Apr 10, 2003
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By Managing Editor Anne Holland
I am sitting here drinking out of my official Google mug feeling
incredibly guilty yet righteous.
As you know, if you read the Special Issue we emailed you on
Monday afternoon, we just outed Google for possibly overstating
the success metrics of its new ad unit, and for doing business on
an opt-out basis.
Thing is, neither of these failings are a huge sin in the overall
scheme of things. And certainly many other companies (including
some of Google's competitors) are equally or more guilty
So why bother reporting on it in this instance; and, why do I
feel so guilty? Blame branding.
Google's the warm, fuzzy brand-of-the-year. I've been trained by
their brand to expect specific types of business practices from
So, when competitor Overture announced a deal to put ads on much-
maligned Gator this week, I shrugged it off. But when Google, a
company that refuses to take ads linking to sites with pop-ups,
were a little too hopefully positive about their new ad unit
conversion figures, I was stunned.
It wasn't fair of me.
But, I guess that's the hard reality behind great brand marketing.
If you do such a good job of making people love and trust your
brand that they go out and buy the mug, then you're judged
against higher standards.
This is an especially important lesson for those of us working
for Web-based companies. If you're a pure-play, your brand is
critical. After all, people have no other palpable experience of
your company to judge by.
And, as we reported a few weeks back, less than 12% of online
shoppers make buying decisions on price alone.
So, yes the Web is a fabulous direct response medium ... but
branding matters now more than ever before.