick around.

For the techno-phobic, high tech can spell doom.

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It's too hard. It's too unfamiliar.

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But aren't we always
facing
high tech innovations
with music products?
Yes, that's true. And we snap them up,
despite bad names or no names.
Regardless of manufacturer or function,
we use the name "Walkman" for
all portable cassette players, radios, headbands, etc.

That thing in the rack at home is a "receiver."

Diamond Rio is a "portable music player."

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Why Qwert
is different from
other devices that
play music.
You can't hold a Qwert.

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So we should just
turn our backs on
high tech?
Even if our high tech delivery is incomplete,
isn't there an advantage in appearing high tech?

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No.
High tech fights
mass acceptance.
For mass acceptance,
the advantage comes from being high tech
and appearing low tech.

(Remember the slow acceptance of bank debit cards.


Charlie Chaplin for IBM personal computers.
"Organizers" as the word to describe PDAs.)

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A theory.
If you want to sell something new, unique,
technologically advanced and high tech to a whole lot of people,
not just to people who like high tech,
find a really simple, friendly way to do it.

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Make it easy.
Embrace radio.
In fact, it's a good idea to embrace it to such an extent
that we make it part of our name.

Even if the product is to be Qwert,


and we type "Qwert" to get there,
we should talk about the product as radioQWERT.

As in, "Do you listen to PLJ at work?"


"No, I listen to radioQWERT."

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Okay, we've found a
ladder.
Now, what rung do we
claim
Positioning is finding the one right thing.
What could the one right thing for us be?

How do we find a "radio" position that allows us to


sell in all of Qwert's other attributes?

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Remember, what radio
is
has changed.
It's use and meaning have changed.
It was never envisioned as an entertainment device.
The inventor never foresaw playing phonograph records.
Or imagined Howard Stern.

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Can we change the
meaning of radio
again?
It's our obligation.

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We need to change
the meaning of radio
to suit a product with
no category.
Right now, with awareness and usage so low,
we can safely say the product barely exists.

Which leaves us the opportunity,


and the obligation, to create it.
Define it to suit us.
And fulfill its attributes in a way
no one else can.

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The position we want
– number one.
Internet radio is enough of an infant for us to claim supremacy,
as long as it's defensible.

To establish the trust with the audience that


will lead them through the process and guide them to its benefits.

And make it safe and easy for them to do it.

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The position we want
– number one.
The leader in a new category takes on the obligation of
selling the category. But receives the benefit in return
of being the leader, the trusted guide, the pioneer.

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The position we want
– number one.
Our success depends on being new and different.
And our success depends on being comfortable and understandable.

We need to redefine
radio.
And what radio provides.

And we need to do it in a way that says only we are doing it.

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We want –
A position for Qwert that includes radio,
and includes everything we want Qwert to communicate.

A position that casts any service that may offer some similar features
as inferior and incomplete, or other multi-service sites (like Yahoo)
as unfocused, lacking specialization and therefore in-expert.

A position that feels good to people who respond to high tech,


but simple enough for reluctant adopters.

A position that promises "new,"


but doesn't make a lot of claims about "new."
(I want to feel like I'm part of a new experience and make allowances
for it's under-delivery).

A position that gives us room to grow.


The position –

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There's radio.
And there's total
radio.
Only radioQWERT is
total radio.

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Total radio –
radioQWERT – is to
radio
what a laserdisc
movie is to a
videotape movie.
Except for one important difference.

I don't have to go our and buy a new expensive device

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to enjoy its benefits.

Which means radioQWERT can be for everyone.

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Total radio leaves
radio,
and internet radio,
in the dust.
Total radio is new.
Without making quality and value claims about new.

Total radio says, we specialize in radio. And we like products that specialize.

Total radio offers features and attributes radio and internet radio leave out.
And since we haven't hung our hats on any one attribute,
if competitors try to match us, or technology allows something new,
we'll add more features.

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Total radio sounds like more. And I always want more.
And total radio is still radio. I don't need to learn something new.

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Why total radio beats
all other forms of
radio.
Does my WPLJ give me instant access to information about bands?
Does Spinner let me choose the songs I want?
Does UBL play songs at all?
Does anyone else have our clout (through MTV)
to get exclusive artist promotions?

They are all "old radio."


Old radio gives you radio.
Total radio gives you everything.
And "total radio" lets you control the experience of radio.

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"Total radio –
radioQWERT" – even
gives me as much
control as I want.
I can just sign on, listen, read, and buy.
Or get deeper into the experience.
It's up to me.
And that's total radio, too.

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The leadership value
of
"total radio."
Nothing can ever offer more than "total."

Other people give you some.


Only QWERT gives you all:
Every format. Including the one you create.
Music. Control of the music.
Text. Chat. Merchandise. Contests.
QWERT lets you get as deep into music as you want.
Because QWERT has it all.

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Total radio even helps
you
check out what the
competition's got.
We have to.
Doesn't "total radio" include them?

Total radio – radioQWERT – is your guide to internet radio


and internet music sites.

Besides, we're so confident we offer so much more,


we'll offer links to competitors' sites.
(Including "rivals" like MTV).

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Total radio – radioQWERT

Sounds reliable.
Without specifically promising the signal will always be there.

And sounds big and full. Without promising over-delivery.


(Remember when mighty HBO was a logo card for many hours a day?)

Total radio sounds like something that deserves my trial.


Maybe my loyalty. Even though they're still getting the kinks out.

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The one hitch –
can you be Total Radio
and not have Hanson?
Yes. As long as you tell consumers what you're doing is
building total radio.

The world is changing. Technology is changing.


We're always working to improve it.
We're always "under construction."

We need to make "under construction" a benefit.

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Total Radio –
radioQWERT –
Is targeted. Because it's targeted to me.
It's new technology. Without being scary.
It's responsive to what I want.
It gives me some measure of "on-demand" satisfaction.

It's the promise of the internet.


And only radioQWERT delivers it.

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Let's talk about the
name.
In QWERT, we don't have a name that's descriptive of the product.
But maybe that's a good thing.
Would you prefer to be as drab as Netradio or Broadcast.com?
As retro as Spinner?

QWERT is another kind of name.


It actually looks like station call letters, call letters you can say.
It's fun to say. It feels diminutive.
And safe. (Nothing scary could ever be a QWERT.)

And strangely enough,


it actually helps us sell an enormously important benefit –

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For all its advances,
QWERT has to feel
simple and familiar.
And QWERT is literally
right at your
fingertips.

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Total radio –
radioQWERT –
is at your fingertips.
Given we're a completely new product, in a completely new segment of
the industry, don't discount the importance of telling the audience
how to get there.

We wrap the name (QWERT),


the product (radio),
a benefit (it's easy, friendly),
and how to navigate to it (right at your fingertips)
all into one statement.

It's a strange name. But it makes me take notice.


And when you think about everything else it offers –

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it actually works like crazy.

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Total radio –
radioQWERT –
Let's us
build an image that is distinct from
anything else on the landscape. Without over-promising.

Sounds fun.

Let's visitors feel like they're the first to discover something new.

Tells advertisers they've signed on with the right partner,


the one that has it all.

Leaves plenty of room for MTV and VH1 to establish


their own positions and super-deliver on them.

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Makes a commitment to deliver the goods
in a way we alone can fulfill them.
Because we – and we alone – deliver them totally.

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