Engage the Google Way - what brands can learn from Google
When you think of doing a video conference for work or personal reasons, you have plenty of applications available on the internet. Some of the names that often resonates with online users are Skype, FaceTime, Tango and the ocean of paid webcast tools available for corporate users. Of course, each one of them have their strengths and weaknesses. Once popular Skype no longer enjoys the popularity it once did and FaceTime is quite popular among iPhone and iPad users but then both parties have to have Apple devices to use it.
All these video conferencing applications may be popular with their respective demographic users but none of them has a wide reach and active engagement as Google’s video conferencing application - Hangout has. More importantly, in an important market like India and APAC in general, Google+ Hangout has penetrated every length and breadth of the region.
What makes Google+ Hangout different?
It is not just another perfectly executed and well-engineered product that is superior to others. It is not even fully evolved and as some bloggers like to call it - a product in its later nascent stage. What makes it different is Google+ Hangout’s extensive reach into the important events and experiences of people. It actively taps and partners with regional affairs that are of importance to the local population. This not only helps it guage and engage users but helps it to understand what ticks with the local demographics, which it then leverages to refine its product better and make engagement innovative.
For couple of years, Google has extensively pushed its Google+ Hangout in India. It has attracted numerous eminent personalities from across the spectrum to use Hangout video sessions to connect with the masses. It has attracted key figures from politics, corporations, entertainment industry to sports. It has also demonstrated successfully that a marriage between technology and engagement strategies can help brands rocket their sales. Let’s look at some of the ways that Google has taken experiential engagement to the next level, which brands can learn from.
Asia’s First Shoppable Hangout
Google came up with one of its kind and ingenious shopping experience for the fans of Bollywood actor Hrithik Roshan. It was a first in APAC. It tied up with the online retailer Myntra to conduct a shoppable hangout session where users could interact with Hrithik Roshan while they could buy products from the Myntra store. While they hang out with Hrithik, they could buy his newly launched ‘HRX’ casual wear products simultaneously. Such initiatives help a brand like Google to not just gain visibility but gets to make space in the memory of consumers who would always remember Google each time they recollect their rendezvous with their favourite star.
India’s First Ever Virtual Wedding Show
Google partnered with NDTVgoodtimes and indianroots.com to take part in India’s first ever virtual wedding show on Google+ Hangout. As the name suggests, the shows allows any bride-to-be to plan her big wedding with some of the most prominent designers and connoisseurs in India including Rohit Bal, Sabysachi, Anita Dongre etc. Since it is virtual, anybody can be part of the wedding from anywhere in the world. The participants who take part in the show also get to chat with these fashion experts and designers. In this way, bride-to-be’s and participants get to ask questions from experts who would be otherwise difficult to reach. These kinds of engagements with a brand that becomes part of a person’s important events in life leaves a lasting impression of the brand on that person.
Google+ Hangout integration with IPL Matches
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Google enabled viewers to watch 2013 Indian Premier League (IPL) matches live on YouTube by integrating Google+ Hangout with it. The Hangout sessions also had top cricketing stars come and participate to provide analysis on important cricketing dates. This gave a cricket-frenzy fans of India to interact and engage with cricket stars with an elevated excitement, which is like an additional emotional bonus to already cricket-loving fans.
Google+ Hangout and Politicians
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What could have been a more important event in 2014 for India than the general election when whopping 800+ million voters were eligible to vote and it was touted as the largest election ever in terms of size. Google jumped to the occassion and Google+ Hangout sessions were held with many eminent politicians across the country. The most prominent hangout session was held with the current Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi. It was one of the most attended session virtually. Similarly, around the time of Indian budget a year earlier, then Finance Minister, P. Chidambaram held a Google+ Hangout session with the masses answering questions and interacting.
So what all can brands learn from Google+ Hangout?
It is not always just a great product that matters the most to consumers. It is also not just about making sure that products reach the masses. What’s increasingly becoming important today is a brand’s ability to connect with consumers. The ability of brands to engage with consumers is not just single dimensional but multidimensional. There are various touch points of consumers, if a brand recognizes these touch points and creates engagement that not just gives one reason to use its product but associate experiences, which the users reckon with, then the brand will remain relevant and continue to innovate and grow.
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