Is killing off the Picasa and Blogger brands a Plus? ~ Brand Mix

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Is killing off the Picasa and Blogger brands a Plus?

According to Mashable, Google is going to rebrand Blogger and Picasa, two of its popular products. Blogger will be renamed Google Blogs and Picasa will be Google Photos. This is all part of an initiative to unify the brand portfolio ahead of the public launch of Google+, the company's latest and most significant social initiative.

Such a change certainly has the immediate advantage of signaling a strong, no prisoners, commitment to Google+. If the company is prepared to kill off two of its big brands to make the integration of Google+  smoother and more seamless, it's showing its determination to make this thing work.

Opinion is varied. A Huffington Post poll showed that 22% of people liked the change, 29% hated it and 49% were indifferent because "names don't matter." Arguing against the rational, names don't matter POV, Casey Chan at Gizmodo says: "I can go along with changing Picasa to Google Photos, it's an okay, undisgusting move. But swapping Blogger for Google Blogs? WHY?! That's unnecessarily generic. Evilly plain. Disgusting vanilla. Blogger is one of the tent poles of the Internet! You're not allowed to mess with those. I like + a little less now."

Casey's comment points to the potential downside of eliminating product brands in a portfolio in favor of a single brand. For all the benefits of a single brand, product brands bring important benefits of specificity and color. Without such brands, companies that do as many things as Google does can find it hard to compete against category specialists. Will the new social functionality of Google Blogs make it a viable competitor against WordPress?

It looks like Google recognizes that a single-branding approach has its limits because, apparently, YouTube is going to stay as-is (and not be renamed Google Videos). Just like some banks are "too big to fail," some brands are too big to be thrown away. What Casey expressed on behalf of Blogger, many more people would express on behalf of YouTube; the risk of consumer backlash outweighs any potential assimilation benefits. (Besides the company already had a Google Video product before and that didn't work out.)

As Ben Kunz pointed out in a recent post, Google has a classic branding challenge. It used to be something very specific (search) but, over the years, it's added more and more things (Gmail, Earth, Chrome, Earth, Talk, Offers .....), all great in their own way, but all doing their bit to cloud what Google is all about. Maybe Google+ will provide the glue that brings sense and meaning back. Or maybe it will become just another point of confusion. 


markdisomma said...

You raise some excellent points here. For me, Google has always been a "find" brand rather than a search brand and to that extent I have been confortable with many of their initiatives. They have helped me find things. The real danger for me in Google+ is that they are straying into new territory and looking to be much more of a "like" brand. If I'm right, then the risk is that they could lose the very essence that has underpinned their diversified offering up until this point. As someone once said about New Coke, "this is either the bravest or the stupidest thing they have ever done". Time will tell I guess whether we end up back at Google Classic. Thanks as always for your thought-provoking observations.

Brand Johnson said...

My guess is that it will only bring confusion. A great name can start the positioning process. Think if Friendster had chosen a better name?? Facebook is a brilliant name that captured the college market but is also a name that translates to the mass market. Picasa is a brand that could have been a solid #2 against Flickr. Neither brand made much money but placing Google on everything is a big mistake. The more money you have the more mistakes you can make...and Google sure has made a lot if them.

risioja said...
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Anonymous said...

"Integrity" is the most important part of brand building. The name 'Google' is the very well known name in this world and any brand, more precisely any successful brand if gets an add on of Google to it, will get more footfall or will stick to the memory.

Flamingo Travel said...

Thanks for your post very much. I will waiting for your next post said...

I consider that in branding and advertising if you will make an important change you have to make it excellent !!! In my opinion google want to group this brands and make a mix, not a bad idea, at the moment google was made great things with the brands, thanks.

louis peter said...

Very good explanation. Interesting to read the post. Thanks for sharing.

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