Great brands that offer a terrific service build up brownie points or a reservoir of goodwill with their customers.
For me, Google is a great brand that offers a range of brilliant services. As a web user, Google Search is outstanding and typically 8 times out of 10 enables me to instantly get a great match for my search. It's Pay Per Click advertising Adwords service is probably the best marketing initiative in the last 50 years and enables smaller companies to compete against big brands in a way that just isn't possible using other advertising channels.
So for many people around the world, Google have earned loads of brownie points.
Even the best brands can have occasional problems: some big, some small. In Google's case, some saw its 'restricted / censored' service in China as a conflict with its 'universally accessible and useful...' mission statement.
This week, the BBC reported that Google's new social marketing Buzz service has received some negative feedback. The service is integrated with its Gmail service to enable users to share content, read and comment on friends' posts and post status updates. The service was designed to quickly build a network based on the people most frequently e-mailed. However, Google admitted that they failed to effectively communicate that if users did not change the default setting, their network would be made public allowing anyone to see their frequent contacts. Understandably, this potential breach in privacy has resulted in Google receiving negative feedback.
These negative issues are likely to result in a drop in Brownie points. For ardent Google fans like me, who have a large Google goodwill reservoir, the relationship is shaken but remains strong. How could such a smart company done something so stupid?
For others with a much smaller stock of Google brownie points, this could be the end of their relationship with Google. Even worse, some may become a brand terrorist and actively campaign to damage Google's reputation.
What reservoir of goodwill has your brand built up? Is it as high as it could be to help withstand a potential future problem? Or is it so weak that the brand will not survive even a relatively small problem?
We can all learn from Google's mistakes as well as its successes.
Remember...web marketing is about solving customers' problems profitably.
Published 18th February, 2010
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