Ben Wise on Branding

Watching the world through the lens of the brand

Posts Tagged ‘mobile apps

Extending the Google Brand

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I recently wrote about the shift in internet use that is being brought about by mobile devices and mobile applications. In a nutshell, users are not going to be searching the internet for content, but rather relying on a select number of mobile apps that take them directly to what they want. For example, using the Wikipedia app instead of a traditional internet search.

The Google brand stands to suffer from this shift more than any other. Although Google continues to release exciting new products, including ones for mobile devices, nearly all of its revenues still come from search advertising. With a drop in search, Google’s revenue from this service will undoubtedly drop.

Luckily, at least for fans of the Google brand, the company is preparing for this shift. The Android mobile operating system is one example, but this can also be seen in efforts to monetize other Google products. Google recently introduced location-based ads to their Google Maps in Australia, a product that is regularly used on mobile devices.

One of the great strengths of the Google brand is its ability to adapt. Google has such a hold over search that people use brand name as a verb (“I’m going to Google it”), but they have also successfully expanded the scope of their brand to include other areas of the digital world. This isn’t limited to different products and services online. The Nexus One (aka the Google Phone), fibre optic networks, TV advertising – these are all examples of Google’s ability to continually extend their brand.

Google is able to accomplish this because they have built their brand around a benefit, not a product. Google is about helping people access information, whether through search, maps, online documents, and whether on their laptops, mobiles or televisions.

While other brands focus on a specific product, Google’s wider approach to their brand has given them to freedom to enter markets that other companies can’t because they are limited by their brand. You could even take the Google brand a step further and say the benefit it provides is the feeling of empowerment through knowledge, moving their brand from a functional to an emotional benefit.

Maintaining an emotional benefit in the minds of consumers is certainly not easy, but for brands that are able to accomplish this, the benefits can be great. An emotional benefit is much harder for a competitor to match than a functional one. Your product may be the fastest, but another brand could easily usurp that position. If your brand makes me feel safe, that is much harder to replicate. Apple makes you feel cool, Budweiser makes you feel manly, and Google makes you feel smart – great brands all playing on emotional benefits.

What do you think? Will Google’s brand let them adapt to a world without search?


Written by benwisebranding

April 8, 2010 at 10:25 pm

Get Your Brand Ready for the Mobile World

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The future of the internet is drastically changing with the rise of mobile applications. Initially, mobile internet users were simply surfing the internet on a mobile browser. For many users this is still the case. However, with the growth of branded applications, the web browser (and with it regular web sites) is quickly declining in importance.

On a day-to-day basis, how many web sites do you actually go to? Most people could probably count them on their fingers. Email, social networks, Wikipedia, a couple of shopping sites, and some news/blogs. For most people, that is it. And each of these sites and sources, along with thousands more, are developing mobile applications to cut out the middle man, aka the web browser.

What does this mean for brands?

The changing use of the internet will have a profound impact on how brands target, reach, and interact with consumers. Here are some things your brand should be thinking about to adapt your digital strategy:

  • As the importance of search declines, how will your brand reach consumers? How can you ensure that your brand is represented in a consumer’s portfolio apps?
  • Who do you target with your mobile apps? Different segments will invariably have different needs. How do you make sure that your app delivers to each segment?
  • If you have multiple branded apps (which most major brands probably will), how you do make sure that each consumer has the app that is right for them?
  • How do you want consumers to interact with your brand through mobile applications? This is a crucial strategy question. The answer should drive pretty much every aspect of the development of your mobile apps.
  • Despite a decreasing use of regular web sites, consumers still want the connection that all of these sites provide. How will you integrate your mobile platform into the wider digital world to provide functionality to your consumers?

The digital revolution that is being driven by mobile applications offers tons of opportunity for brands that can answer these questions.

What do you think? Is your brand’s mobile strategy ready?

Written by benwisebranding

March 30, 2010 at 7:34 pm