tackling brands is tricky, tackling verbs is even harder

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Erik Kain

Erik writes about video games at Forbes and politics at Mother Jones. He's the contributor of The League though he hasn't written much here lately. He can be found occasionally composing 140 character cultural analysis on Twitter.

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12 Responses

  1. I just keep thinking of Friends “Bing, Bing, the bossman Bing.”Report

  2. Avatar mike farmer
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    says:

    In my real estate business, I have optimized my business website to get good search results — with the town in live in being a place where we have a lot of out-of-town buyers, Google is my most effective marketing effort, and by being up top — 1,2 or 3 with the best search terms — in the organic results, I don’t have to put out any money on PPC. Google produces 85% percent of the traffic to my site. Perhaps Bing will be competitive through quality of search results and by providing other pertinent information, but right now, in my world, Google is king. Google was first to break through and they did an excellent job of concentrating on search when others dismissed it as not sexy enough. It’s really an amazing story — I’ve read a couple of books regarding Google’s beginning and rise — it’s an incredible story.Report

  3. Avatar Moff
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    says:

    I’m not sure I can put this into words very precisely, but for all the money they spend on it, Microsoft doesn’t seem to quite get branding, or at least not in a way that’s ever connected with me. Whenever I see a Microsoft commercial, or even just a branding example like the bing.com front page, the message I get is “We’re the old, monolithic institution, but look how snazzy we are!” And it always seems like a con to me, because it feels like they’re glossing over all the problems with their products with a slick paint job, even if they are putting out something solid.

    And they’re just so out of touch (again, at least to me — I mean, an ad campaign with Seinfeld?). Google’s minimalist look was a big draw — it said: “We know you just want to find shit on the Internet and move on”; there’s nothing like it here. Anyway, E.D., I think you’re right — Google has pervaded our consciousness of the medium. When I think of “the Internet,” the mental image I get is of a Google search results page. Even using another search engine feels weird, like “No, no — I want to look at the real Internet.”Report

    • Avatar E.D. Kain in reply to Moff
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      says:

      I’m not sure I can put this into words very precisely, but for all the money they spend on it, Microsoft doesn’t seem to quite get branding

      Exactly right. Nor do they understand connectivity and product overlap the way Google does. Google connects your email, chat, documents, search, and even browser now, etc. into basically one product, and with upcoming innovations like Wave and their OS that connectivity and overlap will just become far, far more effective. (Apple has done this fairly well also with hardware added into the mix)

      Microsoft has tried with “Windows Live” and all that, but there are just too many gaps, too many brands, etc. I mean “bing” is now part of the whole cadre of Microsoft products, but is it really tied into them well? Why Microsoft hasn’t made their Windows platform more webby is beyond me. And why they make it so difficult to integrate everything is also confusing. And that bit about a nice paintjob over an essentially second-rate product is right on.Report

      • If Google would just come up with a tool to manage multiple Gmail accounts through one screen I will buy stock in the company. There are Firefox plugins out there but I work in a IE-only office.Report

      • Avatar alsomike in reply to E.D. Kain
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        says:

        “Google connects your email, chat, documents, search, and even browser now, etc. into basically one product”

        Wow, really? Google’s product strategy is “Throw it at the wall and see if it sticks”, and this is an outcome of the “20% time” policy (Googlers can spend 20% of work time on projects that interest them).

        They have hundreds of little applications and utilities and many overlap: Google Video & YouTube; Google Page Creator & Google Sites & Blogger; Google Notebook & Google Docs; Orkut & Google FriendConnect & Dodgeball.

        IMO Microsoft’s problem is that they try a big product rollout, and when it doesn’t work, they throw the whole thing out, rename it and redesign it from scratch. The whole MSN-centric strategy was a mistake, but I think they are finally wising up with the Windows Live suite. It’s a nicely put-together set of products from a single vendor that moms and dads on home computers know and trust. Plus, they have the advantage of 5x gmail’s user base, Windows installs, etc., so they could easily win this.

        The real action is Office Live vs. Google Docs. Microsoft is terrified of cannibalizing revenue from Office, so they crippled Office Live and a bunch of other companies, including Google, are jumping in.Report

    • Avatar Mike at The Big Stick in reply to Moff
      Ignored
      says:

      From Moff:

      Even using another search engine feels weird, like “No, no — I want to look at the real Internet.”

      So true! My mom just got a laptop and was using some weird hybrid search engine that came pre-installed through the manufacturers website. When she refused to let me map Google as her home page I was screaming, “You’re not using the internet correctly!”Report

  4. Avatar William Brafford
    Ignored
    says:

    College Humor sort of beat you to your verb-status idea. A friend of mine works for Microsoft, and he says they’ve been enjoying this parody ad: “Googling with Bing.”

    I will say this: the bird’s eye feature on the map search is pretty sweet.Report

  5. Avatar Caltha palustris
    Ignored
    says:

    It reminds me of a regional idiom: “Badda bing, badda boom, badda bong” Send in the drum machine…Report

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