Google’s recent rebranding to become an umbrella company under the name Alphabet is more than just a marketing exercise. It is a move to free up its conglomerate ideas and push the company into an era where any segment can be entered. For business transfer agents, it could certainly mean that Google is a player across more areas and can pursue some products more aggressively than before.
Renaming its parent company as Alphabet is basically a move for Google to consolidate all of its huge range of activities into a new structure, without diluting the powerful Google brand. With the world’s Internet user base breaching 2.5 billion in 2014, the reach of the web is creating channels into new markets that digital giants such as Google want to build a legacy. The name Google remains largely associated with the search engine, email and its various Internet spin-offs, but as the company moves into robotics, self-driving cars, smart-home appliances and other diverse segments the Google brand is not necessarily a good fit for these products.
For example, a self-driving car called Google would not really appeal to lovers of muscle cars or luxury vehicles due to the soft sounding brand, and would a homeowner trust a smoke detector or a security system under the Google brand? They would probably want something that sounds more secure and alert.
Renaming itself as Alphabet allows Google to create numerous spin-off brand names of which Google would just be one of the more well-known ones. In essence, the move is a sign of Google acknowledging itself as a huge corporation with a large portfolio of interests. This strategy allows the company to create lots of mini-brands to servce its diversified interests, which would enable a wide-scale acquisitions strategy in segments where the Google brand would be seen as out of place previously. Perhaps medical technologies, FinTech or even military systems.
The Google re-brand is a sign of a new technological era of the Digital Conglomerates. These are companies that have expanded their reach beyond the Internet and consumer-focused technology devices. As most products are becoming digitalised, companies such as Apple, Amazon and Google are planning for a new future, where interconnectivity is key.
Yet in order for this to succeed, such companies must move beyond their brand footprint and be taken seriously as innovators in other fields. For example, Amazon is almost exclusively associated with e-commerce, but the company has made impressive transitions into areas such as cloud computing and music. In order to strengthen its presence in those segments, it will ultimately have to dissociate its original brand and create a singular entity that is recognised specifically with that service.
A similar future awaits Apple. The company is also rapidly spreading its tentacles in different areas, such as cars, where rebranding would certainly strengthen its position. Would consumers embrace an Apple-branded car as opposed to a tried and tested Mercedes, for example? More rebrandings of Silicon Valley majors are likely to be followed by more aggressive purchases in the near future.
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