It won’t be an exaggeration to say that Google is the world’s biggest brand when it comes to search engines. And one of the oldest, too. It’s a multinational company with a wide range of activities, including some offline activities. Jan Gemrich tells ‘Live Communication Magazine’ about the purpose of offline events for Google and how the company's marketing department works.
About Google’s approach
What’s the main purpose of Google offline events?
Each of our events has a specific goal. It can be a branding goal, awareness goal, acquisition goal or something else, so it differs a lot. The only thing that is true for all of them is that they have a clear goal.
What is the main principle when choosing partners for events?
We work with various agencies. Sometimes we have international agencies which we work with globally, sometimes we have agencies which we work with on content for North America and Canada, and sometimes Mexico. But then when it comes to actually executing events we usually work with local agencies. We choose a normal agency from the individual country. Maybe some graphic elements would be done on a bigger level, but when we actually execute and prepare, there’s a local agency because we rely on their knowledge of the local market.
Pretty much like any multinational company?
Yes, but we, maybe more than other companies, try to use local suppliers because of their knowledge of the local market. If I have to do an event in Moscow, I would try to find a Russian agency who knows Moscow best.
We do tenders when it comes to bigger events, but it really depends. We try to be perfectionists when it comes to our events so we want an agency that is able to work on that sort of level. And we usually try to stick with the agency for a long time. Here in Canada - I don't know about other countries - we do tenders for each individual event. We study suppliers very carefully and we try to stick with them, because they are also learning how to work with Google.
When a company loses a tender, what feedback do you give them?
Actually tenders are quite a rare thing in Google, as we like to choose our partners carefully and work with them over an extended period of time, not just one-off executions. That being said we are always very open when it comes to our feedback.
How can an agency get in your partners’ pool?
The easiest way would be to find somebody in through local Google Office and invite to participate in tender.
We don’t have any official submission form where you can say ‘I wanna be an official supplier’. It’s about proactivity, be proactive and reach out to us.
The choice can also be based on recommendations. The other way to find somebody is to place an official submission. So, show us that you can do amazing work, because we very often look at the previous work to see if the work standards of a company match our expectations.
About marketing and management
What’s the structure of the Google marketing office?
Basically Google has a small marketing department, there are very few of us. I’m not sure about the exact number of people, but it’s small, looking at the size of the company. Google will be celebrating 18 or 19 years this year… Marketing is 10 years old, so it definitely hasn't existed from the beginning. I personally work in the consumer direction, I take care of several products for the Canadian market: Search, Nexus, and Android.
What kind of events?
All sorts of events. Basically our marketing is split into two major parts, Consumer and Business. Business events are focused on advertisers or on agencies. Those kind of events try to introduce them to new concepts, inspire them, tell them what they can do in the market.
Consumer events are, as the name implies, for any internet user.
Are all of them broadcast/available for free download?
Some events we broadcast, some we don’t. It depends on what the event is supposed to achieve, whether the content is appealing to the general public or we just want to keep it in the room. From the technical perspective it’s quite simple: we usually use an agency that comes on site and sets up everything. If the Youtube broadcast requires some specific spec sheets or manuals that basically anyone can download, then anyone can do that if they have the right equipment. The big advantage of Youtube is that once the livestream is finished you have the recording, so if you’re late for the broadcast you can watch it later.
What is the most vivid recent example of a ‘consumer event case’?
What we did here in Canada was an event called Youtube Fanfest. The show introduced Youtube stars – bloggers, or creators, as we call them – to their fans. (‘Youtube creator’ is anyone who creates content; maybe they don’t do blogs any more, they do music videos, so it is definitely much broader than just blogging: they make music, funny shows, they are trying to teach you something - do-it-yourself, make-up etc.) You didn’t have to buy ticket, it was free, which resulted in basically 12,000 people coming to the main square in Toronto! It was very interesting for us to see that Youtube has the power to bring thousands of people to the street, when most people think of it as purely online entertainment, where people just watch videos… So at the event the individual influence of Youtube creators/bloggers became obvious.