This article was originally published in the July edition of 47, Pesel & Carr’s quarterly communications newsletter.
Google once again reigns triumphant as the most influential brand in Australia, according to a comprehensive round-up compiled by Ispos.
The Most Influential Brands study polled 2,000 Australians and measured 100 brands, looking at various influence-associated factors including innovation, reliability, engagement and trustworthiness.
Google come out on top for the fourth year running not only in Australia, but globally and amongst all age groups. Hardly surprising when you consider that Google has become so widely-used and so engrained in our everyday lives that we frequently use it as a verb. But what are the secrets behind the brand’s enduring success?
First and foremost, it would seem that tech brands have a definite edge when it comes to influence, particularly when you consider Google was immediately followed in the ranking by Facebook and Microsoft. By their very nature, technology brands enable companies to connect directly with their audiences in unique, engaging and meaningful ways. And connected brands are influential brands!
Then there is the aspect of trust. According to Fastcompany.com, a successful brand will strive to form deep relationships with customers in two main ways – providing solutions and demonstrating how they can be present throughout all stages of their lives.
Google forms deep relationships in the simplest terms by reliably providing consumers daily with unlimited added value, for free. Where would we be without it? It’s there to provide a helping hand at work, at home, at the pub … of course we have a deep relationship with it.
To find evidence of Google positioning itself as a ‘brand for life’, you simply have to look at its Google Chrome ad ‘Dear Sophie’ – a tear-jerking depiction of a father compiling a digital scrapbook of his daughter’s life as she grows up. Using the likes of Gmail, YouTube and Picasa, important memories are captured from the day Sophie was born through to her toddler years. Heartfelt, humanising and extremely relatable.
In another commercial known as ‘Jess Time’, we witness Google Hangout playing a vital role in enabling a father to remain close to his daughter as she moves away to college. Here, Google is explicitly reassuring us that it will be on-hand to provide support throughout all of life’s most important moments.
It’s a technology company, but shows its human influence in its marketing.
Another important element in the Google brand’s success story is reputation. Something we at Pesel & Carr continually tell our clients is reputation starts from the inside and permeates out. Google is well-known for being a great place to work… reputation management 101.
Google topped Business Insider’s 2016 list of the 50 best companies to work for in America, with similarly positive employee perceptions world-wide. And it’s no surprise. Google notorious for staff perks including free gourmet food, on-site massages, fitness classes, abundant flexibility and a generous annual leave program.
The kind of corporate reputation Google has fostered, thanks to its internal culture, equals respect. And lots of it!
The company is also a well-known corporate philanthropist. According to Google Giving, as part of its GoogleServe program, staff members are encouraged to assist with community and non-profit projects in company time. Last year alone, more than 5,000 staff tackled over 400 projects globally, volunteering over 50,000 hours.
They also match staff contributions to the causes they are passionate about and, as such, has donated over $50 million to over 12,000 non-profit organizations. And with many other Google-led philanthropic initiatives across the globe, that’s just the tip of the iceberg!
With such steadfast commitment to corporate social responsibility, it’s little wonder there is such a warm and fuzzy feeling around the brand.
On top of all that Google is continually evolving, visibly and relentlessly. The organisation is intensely innovative, having a hand in everything from virtual reality to artificial intelligence and even driverless cars. All of this innovation relates back to the company’s fundamental mission of taking and organising the world’s information and making it universally accessible and useful.
Of course, with a brand of this scale, these are just a few examples of what has made it such a titan. Influential, valuable and astonishingly successful, it is testament to the strength of the reputation and good will it has built that it has successfully weathered the occasional storm.
We recommend the first step to issue management is establishing a credible and trusted reputation before an issue arises.
Google’s triumph in the Ispos ranking and so many other rankings around the world suggests even scandals including the doctoring of search results to promote its own services, ads being placed next to offensive content and criticisms for tax avoidance have failed to put a dent into our affection for and trust in the brand. Or perhaps this is simply down to the fact Google has managed to make itself so utterly indispensable.
Like we said, where would we be without it? Whatever the reason, its mammoth achievements cannot be disputed and, for that, Google we salute you!
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