So Google is to become Alphabet? Well Google will become part of Alphabet in what is a rebrand of one of the best-known brands ever.
An interesting move. Most marketers will tell you that brand recognition and loyalty is the Utopia for many brands, spending millions on building a name that is known worldwide.
So why has Google who are ranked as no 2 in the Millward Brown Brand Z worldwide brands rebranded?
It hasn’t been driven by lack of success. Even though the rebrand led to a sizable stock rise, boosting Google’s value by $20bn, Google’s worth pre the announcement of the birth of Alphabet was a healthy $367.6 billion according to Forbes.
Some thought leaders feel it is founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin’s desire to dissociate themselves from the cut and thrust of effectively what is really a business about selling advertising space.
And others feel it is a much needed structural strategy to make sense of what has become one of the largest companies, and complex businesses around today.
Whatever the reasoning behind it - and in our humble opinion it is probably an accummulation of all the above and more - it is an interesting move to make on initial analysis but with further thought, one which comes as no great surprise.
Google has diversified rapidly over the last few years - experimenting with the infamous Google Glass and acquiring companies, including many robotic tech enterprises - at a rapid rate. What seems to have been lost along the way, is actually any sense of the brand - what it means to their customers and what they are saying to their customers about their company and their vision.
If you google ‘Google’, Wikipedia describes it as “an American multinational technology company specializing in Internet-related services and products. These include online advertising technologies, search, cloud computing, and software. Most of its profits are derived from AdWords, an online advertising service that places advertising near the list of search results.” In my opinion, this sums up the Google’s problem; it has no heart, no warmth, no values.
Innovation - whether in terms of new technologies, products and services or new markets - is key for any company, large or small. However, innovation without brand perimeters is like setting off on a roadtrip without the satnav. Definitely a brand name brings loyalty and a trust that can be taken from one marketplace to another, especially if your brand is as well known as Google. There is no doubt that if any brand can generate the trust of consumers to buy a driveless car, Google can. However, how many of their customers really know what Google stands for anymore and what the brand is all about?
Their target audience is everyone, everywhere.
Brands need a clear and consistent message. They need customers to understand what they stand for and what they do. They need to be transparent and they need to be trusted. It would be crazy to say that Google has lost their way, but I do wonder if Google’s move to Alphabet is a chance to go back to the drawing board and map out what they want to be, without the fear of losing what they have built up along the way. Clever tactics indeed.