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Tuesday, December 30

Image Vs. Algorithm

I was there at the Mandrem beach in North Goa sipping Caipirinha a fortnight back. There was a debate with a friend about the origins of the cocktail Caipirinha. She fished out the blackberry, got to Google and that settled the debate.

On a languid summer afternoon near the warm beach, search was still as effective!! Later that week, I dwelled upon a little more on search and its growing impact on the business of brands!

Born Sep 15, 1997, the day google.com was registered; Google is still an 11 year old. But the new kid on the block is changing the brandscape like no other tech development in the new millennium.

Thanks to search, the consumers today can easily peep behind the image and the make-believe fa├žade of brands. Search can pull the cover off a million dollar marketing hype, the hidden brand agendas and uncover the real truth behind carefully orchestrated celebrity brand endorsements.

And so what if the consumers can’t recall the brand name(aided or otherwise), some of them increasingly say – “we can search what we want, why then do brands keep repeating the same old story?”

Is 'Brand Image'(as we have known) finally giving way to the power of the Search algorithm??

A creation of the packaged goods and advertising industries, “brand image” was pre-supposed to be a key ingredient and driver of purchase intent across many categories.

But in reality many people paid/ still pay more for things because they don't know better. A lot of brand behaviour is driven by habit, lack of sufficient information and sheer inertia which may be wrongly attributed or labeled as brand loyalty!

In contrast, the Google page rank algorithm, the by-product of the quest of the "perfect search engine," defined by co-founder Larry Page as something that, "understands exactly what you mean and gives you back exactly what you want" democratises the brand world. And under a second provides access to information around not just the brand but a whole list of related keywords.

Do a Google on Tata Sky and you get not just the official web-site, but all the new DTH packages, a comparison between Tata Sky, Dish TV and Big TV, the Wikipedia entry on Tata Sky, how to order Tata Sky online at sify.com, discussion forums on indiabroadband.net and mouthshut.com, a Business Standard entry on the DTH industry losses in 2008-09. And we are still on page 1. One can troll 3.23 million entries for Tata Sky in under 0.05 seconds!!

A consumer can start his search at Tata Sky or DTH and end up ordering Big TV. Almost always, a bit wiser, a lot informed and without ever having to remember any ad, the tagline or the TVC.

If you have related thoughts on how search is altering brands and our buying habits, do ping!! Happy New Year...


Jigar said...

happy new yr sir! I do drop by once in a while to read ur blog...always leave a lil wiser, a lil fresher.

Totally agree with your pov. A case in point is me searching for a nokia and ended up buying a sony ericson.

Just a thought. Imagine the number of brands (like the various encyclopedia, dictionaries, and many others) that the eleven year old has murdered so far! Can u think of more?

Manish said...

not just encycopedia, dictionaries but maps, puzzles, even newspapers for some, also human expertise and experience...

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