The only constant about marketing is that it’s ever changing. It seems like every day there’s a new trend, a new platform, or a new cultural context to consider. And it’s the job of marketers to be there through it all: to be helpful, to be additive, and to provide value.
A decade ago we introduced Think with Google. Its mission was, and is, to be a resource that connects the industry and helps marketers make sense of shifting consumer behaviours, so we can all learn from one another. I have shared my own thoughts on the value of creativity and Google’s inclusive marketing journey. I’ve gleaned valuable insights about why people love watching “with me” videos on YouTube and gained inspiration from reading perspectives from contributors like British Vogue’s editor-in-chief on the need for brands to have more diverse voices.
For any brand, it’s often the defining moments that ensure a lasting brand in an ever-changing world.
For all brands there are defining moments, ones that are well documented in the media and smaller ones that become internal lore. As I think back on what’s guided me in the past decade and what will guide our teams into the next, it is these moments that loom large.
To mark 10 years of Think with Google, I’ve chosen a few of these stories to share with the hope that they’ll inspire you and your teams. After all, for any brand, it’s often the defining moments that ensure a lasting brand in an ever-changing world.
Leading with insights: Launching Chrome
As a marketing team, this was our first big chance to prove our value in an engineering-led company. Bringing a browser to the public was a new challenge for us all in 2008. We started where we always do: digging into the data and insights. We knew people cared about privacy, simplicity, and speed, so we built a holistic campaign to show how Chrome was changing the game in those areas. We even created a Chrome-focused comic book to explain why browsers matter. And people responded by switching their browsers. The lessons learned from that campaign are a through line in all of our creative. Our “There’s No Place Like Chrome” campaign today tells a similar story of privacy, simplicity, and speed across new mediums. It’s a different take, but the building blocks remain the same.
Storytelling that resonates: Our first Super Bowl spot
Back in 2010, we were experimenting with how to tell the story of our brand and the power of technology. The result was “Parisian Love,” a love story told through the lens of our products. It struck such a chord with the team — so much so that we decided to share it with the world. It ended up being our first Super Bowl spot and will forever hold a special place in my heart.
Our first Super Bowl ad set the stage for more human storytelling through the years.
This ad set the stage for more human storytelling through the years, including “Dear Sophie” for Chrome and our COVID-19 vaccine campaign “Get Back to What You Love.” “Parisian Love” also paved the way for our most recent Super Bowl spot, “Seen On Pixel,” which spotlights Real Tone, Google’s yearslong effort to ensure all our camera and imaging products accurately represent all skin tones.
Balancing art and science: Refreshing the Google logo
It’s never easy to change a logo. But back in 2015, we decided it was time to do just that. Refreshing the iconic and much-loved Google logo was a daunting challenge. But the logo was arguably dated, our company was evolving, and our branding needed to reflect a world that was shifting to become mobile-first.
Sometimes you must trust your gut on what will be the best final decision.
There were many late nights staring at screens, punctuated with hundreds of logo designs, and agonizing over which one felt most true to us. The Google logo has always had a simple, friendly, and approachable style. We wanted to keep these qualities while bringing the design into a modern world. But we kept the rotated “e” of our previous mark, a reminder that we’ll always be a bit unconventional. Ultimately, the logo you see today not only represents the Google you know and love, it also makes Google more accessible wherever our users may encounter us. The biggest lesson from this process? Even though this refresh was grounded in lots of data and testing, sometimes you must trust your gut on what will be the best final decision.
Walking the talk: Digging deep on DEI
A few years ago we decided to measure how inclusive our work really was. Our journey began as the Geena Davis Institute helped us look at gender representation in our YouTube ads using machine learning. We realized we could do better, so we went on to audit over 30,000 pieces of creative across a number of dimensions to understand how we could improve.
We partnered with GLAAD and AdColor to help us develop inclusive marketing principles. We’ve also become more intentional about where we spend our media dollars to reach diverse audiences. These changes were monumental for us, and we set out to share our learnings with the rest of the industry via our All In Inclusive Marketing Toolkit.
Illuminating the path forward
The past 10 years have included immense change with highs and lows; the next 10 will be no different. And I am glad Think with Google is here to narrate the journey. As I reflect on our team’s defining moments, I can only hope we continue to embrace a spirit of experimentation while staying true to who we are and who we’ve always been.