What’s in a name? Earlier this week, Google proved that naming and branding isn’t as simple as ABC. With the creation of Google’s new holding company, Alphabet, there may be more confusion than clarity. Find out what it all means.
Google’s new parent company, Alphabet, separates its extremely profitable search and advertising business from its more far-flung efforts, so-called moonshots. Here’s the quick run-down on the new hierarchy from CNN Money:
While the reasoning behind the new company may not be crystal clear, the reasoning behind the new name and logo may be letter perfect. What might seem counterintuitive, breaking away from the well-established Google brand to create Alphabet allows Google to stand on its own as the consumer-facing products. Alphabet then can grow in different directions, offering a diverse product range and focus. Think side projects like robots, self-driving cars and medical research.
The Alphabet name is simple – yet strategic. The best brand names balance something well-known with the brand’s persona and key attributes. In the case of Alphabet, it fits perfectly with Google’s quirky but user-friendly image.
Here’s what Google founder Larry Page had to say about the Alphabet name: “We liked the name Alphabet because it means a collection of letters that represent language, one of humanity’s most important innovations, and is the core of how we index with Google search! We also like that it means alpha-bet (Alpha is investment return above benchmark), which we strive for! I should add that we are not intending for this to be a big consumer brand with related products—the whole point is that Alphabet companies should have independence and develop their own brands.”
At first glance the Alphabet logo seems overly simplistic, but it fits with the name and the objectives of the company. Unlike the fun and goofy Google logo, Alphabet’s provides an air of maturity and financial stability. But it’s not too stuffy – it’s simple and approachable. And the upper and lowercase make it seem friendly.
Of course, the introduction of a new name can herald new problems. Alphabet.com is owned by carmaker BMW, which plans to keep the domain, the New York Times reported. So Alphabet has chosen abc.xyz for its website address. Ironically, Daniel Negari, the founder of the registry company for the .xyz domain, was quoted in WIRED’s April issue as saying: “We end the alphabet in ‘xyz’ and we should end domain names the same way.” Guess Google agreed with him.