A couple weeks back, Google made a pretty stunning announcement to the world: it's being rebranded. The company that essentially invented the world of search engine marketing; the company that owns Android and YouTube and scores of other highly-successful ventures is undergoing a reorganization and renaming the broader company (not the search engine and some of it's established properties) "Alphabet." I'm sure more than a few people scratched their heads in confusion at this announcement.
After all, aren't reorganizations usually aimed at giving a directionless organization a purpose? Aren't they a means of desperately trying to make something that's unprofitable into something successful? Isn't Google shooting itself in the foot with this?
The short answer is no - not really. Truth be told, this reboot is probably one of the smartest decisions Google's executives have made in quite some time. In order to explain why that is, however, we're first going to need to explain something about the search giant.
See, up to this point, Google's been pretty eclectic with its departments. While maintaining its core search venture, it's dipped its toes into pretty much every segment of the tech sector. At the same time, it's never really strayed that far from its core brand.
And that's precisely the problem. See, no matter what Google's other departments did, they were always overshadowed by Google the marketing firm, Google the mobile software developer; Google the search giant. In short, Google's brand was completely unfocused, and its business operations were suffering as a result.
"If you don't know exactly what your brand is, who your target audience is, and what you want that audience's perception of your brand to be, your brand becomes meaningless," explains Ascendant Group CEO Raoul Davis. "It's easy to fall into the trap of wanting to be all things to all people, but the fact is that unfocused brands get slaughtered."
Mind you, I'm not saying Google was ever at risk of getting 'slaughtered' - I've the firm belief it's one of those businesses that falls under the purview of 'too big to fail.' At the same time, it's pretty clear that Google needed to change something about how it operated. Because otherwise, even though its core competencies would always be going strong, other ventures might very well fail.
In other words, the Alphabet reboot is as much a matter of rebranding the company as it is a matter of streamlining workflow. By arranging Google's parent organizations into their own silos, each with its own CEO, Google allows them to establish themselves in their own right - it allows them to move out from under the shadow of their parent company. Its core business, meanwhile, can be maintained on the side, while the real talent focuses on innovation and advancement.
It remains to be seen how well the Alphabet rebranding is going to function in practice. But at the moment, it's safe to say that the future looks bright for Alphabet, just as it does for all its subsidiaries. In the meantime, Google will remain a household name - I expect it always will.
The difference is that now, other companies within the organization will have a chance to become household names, too.