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October 19, 2004

Comments

anand ramaswamy

Can you let me know how McDonalds evaluates the performance of a marketing manager?

afzam.adenan

Hye Jim...

I just wonder whether you are aware of the methadolgy used by Interbrand in order to come out with their list of top 100. And I don't think that it's really matter whether Google's in the list or not.

Though the claim that Google is world's #1 brand appears misleading, I don't see any reason why Microsoft should be considered as brand either.

Above all, based on what Google is doing now, I believe that they deserve to be #1 in terms of delivering their promise.

IMHO.

Jim Martin

Folks,

A bit surprised at all the hype and misinformation about Google here...it was not even in the top 100 in interbrands 2004 listing unlike what was meantioned here about being #1??

Jim

John

Gee, Tom, glad you could make it.

Tom Asacker

I love you all! You make me smile. And I'll bet you dollars to donuts that you make the leaders at Google smile, too.

Abnu

John makes a good point about the difference between naming and branding, which is sometimes blurred in the discussion.

Regarding Blogger, Jennifer says:"John, I'm glad you mentioned Blogger... sure, it's owned by Google but it's not called GoogleBlog. Or GBlog. It does have its own brand identity that's separate from Google, which makes sense given that it's not tied in to Google's core business of search. Now if it had built-in blog-post search capability, I'd probably argue that they should tie Blogger's brand identity closer to Google."Now, Blogger does have "built-in blog-post search capability" by Google, if it is turned on in the Template. For example, you can search for any text on this Blogger blog from the search field in the Blogger NavBar: The Blogger NavBar is a navigation bar and toolbar with a form that allows people to search just your weblog using Google's SiteSearch and gives you the ability to check out what's happening on other recently published blogs with one click. This bar replaces the advertisements that used to be displayed at the top of some blogs.Now, I don't think that means Blogger should be called Glogger to tie the brand's identity closer to Google, but I'm open to hearing Jennifer's argument.

John

I guess I'm missing an important distinction here. I'm not sure that truly recognisable brands don't successfully diversify. Microsoft - operating systems, desktop applications, browsers, web services, web chats... Its all MS just like blogger, Gmail, desktop google search and web search is all Google. tghe names are incidental as brands in some ways, Is powerpoint the best of breed, is that why it does well? No, it's the brand name and distribution reach of MS that makes it do well. It has its own "brand name", sure, same as Blogger and Gmail, but the significant thing is that it's made by MS.

If you like, there is zero diversification in either MS or Google's case, as the entire brand promise is to be the Host, guide and burro of the personal computer experience. Open up Windows XP and you get told: "Welcome." Welcome to your operating system? No, not just that, welcome to the land of the computer.

Different phase of historical PC use and web adoption, but similar thing for Google. With open source OS and software on the rise, proprietary Web search by Google is the start point of a new empire. Some of what they try will be knocked down, but I dont see a blur that'll confuse people. Their main enemy seems to me to be competiton and entropy, not a law of line extension. I dont know, I never studied marketing. Correct me if Im wrong.

Matthew White

There's a statement that Goolge is/was the number 1 recognised brand worldwide.

Everyone's taking it as given that this is true.

I have a question: How was this "fact" found out? By doing a search on Google perhaps? By asking net users?

When you say worldwide, let's be realistic here. Considering far more people have drunk coke or have been in a McDonalds than own computers, I think it's crap to say Google is the most recognised brand.

Now that this "fact" is disputed, lets ask the question. Of the *truely* recognisable brands like MacDonalds and Coke, have they diversified? No. (Unless you've seen something like a McDonalds computer, or a Coke construction machine.) The rest of this discussion is moot.

Proposition * Conjecture without Fact = Hot Air

John

We're back to this again. The evils of brand extension. I reckon Google still has an elastic waistband and we'll see how far they can go. I guess we agree on it being an enticing spectator sport, because Google is so fabulously successful. They break the mold all over the place. And they do it so damn well.

Scott Miller

Blogger is a unique brand, and it might be reasonable to accept "GMail" as a unique brand, though that one is a bit more in the gray area because most users know what the "G" stands for. In these two cases Google is apply pretty good brand strategy, much like Levi's and Dockers.

It might also be reasonable to accept the notion that Google is casting a wider net, to catch the entire search market, regardless of where that search takes place. But casting a wider net is risky, because it puts the brand at risk to be defeated by more focused brands, such as one that *only* searches on the desktop and can thus claim superiority because that's all they do (which implies expertise). But, most likely, MSoft will be the only competitor, and they have an equally wide cast net, so in this particular case Google may come out ahead with this strategy.

Yahoo! is the brand that really needs to worry, because they have a finger in everything, from finance to auctions to online stores to search engines. They are truly all over the map, and they mis-brand everything as a line extension. This simply has to come back to haunt them. Actually, it already has because Google came along much later positioned strictly as a streamlined search engine without all that other junk. Google has Yahoo! to thank for opening this door.

Likewise, as Google casts a wider net and loses focus as a company, another competitor they may not even exist yet, will have a chance to step through the door that Google has opened.

Al Ries

The Google situation is going to be interesting. Certainly Google is a very, very powerful brand and as a result can be line extended without paying too much of a penalty. (Microsoft is in the same situation.

It's not the search function of gmail I would question. It's the launch of a email service that puts them in competition with a lot of other brands in the market.

Then, too, the desktop search function puts them in a long-term battle with Microsoft which has announced desktop search as a major objective of the firm.

We'll see, but I think Google is picking too many fights with too many powerful companies.

Graham Glass

If you look at Google's corporate page, it states the Google mission clearly: Google's mission is to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful. This implies powerful search, but is not limited to search. GMail is a good example of where search is applied to email in a way that builds upon their brand and mission. On this theme, it wouldn't surprise me if Google decided to branch into healthcare and act as a central storage system for medical records. Once again, this would seem to be slap-bang in their sweet spot.

Jennifer Rice

John, I'm glad you mentioned Blogger... sure, it's owned by Google but it's not called GoogleBlog. Or GBlog. It does have its own brand identity that's separate from Google, which makes sense given that it's not tied in to Google's core business of search. Now if it had built-in blog-post search capability, I'd probably argue that they should tie Blogger's brand identity closer to Google.

John

My vote goes with Mark J's comment - not Laura's - for what that’s worth! Google is still primarily an information indexer. Should they dump Blogger then? I don’t think so. According to conventional wisdom on the subject, they would only need to create a new brand if their new line did not fit under a clear umbrella with their other products. That umbrella can be reshaped over time; the trick is to work with its elasticity effectively.

If a company starts by making ketchup under a brand, and they branch out into tomato sauce, fine. If they go to pickles, well, OK that can work too. If they then get a really good opportunity to get into retail menswear, there could be an issue if they use the same brand. Or not.

Come on you guys, I think we're all in awe of how fantastic Google's business model, branding and execution have been. It'd be amazing being part of that Mensa team. They're on top, which makes us sharpen out knives, but their imminent mistakes - and consequent come-uppance - are probably exaggerated.

Mark Ramsey

I'd like to see Al and Laura cook up a book with exceptions to their various rules. Because in the Al & Laura universe, exceptions don't exist.

Anytime something is uniformly and universally said to be true, up goes my eyebrow.

Mark J

Google's forays into e-mail and desktop searching and photo organization (with their purchase of Picasa) and online price comparison and news aggregation are all central to Google's goal and in-line with their image as an information indexer.

I do not see their Gmail service as something risky, as it is based on an established (and extremely lucrative) business model (contextual advertising). Their outlook on e-mail is fresh, as they avoid using folders to organize mail and instead rely on a blazing-fast search. Their influence can be seen on Apple's upcoming OS which indexes files and meta information which can be found using an easy-to-access search bar. When Google starts selling computers, starting a Gthreads clothing line, or introduces GiMale (fragrance for the informed man), then I'd start to worry about Google's brand.

Jennifer Rice

Yvonne mentions Amazon here and in a comment on the previous post... I believe that Amazon is answering customers' question, "where can I purchase stuff online?" Yes, they started with just books... but once Amazon established operational excellence with the online shopping experience, they could extend the brand beyond books. In my mind, Amazon stands for online shopping, not online books. Although I agree with the basic premise in Origin of Brands, I believe in defining and expanding brands in context of the problem that the brand solves, NOT the particular business category in which it operates.

jennifer rice

My impression of Google's strategy is that they used gmail as a beta test for their searchable desktop application. Now they're competing directly with Microsoft on the desktop, but still in the search category. So I don't believe that they're going after different markets; they're applying their search technology to different markets. I don't believe they care to be the dominant email provider... but their efforts in email will help them maintain and grow their leadership position in search.

Laura Ries

Google is absolutely making the same as mistake Yahoo! Google is getting into too many new categories with the Google name. Email and search are very different categories. And I don't think they will be able to conquer both.

What happens when you go after multiple markets is that you can lose your focus and leadership in you main business. For Google to succeed, they need to focus on search.

Look what happened over at Nokia. Nokia is the leading cellphone in the world. But they got caught up in the convergence hype and chased after phone/pda combos and phone/game combos with the Nokia Communicator and the N'Gage. They forgot to watch the cellphone market and improve their phones. Samsung came in with the first flip-phones with color screens and has made serious inroads into the market.

Google needs to be careful. There is always a competitor ready to take advantage if the leader gets distracted.

However, if Google does see an oppotunity to be first in a new category, then they should go after it but with a new brand name. Like Toyota did with Lexus. Or Gap did with Old Navy.

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