Despite appearances to the contrary, Google isn’t out to dominate the world – it only seeks to organize it. Actually, the company states its mission is “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” That actually explains a lot. And Google does have some explaining to do.
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Just last week the company announced it had acquired Green Throttle, a smartphone game controller company. Andoid apps have made Google well-known and loved for gaming software, but the acquisition of a videogame hardware company took some folks by surprise.
Google’s acquisition of home security and automation brand earlier this year Nest also raised a few eyebrows. What smart thermostats and green smoke alarms have to do with search engines and cloud storage is a legitimate question.
Even the company’s latest announcement that it now offers views of the Grand Canyon River, thanks to the new Colorado River Street View powered by Google’s View Trekker. seems a little out there.
On the surface, these and other news from the constant stream of Google developments and acquisitions announced weekly seem random at best, malicious at worst. The giant technology and information conglomerate Google could seem poised to take over the world.
But there’s a method to Google’s madness, and it’s not as threatening as critics might like to think. Google is simply fulfilling its brand mission.
Of course, Google’s growth strategy can be explained as combat in a war for talent. Along with capabilities and brand cool factor of the Nest acquisition, Google snagged Tony Fadell, who was essentially the designer of Apple’s iPod. And, Google also wants to launch a set-top box before Apple introduces its much anticipated Apple TV — so Green Throttle holds the promise of getting them there faster.
But perhaps most importantly, all of Google’s expansion moves make sense in light of its aspiration to organize and open up “the world’s information.” As Google has pursued this mission, it has delivered such meaningful and salient benefits to people that they have developed extraordinary trust in the brand. And they have given it permission to extend into areas as seemingly unrelated as payment systems and data aggregation. Google has become known a brand that makes deep, rich, strong connections with people and that stretches in pursuit of new ways to make those connections.
Google shows the power of envisioning and managing a brand as a transcendent and emotionally-resonant platform. When a purpose- or values-driven brand identity is used to guide innovation and expansion, a company is no longer constrained by product category or even business sector. It has the flexibility and the organizing logic to explore a broad range of growth opportunities.
It makes the most sense to use the brand to fuel growth because doing so leverages existing customer relevance and resonance, instead of having to try to establish a new foundation. And the brand serves as a clear and compelling internal filter to guide and align the decision-making of everyone who works on the brand.
By applying its purpose and focusing on making connections grounded in emotions instead of specific offerings, Google will continue to pursue entirely new, and continually surprising, ways of doing business. And yet, it really should be no surprise at all. Google’s ever growing footprint is the logical outcome – and ultimate manifestation — of its brand mission.