Think Insights, the newest Google initiative, may not be what users expect. Once a website dedicated to the best digital innovations, Think Insights is now a portal committed to providing small business marketers and advertisers with the real-time information necessary for successful creative execution. Along with being a natural promoter for Google’s products, the site hopes to become each business’s branding, marketing and digital partner.
Think Insights, analogous to an online magazine, offers a variety of content from interviews and research studies to eBooks and infographics. Currently, you can either visit the webpage regularly or subscribe to Think Letter, the monthly digest of all weekly updates. Spanning multiple industries, the menu options allow you to discover information by industry sector, marketing objective and ad type; alongside these research quarters, there are also sections devoted to leading perspectives, brand creativity and imperative products and tools. Ultimately, Google wishes to make the web work for you and, by you, they now mean businesses. On Google’s official blog, Think Insights was introduced by Lisa Gevelber, Head of Global Ads Marketing, as a way to
Do it all—stay up-to-date on the latest in digital marketing, arm yourself with data to support your business cases and create inspiring campaigns.
At a time when discussion overflows with opinions regarding digital innovations and how to utilize them best, when theories on brand loyalty and consumer management saturate the industry, Google realized its potential. Above all the noise, Google’s resources (including its experts, data and products) might allow it to become the loudest voice. But even though the giant is able to stand out amidst the clutter, critics will question whether it is standing out because of its informative benefits or simply because of its identity. At the end of the day, enlightenment stems from an awareness of multiple opinions and Google (symbolized by unity among all employees) might become associated with singularity and, therefore, unreliability.
Furthermore, there is an obvious push towards Google’s products in this initiative as much as there was in others. The two most recent examples are Art, Copy & Code, which promoted Google+, and Google’s 2013 Science Fair, which prompted Search and Scholar usage. Once more, this may provoke users into believing that Google’s actions are driven by numerical goals rather than corporate responsibility or community.
On the other hand, Think Insights signifies Google’s shift in strategy. For a long time, the company was branded as one serving users—and only them—while its dependence on advertising dollars was never attached to the company’s image. With Think Insights, Google is stepping out and showcasing its ability to cater to businesses as well as it does to consumers. I wonder how this will alter the public’s opinion of the company and whether the brand will seem less personable once it fully reveals its underlying framework.
Lastly, there is a certain haughtiness attached to the Google lingo and Think Insights is not immune to this. The slogan for the project, based on its Google+ page, seems to be “Think with Google”. When you combine this with Google Glasses helping users see, critics will begin to wonder if people can do anything without the assistance of Google or if the world has come to revolve around the brand. Ultimately, the brand’s own strategy regarding conversation with users and public relations will decide whether this becomes a majority opinion or solely skepticism.