When Google poached former L’Oréal CMO Marc Speichert last month, the advertising world wondered about the search giant’s evolving branding goals.
Over the last few years, many of Google’s recruits came from brands. It’s likely not a coincidence that Google is advertising itself in more traditional forums. It’s running a campaign that places its YouTube stars (and, by extension, its YouTube product) on billboards and subway posters. It also runs television advertising and purchased a Super Bowl spot.
But why now? Mark Singer, a principal at Deloitte, said this broad branding goes beyond Google promoting its suite of advertising technologies.
“I would speculate that Google’s focus is less about programmatic advertising and more about how Google can become the platform of choice,” he said, pointing out the influx of wearable technology and the phenomenon known as the Internet of Things (in which formerly unconnected household devices like refrigerators are being sold with Internet connectivity) might be influencing Google’s go-to-market decisions. “This is more about driving customer adoption of hardware and devices and consumables than it is about driving programmatic advertising, or even driving its brand.”
Branding – the discipline familiar to many of Google’s recent hires – is becoming more important to the tech giant as it develops consumer products (like Nest, Glass and self-driving cars). But Singer wondered whether Google is dumping too many eggs into the branding basket.
“Google did Super Bowl advertising the year before last,” he said. “The question is, did they really ever need to? What is broad-reach advertising doing for them? They’re expanding their marketing capabilities, but they already have such good below the line, one-to-one engagement. How are they going to use any above-the-line advertising?”
The following is an overview of Google’s recent hires from brands:
Date hired: May; has yet to begin at Google
Reports to: Kirk Perry
Upcoming position: Will join the global client and agency solutions team
Upcoming responsibilities: To help Google court new advertising partners, according to Re/code.
Former position: Global CMO Leader, L'Oreal Group
Prior job responsibilities: Perry, according to his LinkedIn profile, oversaw marketing and consumer insights for L'Oreal globally, managed digital investment and innovation, digital I, marketing services procurement and business development.
Date hired: October
Reports to: Michael Bailey
Current position: North America digital media and strategy lead
Current responsibilities: While Singer believes Google's hires, in general, aren't meant to bolster programmatic specifically, Arnold coming on board might be the exception. Per his LinkedIn profile, Arnold is developing programmatic buying, advanced digital media measurement and digital agency management. He's also driving the digital marketing strategy for all of Google’s products.
Former position: Director for digital and social media strategy at Kellogg
Former job responsibilities: Led Kellogg’s digital marketing and social media practice. At Procter & Gamble, he was responsible for the global digital strategy across the home care, feminine care and oral care business units, according to his LinkedIn profile.
Date hired: December
Reports to: Chief Business Officer Nikesh Arora
Current position: President of brand solutions
Current responsibilities: Google wants Perry to hit up Madison Avenue for more brand advertising dollars, according to Ad Age.
Former position: President of global family care at Procter & Gamble
Former job responsibilities: Perry, according to his LinkedIn profile, led a unit for P&G that included brands such as Puffs, Bounty and Charmin. Previously, he was VP of marketing for P&G's North American operations and, prior to that, ran the company’s North American baby care business.
Date hired: September 2011
Reports to: Lorraine Twohill, Google's global head of marketing
Current position: Senior marketing manager for digital media
Current responsibilities: Bailey, per his LinkedIn profile, manages a digital media team to that works across all Google products and implements digital advertising best practices across display, search, mobile and video.
Former position: SVP at Bank of America
Former job responsibilities: Bailey's LinkedIn profile states he led digital advertising for Bank of America, focusing on digital media, search management and creative best practices. He was also the primary contact for the bank's digital agencies.
Date hired: June 2011 (originally as VP for sales & industry marketing at YouTube)
Reports to: VP of Global Sales and Operations Philipp Schindler
Current position: VP, global brand solutions and innovations
Current responsibilities: Watson helps bring in the brand advertiser dollars. He works to increase Google's revenue from its global brand-building activities and helps build the company's strategy around products designed for global brand advertising, according to his LinkedIn profile. He also shapes Google's commercial strategy in order to attract brand advertisers.
Former position: Global marketing director for digital business strategy, ecommerce and branded entertainment at P&G
Former job responsibilities: Watson worked in digital marketing at P&G, helping to execute the company's video campaigns, according to his LinkedIn profile.
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