Why Google is Such a Great Brand

    February 12, 2004

Google has clarity and focus. Google knows that great brands serve a purpose. They are useful. Google genuinely believes in the motto: the searcher is king. It demonstrates that you can put the customer first and make a profit. Google keeps it simple and wins.

What do you think of the following heading?

Solving tomorrow’s challenges. Today.

Why is it, do you think, that you would never find this sort of heading on the homepage of Google? Because Google is not interested in wasting your time with inane, meaningless, marketing drivel. Google gets to the point. It knows exactly what it’s about and does exactly that.

You would be surprised how many organizations don’t know exactly what they are about. Maybe they did twenty years ago. Now, they’re drifting. Or living off past glories. Using traditional marketing and promotional methods, they used to be able to hide that confusion very well.

Before the Web, it was easy to pretend. Organizations controlled the message much more effectively. Customers had very little access to information. A clever advertising and PR campaign could paint a wonderful picture.

Did you ever meet a new employee three weeks after they joined your organization? Did they look a little down? Did you ask them what was up? Did they reply: It wasn’t like this in the interview. You seemed really organized.’ That doesn’t happen so much anymore, does it? They go to Google now. They find out all sorts of things.

We’d love to have a homepage like Google, but we can’t. We’re just such a diverse organization.’ So you’re so much bigger and more diverse than Google. Those guys at Google had it easy. They just put a search engine on the page.

I don’t think it’s that simple. Google is not a charity. It is not some anti-establishment holdout. And it is certainly not anti-capitalist or anti-profit. Google is a very tightly run company. It knows how to build a powerful, profitable brand.

On February 3, 2004, consultancy Interbrand announced that Google had been voted “global brand of the year” for the second year running. The brand characteristics people liked about Google were:

1. Clean, minimalist interface
2. Lack of in-your-face advertising links
3. Friendly
4. Credible source of information

Google makes money selling ads that are not in your face. Google puts you first. Do you know the total size of the Google homepage? 11 KB. “We count bytes because our users have modems, so it costs them to download our pages,” states Urs Holzle, vice president of engineering for Google.

Some would say, why wouldn’t they, sure they’re all techies. Some would say that they’re all sad techies. Others would point out that they are very rich, sad techies.

What is the one thing that you really, really do well? Why don’t you put that thing and that thing only on your homepage? Or, at least, why don’t you lead with that thing? Better still, ask yourself: What is it that people really, really want from my website? Lead with that.

That awful heading about solving tomorrow’s challenges comes from the SAP homepage. When I tried to find a concise definition of what SAP does, I was presented with another heading:

SAP — 30 years in the business of helping businesses grow

For your web content management solution, contact Gerry McGovern http://www.gerrymcgovern.com

Subscribe to his New Thinking Newsletter: subscribe@gerrymcgovern.mailer1.net