We all love them, well at least that’s the insight I get from all the online polls I’ve seen, and the quick one I ran earlier this week. Officially known as Google Doodles, they are those modified Google logos that appear out of nowhere to celebrate a person, achievement, or holiday. Everyone seems to be excited when a new Doodle pops up; some even stop by my office and ask, “hey did you see Google today?” But my question is “what is Google trying to tell us?”
To figure out what Google was trying to communicate with these modified logos, I went right to the source. I contacted the Google Doodle Department, and they got back to me – the next business day! In short, Doodles are trying to do two things:
1. Celebrate innovation. This is clear in their response:
“The doodles aim to celebrate interesting events and anniversaries around the world that reflect Google’s personality and love of innovation.”
The importance of innovation is something that comes through anytime I speak with somebody from Google, receive an email, or attend a Google presentation. They firmly believe that innovation and excellence is what keeps them as “King of search”. By celebrating people and achievements like Andy Warhol, Albert Einstein, Leonardo da Vinci, NASA finding water on the moon, 100th Anniversary of Flight, 50th Anniversary of Understanding DNA, and so on, they are aligning themselves with some of history’s most notorious innovators, essentially inserting themselves into the innovation narrative. Clever.
2. Establish and grow an emotional connection with their users. This wasn’t quite as obvious in the responses from Google, but it was a pretty easy conclusion to draw. Many of the responses to my questions included phrases like “[doodles are] one of the most beloved parts of Google,” “We’ve been coming out with more doodles simply because we want to have more fun,” “giving our users something enjoyable when they come to our homepage,” “People seem to really look forward to going to our homepage and seeing what new doodle is on there,” etc. - driving home the emotion of happiness.
Who wouldn’t want to use the search engine that makes them feel happy? This is a real branding accomplishment. Google has been able to emotionally brand their service, with help from the Doodles. Most organizations would rather die before modifying their logos (“we have graphic standards, you know!”), but Google embraces it and uses the opportunity to grow this emotional connection. Well done.
What’s your favourite Doodle?
Here are a few that top my list:
And of course:
More information on Doodles, and a complete archive, can be found at: http://www.google.com/logos/