‘Don’t be evil’, the unofficial Google motto has served them well over the years.
A little more palatable than the corporate mission ‘to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.’ But both cement the intentions of a biggest search engine on the planet; to stay friendly, stay fun, but mostly not be
On Firebrands, Google has never dropped out of the top 10; rarely surpassed by lesser brands, but never quite competing with the social media giants. Messaging is approachable but professional, it lacks inane chat or gimmicky posts but with regular features and up to date content, the feeds are responsive and interesting. In parallels to its social counterparts, Google splits handles into function, possibly in an attempt to distance itself from the news heavy Yahoo accounts.
Google’s biggest brand asset was introduced to the English Oxford Dictionary in 2006. The genericised use of Google is so complete that it generates content from simple phrases, to spoof videos that are globalised and entirely cross demographic. Despite its sheer size, their own innovation and ‘mistake led’ culture has encouraged an environment of fun and open dialogue.
Google’s overriding positive sentiment lies in their one stop shop search function, the often silly but sometimes remarkable doodles and of late, some very exciting product innovations. Sentiment for Google’s most pushed social product (Spending more last year trying to push Google+ than it spent on television ads in all of 2010) is a far more mixed affair. It is still up for debate whether or not Google+ is, was or ever will be the success that the brand insists, but one stand out surprise is the very public celebration of Google+ hangouts. Now proving real competition for Skype, due to ease of use and multi-function ability, Hangouts has fast become a Google product the brand has no need to defend.
Yahoo is Google’s closest competitor in terms of service offering, but their social and public presence is far too closed off to pose any ranking threat. To finally dominate the top 10, Google has to crack the social giants. Talk of Google+ moving out from the shadow of Facebook and creating an entirely new genre of ‘discussion’ network is an interesting strategy, whether this happens is yet to be seen.
Though an admirable adversary to the likes of Facebook and Twitter, to achieve the status of a truly ‘social’ brand Google needs to leverage an already integrated brand presence; capturing their audience and driving original conversation, rather than just reacting to it.