Google: Behind the Scenes of Their Brand Strategy

By September 25, 2015Branding

Rarely does the average business person have the opportunity to see how big brands plan around their brand and develop new brand identity elements like logos, graphic marks and type faces. While I’ve played roles in both the strategic development of brands and their marks, and upholding brand standards for large and small organizations, I love learning the stories behind the logos that represent our favorite brands.

This brand story from Google is likely one of the most revealing examples out there. There are many lessons to learn from the brand geniuses at Google, but I want to highlight just a few so you can get right into their story. My hope is that you can bring these thoughtful and strategic intentions to your brand and marketing efforts.

4 Brand Lessons We Can Learn From Google

Know your brand persona

Your brand persona is basically how people would describe your brand if it were a person. Attributes like clever, playful or strong are used to describe your brand presence, voice and language. It’s how you want your audience to feel about you after an exchange with your brand. Your brand persona comes through all that you do from your logo and messaging, to customer service and emails, and marketing content. The more consistent your brand persona through all of these touchpoints, the stronger your brand.

Google hints to their playful brand persona throughout the story, but are very intentional in their strategic brief by including: A refinement of what makes us Googley. Have you defined your brand persona?

Understand your audience…intimately

Just knowing the demographics and some basic psychographic information about your buyers isn’t enough to authentically connect with them in ways that leave them immediately feeling like you were meant just for them. In today’s overwhelming noisy environment, you need to understand how they use your product, in what settings, and with who. Why do they use your product or service? And, most importantly, how do they want to feel when they do? Knowing the emotional goals of your audience allows you to connect and compel on that deeper level.

Volvo knows that their buyers want to feel safe and confident driving with their kids. Disneyland knows that guests want to escape reality and feel like a kid in a magical kindom. Google knows their users want simplicity and usefulness above all else. Think about these brands and the messages you’ve seen from them. Are you connecting like that with your audience?

Be passionately consistent with your brand

There’s a reason that every major brand has a document called a Brand Styleguide. The styleguide outlines specifics to the brand marks and their use with the purpose of having a consistent brand presence across the globe and every touch point. Think about large brands like Nike or Apple. Without this consistency, every region, division and website could potentially have different iterations of their logos. When you’re considering a name-brand purse or pair of sunglasses in a foreign outdoor market, one of the first things you do is look at the logo – is it consistent with how you’re familiar with it? Is it what you expect?

Having consistency in your brand voice, messaging and mark use is important to protect your brand value, but it also provides your audience a better experience. They know what to expect when they see your logo.

Connect your product or service with your brand name and marks

If there’s an element of your product or service naturally woven into your brand name or logo, your audience is more likely to remember what it is you do, offer or promise. Brand recall is incredibly important, especially for emerging brands or those in crowded categories. Let’s look at a few examples.

Amazon Logo

Amazon’s logo playfully makes you feel happy when you think of buying anything, from A to Z, in their marketplace.

Google Search Results Logo

Google is a spin on the word googol, which is a mathematical term that represents the original mission to organize a seemingly infinite amount of information on the web. Their logo at the bottom of search engine result pages incorporates this as well.


Baskin Robbins always carries 31 flavors. See it in their logo? They must want us to remember that.

Developing a strong brand story for a new business or startup may seem like an overwhelming concept, but it’s and incredibly important early step towards success. Start with defining how you want people to think of you and design from there. Working with a team that includes a brand strategist and a brand identity designer is valuable, no matter how small you are today.

Now, go read the story of Google’s evolving identity.