Should Google Tamper With its Brand for the Olympics?

[tweetmeme]Have you noticed – how could you miss it – that the familiar Google logo is nowhere to be seen on the search engine’s landing page?  Instead, a soft green Google logo, with a sports figure matching the day’s events at the Winter Olympics, has replaced the colorful one that about a billion searchers see each day.

If you’re a sports fan, you may love it.  But a lot of people actually hate it (OK, maybe my friend is not representative of the universe).  They want the familiar Google.  And, remember, not everyone is a sports fan.

But there is a larger issue here:  should a company tamper with its brand identity when it is the category leader?  That’s putting it mildly for Google.  Yet, we’ve seen damage inflicted on companies that tied their brand to a celebrity and/or a particular sport when things turned sour (read Accenture and Tiger Woods).

On the other hand, the Olympics generate a tremendous amount of excitement and pride in the athletes and their countries.  That can provide a “halo” effect for a company like Google.

So, what do you think?

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  1. They are messing with their logo, not the qualities or real characteristics of Google and part of that identity has been to do such this since the day they launched.

    Visual brand is only a part of the whole and in Google’s case, what they are doing here, they do just about every other week.

    I suggest if someone hates it, they possibly need to spend less time on Google and/or get out more often.

  2. I think the revolving Google masthead has become part of its brand. I can’t imagine how much brand value Sesame Street must have gotten the week of its 40th anniversary when Google featured a different character every day. It must be equal or beyond the value of a Super Bowl commercial. In this culture of information overload and diversity, it’s so rare that millions or even billions of people see the same image every day. Whatever artwork Google is using on any given day has the power to bring people together like the Olympics do every few years.

  3. I’m with Amy….the revolving Google masthead has definitely become part of the “Google Brand” and that’s what keeps it fresh, innovative and exciting. And makes it fun to have Google as my homepage.

    Karl’s right, too…the search engine itself hasn’t changed, just it’s visual appearance and I for one, like that 🙂