What exactly is Alphabet? Is this a smart move by Google? Did they not practice what they preach and “google” to discover that BMW owns the URL and trademark?
As someone who helps companies define and grow their brands, I think it’s a great move, and here’s why: Larry and Sergey stayed true to their own brand. These guys are first and foremost innovators—they create things. They have, since its launch 17 years ago, constantly forced Google to evolve. Alphabet is just part of this evolution.
Google hasn’t been just a “search” company for quite some time. As of Sunday night, Google was a tech company that was playing in the sandbox of transportation, health, cuisine, environment, home efficiency, and other verticals. I think this has actually been diluting the Google brand. The decision to create an overarching entity—Alphabet—immediately addresses this issue and presents tremendous opportunities:
- Autonomy for each company under the Alphabet umbrella. This is huge for current portfolio members such as Google, Fiber, and Nest—they can focus on their own identities and do what they do best. But it may be even more important in Alphabet’s acquisition strategy looking forward (maybe Twitter?).
- Retaining their best employees. Google has always been great at attracting top-notch talent, but competitors often lured away employees who knew the odds of making it to the C-suite were slim. Now, each individual Alphabet company will have its own leadership and management team, creating the opportunity to nurture, motivate, and retain top performers. And I think this will make each company even stronger.
- A new era of discovery. Freed from the day-to-day minutia of managing the Google ecosystem, Larry and Sergey will advise the portfolio companies as needed, but can now focus on Alphabet and incubating and innovating as very few have over the last two decades.
I had the distinct pleasure of visiting Google’s Mountain View campus last spring. It was inspiring to see all the activity, energy, and experimentation happening inside those walls, and even out in the streets. But the breadth (and therefore, lack) of focus felt disjointed and almost overwhelming. Monday changed that. I believe Alphabet will help connect the dots, provide clarity to its brands, and continue to inspire me and millions of others as we look forward. Alphabet is no soup.