We all know Google. You probably had to google to find this post. But why is the mega company such a household name now? Google dominates the search engine market and is converting non believers with their productivity and planning apps and services. Let’s take a look at the lessons we can pull from Google’s maverick moves.
1. Offer an Alternative with a Twist
You’ve been a faithful user of Microsoft Word for years. There are free open source alternatives like Libre or Open Office but most people still use Word. Enter Google with a hip check. I didn’t understand the fuss with Google Drive until I actually used it. Google designed a mostly traditional word processing program with Google Docs but with a twist. The program is cloud based, shareable and allows multiple users to work on the same document in real time. Excuse me? It was the function that no one knew they needed and now can’t live without. Add in shareable Google Sheets, Slides and the holy grail shareable calendar and everyone has a productivity suite that streamlines revisions and keeps everyone updated. The templates make creating documents a breeze. Other programs have template abilities, but Google put them front and center. You remember those templates exist and can access with one click. Productivity is all about making things smarter, faster and more intuitive.
2. Choose a Memorable Name
What does Google mean? Most people have no clue. That has not stopped Google from becoming a universally known and used name. Google has become a verb. “We can google the location” is a perfectly acceptable sentence. I can’t even remember how it happened, it just did. Google crept into our consciousness with a unique name that took on the meaning they created. Google is now synonymous with an online search. I’m often surprised by how boring and generic most business names are. They run into the problem of being confused with other companies because the names are unremarkable. Google doesn’t have that problem. We all know who they are. How’d you get here again?
3. Integrate Your Offerings
It all starts with Gmail. Handy isn’t it? The strange thing is hotmail, AOL and yahoo were around first. Most people I communicate with have a Gmail account. I originally got one because I wanted a less kitschy email address than my hotmail one but couldn’t get my name without adding all kinds of number sequences. Now if you don’t have a Gmail account you’re an outsider. You don’t get access to Google Drive and can’t share documents with a group. Gmail connects to Google Calendar, Google plus, Google Drive and so on. I can plan my life with Google Calendar. The company also offers business email with the business name after the famous @ symbol, but administered through a Google platform. Of course, it means all those overworked employees can easily check their work email on weekends.
4. Over Deliver
They create everything but the next pop hit. You’ll have to consult Rihanna and her team for that one. The aforementioned Google Drive suite for productivity, Gmail for communication, business mail are the most obvious tools. If you conduct any market research or create content Google has even more “stuff” Their Keyword Planner is a tool used by bloggers and marketers to help blog posts become more searchable and accessible. But wait there’s more! If you have any kind of business, you might want to use Ad Words to target your audience. Need to analyze your website traffic after writing those keyword rich posts? Use Google Analytics. Social Media? How about Google Plus. Its becoming an important business oriented social media space. And you have one if you have a Google account; you just need to fix it up. I’ve had thousands of views on mine so I finally realized its value especially as a content creator. And I don’t go anywhere new without checking Google Maps first. I literally don’t’ leave until I’ve consulted Google. I’d say they’ve made their case, but I’m gonna need them to start churning out the hits just to cover all bases.
5. Create Products or Services with Intuitive Design
There are so many productivity or social media sites and services. It always amazes me when they aren’t intuitive to use. If the aim is to become a tool used by the masses most people should be able to figure it out within 15 minutes with a special tutorial. While I love a good tutorial, I don’t love poor design. I’ve only googled (there it is again) a tutorial on Google Sheets because spreadsheets were a little technical for my writer brain at first. After a few days of using them they became intuitive. Now I whip out a Google Sheets report with ease. All of their other services make sense without needing much direction. That’s an important quality when you want millions of people to use our products or services. It’s just as important if you want 100 people to use them. Clarity, understanding and ease of use is key. It creates a positive experience and a willingness to keep coming back to the service.
6. Become a Thought Leader
Google comes up with great concepts. They’ve gone beyond what a typical search engine aspires to. To create a social media platform productivity suite, tools to help people use your search engine for marketing and a slew of original ideas you have to be ahead of the pack. The company hasn’t shied away from taking risks and creating new projects. Innovation doesn’t come from sticking to the program or even copying your competitors. You have to break the mold. You have to excite people. They’ve created a demand for services people didn’t even think about 5 years ago. Take a look at Google glass. You can’t be a follower and do that.
7. Brand, Brand and Brand Again
The powers that be at Google like to show their lighter side. On any given day when you open the homepage, their logo, has a different design or doodle corresponding with a holiday or special event. Sometimes they’re humorous, sometimes solemn. They’re always dead on. They’ve kept it visual using primary colors for their main logo and fun cartoon drawings for alternate logo design. They also got into the movie game with “The Internship” Talk about branding and product placement. Vince Vaughn as leading man matches with Google’s fun, innovative image. They’ve kept that fun spirit since launching with a “Don’t be evil” mission. Basically, they’ve done everything in their power to create an almost childlike enthusiasm around their services. The result? Their brand appeals to, well, just about everyone.