In recent years global ‘Service Brands’ like Google have been leading a shift in the perceived value of a brand experience. With little in the way of a tangible product, these brands have had to develop a consumer-centric mentality, focusing on service, while delivering an innovative and unique brand experience. However the more traditional ‘Product Brands’ such as Coca Cola and Apple have recognised this shift in the branding evolution and have taken on-board an equally consumer-centric mentality by delivering messages of not only their product benefits, but also of a brand culture, community and way of life. It is this emotional connection that builds meaningful brand relationships and in turn brand advocates, making way for an evolution to ‘Experience Brands’. It will be ‘Experience Brands’ that lead the way in the future of branding.
The key to becoming an ‘Experience Brand’ is in developing and delivering a unique and meaningful brand experience. If Google is to maintain its brand dominance and challenge the rising ‘Experience Brands’ then it must master all three components of the brand experience:
- Functional – does it do what people want it to do?
- Accessible –how easy is it for people to do what they want to do?
- Emotional – how does it make people feel?
(Tempkin, The 2011 Temkin Experience Ratings, 2011)
Google’s brand experience is based around the functional and accessible elements of the experience, offering self-managed, automated productivity tools with no real human touch or emotional connection. Google must master the very crucial emotional component of the brand experience if it is to challenge the likes of Apple and Coca Cola and claim back the title of the world’s greatest brand.
Equally important to Google’s success has been the evolution of its unique business model highlighted by the synergy of the ‘Freemium’ and ‘Advertising’ models, creating a ‘network effect’. Google’s business model has evolved further however with the distribution of AdWords, the regular acquisition of innovative companies in order to gain valuable R&D and smart technology and the expansion of the service and product portfolio leading to Android Play and product sales, as well as the move into cloud computing infrastructure.
The future growth of Google’s business lies in three key areas:
- Extending the advertising model.
- Providing cloud infrastructure services.
- Going mobile in technology and products.
By continuing to evolve the concept of personalised advertising, further developing mobile technology and investing in cloud computing infrastructure, Google have set the platform for a strong and profitable future with seemingly unlimited potential.