The Google brand

Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share

10 October 2018

The Google brand doomed Google+

Google+ was doomed from the start. There are only so many social networks one can prefer. And, more importantly, there exists the little problem of the Google brand.

Google brandExecutives say they are shutting down Google+ because of security concerns after a breach went unreported. You see, that’s a problem. The Google brand means information. And, lately, it’s becoming clear that it’s information Google owns, not us.

Facebook selling user data, compromising millions of users, didn’t help the Google brand. Was it that hard to believe that Google was any less trustworthy?

There are those who believe Google owns too much power. It dominates internet search. Businesses rely on first page position of any Google search with important keywords.

In a way, that distrust remains the reason why Amazon’s Echo outshines Google Home. Maybe irrationally, we trust Amazon more than we trust Google. (And we’re probably being naive.)

“Right now, the Google brand is saddled with a permission problem. Because we trust so little of it, consumers don’t give it permission to further invade our space. Especially our digital space.”

The Google brand must mean more than simply information

But the lesson of axing Google+ is that it was never preferred because of the Google brand. Few actually trust it. And, in fact, the businesses (like mine) that did sport profiles on it only did because we were afraid Google would penalize us if we didn’t.

How paranoid is that?

So where does this leave the Google brand now? It has powerful market position in that its technology and use outreach just about everyone, including powerhouses Apple and Amazon. But it just isn’t trusted. In fact, in search, most of us feel trapped. We’ve been trained to use Google so much – and depend on it so desperately – that a sound search engine like Bing or Yahoo can’t really compete.

Right now, the Google brand is saddled with a permission problem. Because we trust so little of it, consumers don’t give it permission to further invade our space. Especially our digital space.

Going forward, transparency is certainly key. But its effort must go beyond that. It must tap into emotional beliefs that overcome (or replace) the fear we feel about the brand. That is, the Google brand must mean something else other than information. That isn’t enough anymore.

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