Does It Make Sense for Google to Continue to Pursue a Brand on the Societal Edge?

On Monday, November 25, 2013, The online New York Times published an article by Andrew Pollack titled F.D.A. Demands a Halt to a DNA Test Kit’s Marketing. The DNA Test Kit of interest is manufactured and marketed by 23andme, a business operating with the financial backing of Google.

Opting to invest in a product like this one, from 23andme, which is positioned at the edge of the range of products sanctioned by the U.S., as a society, is, to put it kindly, a questionable decision by management. Google is a publicly traded business and, therefore, has a responsibility to its shareholders, one would think, to provide notice to them of any intention to proceed on an investment like backing 23andme, before proceeding on it.

Unfortunately this isn’t the first example of risky product marketing decisions on Google’s part. Google Glass is another. Once again, mainstream media picked up on a recent case where a woman received a speeding ticket, in California, along with another ticket for wearing Google Glass.

One needs to ask if product marketing at Google is aware of how they are branding the business by pursuing these types of products, and, once again, if it’s in the best interest of Google shareholders to proceed in this direction.

From the looks of the initial advertising campaign for the Moto X smart phone (which hasn’t fared too well with the public), it would seem product marketing is aware of the “edgy” brand Google is magnetizing, and may want to keep it that way. The initial campaign, as I wrote about earlier in this blog, was memorable for the models it included who all sported a lot of tattoos.

I’m wondering if Google is interpreting all of this “edginess” as a correct way to pursue the kind of “business as a rebel”, which Steve Jobs used with great success. If they do see a Jobs connection, they should, perhaps, follow his lead and do a better job of very carefully selecting ad agencies and PR firms to spread the word.

Ira Michael Blonder

© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2013 All Rights Reserved

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