In 2015, Google went under a restructuring process that gave life to Alphabet, the parent company that holds Google and other subsidiaries. Just a few days after Google took control of the company, it has acquired the domain name abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz.com. That sounds weird, doesn’t it? Can you imagine yourself typing this domain name into your browser? What if you want to recommend someone to visit this site? Yes, that person lost you at the fourth letter of the alphabet. Here we come to another revolutionary idea by Google. The company decided to use the domain name ABC.xyz for its Alphabet website.
“We realized we missed a few letters in abc.xyz, so we’re just being thorough,” an Alphabet spokesman told the Wall Street Journal.
So they had no other choice. The exact brand match domain name Alphabet.com is already owned by the BMW Group, while ABC owns ABC.com. It seems that they are not fans of the exact brand match domains (I would rather say that they decided to go with brand names that are already occupied by big brands – so choose another name or settle for the average? Oh, well.) Anyway, that’s what aroused our curiosity! We’ve decided to take a look at the brand identity of some of the companies that are part of Alphabet. What are their domains? How dedicated are they to creating a brand identity? What about their social media handles? Buckle up: we’re ready for take-off.
Calico is a research and development biotech company focused on developing solutions for health and longevity.
While the company does not own an EBM domain name, it does have a TLD (.com), and a short name, easy to remember.
From a marketing perspective, there are some brand inconsistencies reflected in the social media presence. Calico only has two social media profiles, Twitter, and Linkedin. On Twitter, they are just Calico, while on LinkedIn, they are Calico Life Sciences. While this might seem like a small issue, these differences could potentially hurt the brand in terms of customer recognition, credibility, and trust.
Visual identity: Across its website and social platforms (Linkedin and Twitter) Calico uses the same visual elements to create distinctive and recognizable imagery. The brand uses green, a color that is usually associated with nature, prosperity, and health.
CapitalG is a private equity firm that provides capital investment to private companies in the technology sector to accelerate their growth and overall businesses and obtain profits from such investments.
CapitalG domain is CapitalG.com, an EBM domain name also used in their LinkedIn and Medium accounts, while their Twitter handle is slightly different. Interestingly enough, the social media presence of CapitalG is rather shy and low-key.
Visual identity: CapitalG’s visual identity is perfectly harmonic across all its platforms, with unified visual elements, and a brand voice consistent in tone and attitude.
DeepMind is an artificial intelligence company devoted to research and develops innovation in machine learning, engineering, and problem-solving systems.
Visual identity: Regarding its visual identity, DeepMind is consistent across all its platforms, and its brand voice highly identifiable. It uses blue, a color that embodies trust and strength, commonly used among technology companies.
Google Fiber is a company that provides Internet and IPTV services in a small number of locations in the USA.
Google Fiber domain is Fiber.google.com, which is a subdomain from Google. The benefits of using a subdomain for Fiber are essentially the recognition, awareness, and reputation provided by the Google brand. The downsides? Well, you won’t find them on fiber.com and the owners of that are in luck with free traffic 🙂
Visual identity: Because Fiber uses the Google name as a prefix, all of the brand’s elements, from the visual identity, to the tone and voice, are the same used by the Google brand.
GV, formerly known as Google Ventures, is a venture capital investment company providing funding to technology startups.
GV domain is GV.com, an EBM domain with a .com extension, which brings not only authority but also a bigger chance to improve the brand’s positioning and awareness. In its social media presence, GV has a flavor for each platform, on Facebook using its old GoogleVentures handle, on Twitter going for the GVTeam user, and on LinkedIn, sticking to its GV initials.
Visual identity: GV uses the same visual elements and brand voice across all its social platforms.
Loon, another subsidiary of Alphabet, is focused on providing internet in rural and remote areas.
Loon’s domain is Loon.com, again, an EBM domain that provides the brand with authority, a greater reach, and credibility. While Loon was able to get hold of the Exact Brand Name for its website, its social platforms were not that lucky. Using a variation of the user loonforall/loon4all, the company has a presence on Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
Visual identity: Featuring a sleek design with visual elements easily recognizable, Loon has a very characteristic voicethat conveys innovation,problem-solving, andknowledge.
Update: Alphabet is shutting down Loon saying it couldn’t cut costs deep enough to make it commercially viable.
Sidewalks Labs develops technology designed to improve urban infrastructure. It has several business units, each one dedicated to creating and developing solutions in areas like safety, health, power, and smart infrastructure.
No surprises here, the domain of the company is SideWalkLabs.com, an EBM name with a top-level domain extension. In terms of social media presence, Sidewalk Labs retained its EBM both on Twitter and Facebook; it has a Medium blog named Sidewalk Talk, and a YouTube channel with no vanity URL, which seems to be a bit strange, considering that it is, after all, a member of the Google family.
Visual identity: As part of its palette, Sidewalks Labs uses yellow, color related to optimism, and clarity. In the visual identity department, Sidewalks Labs also checks all the marks for consistency and proper brand voice.
Verily, known in the past as Google Life Science, is a company dedicated to research and study – what else? – life sciences. It is focused on developing solutions to improve the well-being and health of human beings.
Verily also has its EBM name domain, Verily.com. It does not have any social media presence.
Visual identity: Regarding Verily’s visual identity, since the brand only owns a website, there is not much more we can say.
X Development, also known as Google X, is an innovative technology company focused on developing technologies to solve the world’s biggest problems.
The company’s domain is X.company, combining a letter, a word, and a punctuation sign. Not an Exact Brand Match name, not even using a top-level domain extension. You can’t really blame them, X.com belongs to Elon Musk. He clearly still hasn’t figured out what to do with it.
From a branding perspective, X does not appear to stand out in the strategy department. Its online presence is all over the place, using different handles on LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, and Medium.
Visual identity: In terms of visual identity,X uses visual elements homogeneously on all its platforms.
Waymo is a company devoted to developing self-driving technology solutions.
Visual identity: Waymo’s colors combine blue and green, conveying trust and growth. Brand consistency is solid in its online presence, and the company’s brand voice is uniform and projects Waymo’s values while using its visual elements with cohesion and success.
Wing is a technology company developing drone solutions to deliver parcels through the air.
Visual identity: Wing has unique visual elements used in its online presence with uniformity. Like the other Alphabet businesses, Wing has a brand voice that portrays its values and promises to customers.
As you can see, 8 out of 10 analysed companies are on their EBM (exact brand match) domain names. We might assume that brand protection (that is oh-so-closely tied with securing an exact brand match domain name) is something that Alphabet certainly takes into account at the outset. However, if big brands have already invested in a domain name that interests Alphabet – they will choose another domain extension or add a word to the brand name. Is it a wise decision? You may draw your own conclusions while keeping in mind that Alphabet also has an impressive list of acquisitions as well as a growing list of “killed by Google” apps, services, and hardware. What caused the downfall? We will deal with that in one of our next blogs. In the meantime, you can let us know your thoughts on this topic. Want to say hi or have any questions about naming, branding, and domain names? Get in touch, we’re always happy to hear from you.