Lessons on Branding from Google

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Since 1998, Google has steadily emerged at the top of its game as far as search engines are concerned. Its vaunted search algorithm has been the benchmark of countless search engines. After its successful run, its founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin have expanded Google to offer more services. It has ventured to cloud computing, maps, news, Google Chrome and the hit mobile operating system, Android.

Google also gave ordinary content providers the benefit of earning income with Google AdSense. Advertisements were structured and organized so that they do not look like spam.

The success of Google has led people to trust its brand. It has even become a phrase in popular culture. If you don’t know something, people will advise you to “Google” it. See, it has become a verb already!

Logo Consistency

The logo of Google is not the most beautiful around. In fact, it even looks cartoonish or ugly to some. But it has gone on to become one of the most familiar logos in the Internet. Even with the success of Google, they have stuck with their logo. Now people have come to associate this logo with online stability and reliable Internet searches and there are many logo design lessons from Google.

Even though the Google logo has remained consistent, Google has found ways to play around it. In their home page, they do various versions of the same logo to help commemorate special events like holidays and anniversary dates. Their most recent example is a synthesizer in the form of their logo which was done to celebrate a milestone in Doctor Robert Moog’s life, the inventor of analogue synthesizers.

Google “remixes” its own logo instead of changing it. This adds to the flavor of the band. They also have the Doodle4Google project which invites kids to create their own versions of the logo. Winning entries will be used for the Google home page.

Keeping it Simple

A brand represents the message of your company to users about your core values and vision. A logo is just there as a visual cue to remind them of the brand. But above all, it is the meaning of the brand that should stand out. For Google, their brand reflects their core value “Don’t Be Evil” and this has resounded with many users. Most think that Google is here to make life easier for many people.

If you want people to appreciate and remember the brand of your business, make it simple. If you can’t explain it in a few words, your business may not even understand what its own vision and mission are.

Brutal simplicity is much better. The attention span of Internet users have considerably dwindled throughout the years. When users are looking for something in the Internet, they want to get direct to the point. This is just exactly what you will see in the home page of Google: an extremely simplistic design with only the logo and a single search field.

Create a System

Because Google is dependent on products, it finds ways to continually add to their catalogue. Every time they have a release, they affix the Google brand into the service to create the impression that these products come from a reliable source and that they can work together as a system.

Moreover, Google creates a beautiful impression of their brand by showing to the world that their employees are given many perks and free time to develop these products. This lends an air of exclusivity and privilege for Google developers making people appreciate the brand even more. Brands are narratives and if they are appreciated by its intended audience, the brand increases its strength.

Expand and Respect the Brand of Acquisitions

For many years, Google has been very busy expanding by acquiring companies. First there was Blogger, the famous blog manager, and then Picasa, the renowned photo sharing website. Recently, Google has also acquired YouTube. But Google is in no rush to rebrand these new acquisitions by attaching the Google name. Similar to how Google has not changed its logo, they have also left the names of their acquired brands unchanged.

YouTube is a big example. It has grown to be the leading website for watching, uploading and sharing free videos. When Google acquired YouTube, they did not compel YouTube to affix the name of Google next to its name. They worked together hand in hand to improve user experience. Now you can use your Google account to access the services of YouTube.