Google Changing Strategy And Softening Its Image Through Advertising

Posted: 05/01/2012 in Social Networking/ Social Media, Strategy

You may have noticed a huge amount of mainstream Google advertising of late. There have been billboards, tons of TV ads and even subway ads. It’s a complete U Turn for a company that was openly scornful of advertising and the lack of real measurement around it in its own early days. That all started to change in 2010 when the company paid $3 million for a Superbowl advert and there has been no looking back since then. In a recent New York Times Article their Vice President of Marketing Lorraine Twohill said

“As we got bigger, we had more competition, more products, more messages to consumers, so we needed to do a bit more to communicate what these products are and how you can use them. If we don’t make you cry, we fail,” Ms. Twohill said. “It’s about emotion, which is bizarre for a tech company.”

All of this forms a huge shift for the tech company and you do have to suspect much of it is to do with their own image. In recent years as they have grown they are constantly facing anti trust issues because of their size and there is nothing better than a feel good ad to get people on your side.
Softening The Image

The same sort of feel good tone runs through most of Google’s advertising. Their first ad was a sort of love story set in Paris showing off their search product and they have continued the happy feel good stuff ever since. This is clearly a strategy to not just attract customers but soften their image in general as they get bigger and bigger.

Celebrity Endorsements

In a bid to become cool and capture the attention of the mainstream Google have been increasingly turning to celebrities to endorse their products. There have been relationships with Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber and many more.

Offline Brand Building

Google have started building their brand on the real world through traditional billboards. They now have so many products to advertise that building brand awareness is a huge challenge. The product that Google have done this with the most is the Chrome browser which has been advertised in all shapes and forms which is Google trying to appeal to the normal non techie in the street who typically doesn’t know much about browsers.
Huge Range Of Products To Promote

As Google have evolved from a company that just provides internet search into a huge brand that makes browsers, phones, operating systems, social networks and much much more it was inevitable that they start turning to traditional advertising. They obviously do a great job already online so they feel that they need to compliment that in the offline world to help build their brand.

The one area that I am not sure about is their promotion of the social network Google + using TV ads. They are clearly very keen to get it working but a social network can’t be driven by advertising. It needs to be organic and have strong social links between people with the users doing most of the inviting themselves.

The one thing that I would say though is that I really wouldn’t want to be the advertising agency that Google have hired because they will be absolutely obsessed with metrics. They can measure everything themselves with their own products down to the last click and they will demand the same return on investment. For now though it’s just interesting to watch the world’s biggest advertising company finally start embracing advertising themselves.


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