How Google PR Rolls

It’s no secret that if you toil in the PR departments of Google, Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Twitter, eBay, and a handful of the other big-named brands leading the digital revolution, the struggle to gain media share of mind seems effortless compared to the rest of us working with smaller-branded clients.

In fact, companies like Google and Apple need only create their own multi-media assets and post them on public-facing corporate and social channels to get the word out. Right? We saw this with Steve Jobs’ recent manifesto castigating Adobe Flash and Google’s blog post about its POV relative to China. No real need to court and massage the media filter, unless, of course, things go awry.

Still, there’s something to be said about good old-fashioned media relations, i.e., strategic media interviews, press conferences, theatrics, etc. I suppose a timely tweet from Eric Schmidt or Steve Jobs could set the wheels in full-buzz motion, but if you really want to make media waves, a multi-dimensional (surround-sound) approach may still be mandated.

Yesterday, Google debuted Google Instant in an effort to cut milliseconds off search times from increasingly impatient Google users. To some, the new product may potentially kill SEO. As Wired described the product:

“Google Instant is like the familiar ’suggested search’ type-ahead, but on Javascript steroids: Typing even a single letter will fill the screen with results based on popular queries that begin with just that character.”

What caught my eye, as a PR blogger, was the full court PRess Google deployed to make Google Instant instantly known. First, it should be noted that the company decided to skip the first day after Labor Day for its announcement, while sneaking in ahead of Rosh Hashanah. According to Wired,

“The iconic search site [chose Wednesday to unveil] the new feature on [both] Google.com and to a packed auditorium of tech writers in San Francisco’s Museum of Modern Art.”

The company also created a site devoted exclusively to the search engine enhancement and posted this video featuring Jonathan Effrat, product manager, on it and on Google-owned YouTube.

In addition to the obligatory promo video, a sponsored trend on Twitter, and more, company co-founder Sergey Brin availed himself to post presser media interviews. (Gee, Google Instant must carry great importance for the company!) The event itself was streamed live, opening with some PR housekeeping from Google’s director of corp. comms Gabriel Stricker. (He did a good job.) Google’s Marissa Mayer also got into the post-presser interview act with Bloomberg, TechCrunch and many others, I’m sure.

So here we are the morning after. Was the launch a success? Judging from the search results on Google News, and on Twitter Search, you bet it was.

Could the company have achieved the same kind of send-off without meaningful media engagement? I suspect not. Was the process of media engagement more meaningful given the nature of the news or the name of the company making it? Most definitely the latter. Still, Instant does seem very cool and how can you not like the Bob Dylan demo ad? Apple?

2 Comments

  1. Peter Himler
    September 10, 2010

    Added. Thanks, Nick.

  2. Nick Burcher
    September 10, 2010

    They also used a sponsored trend on Twitter to make sure that the phrase ‘Google Instant’ remained on the Trending Topics list.