Case 1. Google
Google is one of the most powerful and known brands in the world. The company started with developing an effective search engine, and later added text-based advertising option – Google AdWords. An effective fundraising option offered by Google is AdSense – the display of targeted web ads. For marketing managers, Google offers a variety of analytical tools. Google has developed a new approach to management – “marketing asset management”, which is based on managing advertising in the same way as assets.
Google has created a diverse portfolio of projects, which can be classified into five categories: Web, desktop, mobile, hardware and other products. New projects are created in Google Labs and tested among selected group of users during beta tests; if the projects are viable, they are included into the core Google’s portfolio of products.
Google relies primarily on online advertising, and does not frequently use traditional advertising. Two examples of Google’s use of traditional advertising are Google Chrome TV advertising and “Going Google” campaign aimed at marketing cloud computing applications. Currently Google is actively expanding in the mobile category (e.g. by developing Android ecosystem). The company’s revenue comes primarily from online advertising, so Google is focused on reaching as many people on the web as possible.
Case 2. Virgin Group
Virgin Group unites a variety of different businesses and products: transportation, wine, music and mobile phones, publishing, and many others. This company was created by Richard Branson, who adopted a very unconventional way to marketing and developing new products. The company started with a music recording studio. This studio was later sold to another company, but since that time Virgin Group included more than 200 companies.
The approach of Virgin Group is to identify unused or overpriced market opportunities, and to expand in these opportunity areas. Although such diversity might dilute brand identity, this is not the case of Virgin Group: the qualities of fun, innovation, quality and challenge characterize all products of the company.
Richard Branson uses unconventional marketing ideas and his own personality to advertise the products of Virgin Group. He chooses to surprise and shock the public, thus creating interest to the company’s new ventures. At the same time, he keeps in touch with the customers, personally checks the quality of the services, and provides compensation if there are service issues (e.g. when planes are delayed).
The recent strategic priorities of Virgin Group are environmental sustainability and corporate social responsibility. The foundation called Virgin Unite is working on the solutions of social and environmental problems. All businesses of Virgin Group maintain responsible conduct. The biggest challenge is related with Virgin Airlines which emit tons of carbon dioxide. The Earth Challenge was established to solve this problem: $25 million will be awarded to a scientist who offers a reasonable solution for removing greenhouse gases. Holistic marketing strategy and social responsibility are two characteristic features of Virgin Group.
Kotler, P. & Keller, K.L. (2012). Marketing Management. 14th edition. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.