Google worked with their agency GOOD/CORPS to create a series of videos that promote small business. Not unlike the American Express Plum campaign, the idea is to showcase how Google properties enhance a small business and allow it to contribute to the economy.
The challenge, and where the campaign seemingly differs from the American Express campaign and specifically the one with Pink Berry, is do all the partners in the campaign stand united? Their desires and goals seem disparate.
GOOD/CORPS: We want to highlight how Google helps the economy
GOOD/CORPS aims to “Help Brands Align Their Business Strategy With Positive Social Impact“ and has worked with Toyota Prius and Starbucks toward this goal. Many agencies are trying to determine the right ways to help brands reach their audience, create community, build social impact, and profit from that engagement. It’s yet to be seen if any agency can concurrently accomplish all these lofty goals.
The campaign goal was to share how Google has helped propel small businesses to succeed which in turn is helping the economy. A great story and certainly you can see how Google helped King Arthur Flour, but I am not sure I see the larger economic impact here. If that’s the story, it was lost on me in the videos.
King Arthur Flour: We want to show how we connect through baking
The Google King Arthur content is beautifully shot and I love the story of this 220-year-old startup. In areas, the video fuzes Google properties with the story well and in other areas it seems a bit heavy-handed. The Google graphics work well when King Arthur Flour employees on screen are talking about what is being shown, like connecting with customers, or when showing an image search, but feel out of place when a Google image of a lava cake recipe is juxtaposed against an employee talking about building websites.
Connecting baking and people is a great message and Google helps King Arthur Flour do that through search, analytics, and adwords, but it’s not that unique to King Arthur Flour. What business have those tools not helped? How did Google help where Bing or Crazy Egg couldn’t? This is where the content would come together better – how was the unique value of King Arthur Flour enhanced by the unique value of Google?
Unruly Media: We want eyeballs, at any expense
Unruly Media is the company charged with promoting the videos online and there is controversy about their approach. Apparently Unruly Media paid bloggers to embed and promote the video on their platforms. There are so many authentic ways to distribute content, even through paid advertising, that would authentically connect the audience with the brands featured in order to build loyalty and drive revenue.
If the goal was about supporting small business, did Unruly reach out to the SBA to see if they would want to use this video series as a way to promote and encourage entrepreneurship? And what about running the series on the Technology section of Entrepreneur.com with a corresponding blog post written once a month by Google about how their tools promote small business growth. It seems a hollow approach to simply depend on bloggers to promote the series, even if done without financial incentive. If Google supports small business – support it with local events, content where small business owners research, and partnerships with organizations that support small business – in an authentic manner.
Maybe the formula, or in this case, the recipe for success with many partners is still unknown. However, Unruly Media did something right, as just 2 days after the Google promotional plan flub, Unruly Media received $25M in funding.