Kleenex, Band-Aid and Google. Where does that leave Bing?
Sep 8, 2009
Rachel was wearing this shirt Friday. It got me thinking about Google in a couple different ways.
First: Is anyone — outside of Microsoft employees who got it for free — going to wear Bing shirts? And what would the back say, anyway?
Second: Microsoft has chosen a ridiculously tight knot to try to untie — or even slightly loosen — in relation to Google’s ownership of search.
Google has reached ubiquity in the way Kleenex, Band-Aid and Xerox did. People don’t search for things, they Google it. Some so-called “social media gurus” have started saying “Google me” instead of handing out business cards as a sign of the internet abilities. Google is synonymous with online search.
But Google has it even better than Kleenex and Band-Aid. The latter are brand names for a product that can be mimicked, marketed and merchandised as the low-cost, the softer, or the designer alternative in the same space. People can compare product options side-by-side and decide which brand of “Kleenex” they want to buy. But there’s no way to put a low-priced, generic brand along side Google on a shelf. Google is a destination, and therefore owns the marketplace, too.
So Microsoft has to create a technically acceptable, distinct option for search… which they may have done. But they currently have that option sitting on a shelf in some small, out-of-the-way store across town. To get it in the same marketplace, they have to make themselves part of the cultural lexicon. That’s a difficult marketing challenge to say the least. “The world’s first decision engine” just doesn’t have the same entertaining double entendres as Google’s tagline. That makes the T Shirts less popular. And, in this case, it might be the perfect indicator of marketplace health.
Watching TV as a kid, I used to run to the bathroom during the shows so I could make it back for the commercials. Those days launched me down a path that included layout and writing for the college paper; communications strategy for political campaigns; marketing strategy and graphic design for Gensler (a global design and architecture firm); and the implementation of new programming, animation and design techniques for Centerline. Today I specialize in content marketing strategy and building digital deliverables to execute those strategies. But it’s about more than just creating killer digital content. At Centerline, we help clients succeed in the digital marketplace using a three-pronged approach: strategic (message creation, brand strategy), tactical (design, development), and analytical (measurement and adaptation). This experience-tested approach allows me to build campaigns that are both well-designed and effective for clients like IBM, GE and National Instruments.