by Carl Da-Costa-Greaves
I’ve been meaning to make this post for a few months about how Google products work so seamlessly for us as a business. However, each time I sit down to write, Google announce another cool feature or product notification and I get ‘excitedly’ side-tracked.
Studiowide was setup 2 years ago, based in Liverpool city centre. We’re a small but quickly expanding business and I would hazard a guess that our representation of the current SME landscape is a good one.
I’d sum up our work as business creativity and chartered marketing. What does that mean? Well, we identified a growing market in the UK for start-up companies and expanding small to medium sized enterprises, and then set about creating a range of services to help these businesses promote themselves in the most progressive way possible.
Our go-to-market approach is an eclectic mix of professional marketing at the highest level (we are registered chartered marketers), offset by a very creative edge. We’re the type of professionals who would turn up to a business meeting in a battered Land Rover Defender. This is then offset by the perfectly-dressed business attire. We have fun in business – this fuels our creative side. However, once the creative dust has settled we make no mistake in demonstrating that we understand business.
My own personal computer history goes back to Windows 95 OS and the usual Microsoft associated packages, such as Office. Yes, I have to admit that I came through the ranks as an avid user of Microsoft Outlook for email, as most, if not all businesses at that time were. Along with Microsoft 95 came Internet Explorer. This was my world to the internet for the next 10 years.
Over the 10 years I began to notice an unobtrusive brand that gradually became part of my daily life. Maybe it was the crisp clear interface that didn’t ask anything of me other than ‘Search’ and ‘I’m feeling lucky’. Whatever it was, Google was my new home page (and has been on a multitude of browsers to this day).
As the years went by, Google products were silently rolled out – minus the usual PR machines. It was at this moment in time that it started to dawn on me just how clever this company was. The more I knew of them the more I liked and shared their values. Google was getting on with doing what it did best and knew exactly ‘why’ they were in business (to organise the world‘s information and make it universally accessible and useful… if you don’t already know).
From Google Alerts to Keyword tools I was using them all on a daily basis. Admittedly, some products never become stars, but a lot of them did. Such as the Google toolbar with Pagerank and in-page spell checker – a must have for plain text forms that didn’t have built in spell checkers. These tools proved invaluable to me.
Then along came Google Apps for business. I would hazard a guess that somewhere on the Google master plan this was a crucial point. It certainly was for Studiowide regarding how we used the Google suite of products.
By May 2011 we were using virtually all of Google’s tools to help us in some ways; either with our day-to-day productivity or with our business activity of SEO and digital marketing.
After a 4 weeks trial with Google Apps for business we finally pointed our email server to Google. In June 2011 we switched over to the Gmail email client. From that point on we have been using the full Google Apps for business suite of products.
Funnily, it was at this point that the Google team visited Liverpool on a local campaign drive. They apparently selected us from a random list of businesses and preceded for no reason other than apparent Altruism, to hand us with a very nice box of cupcakes. However, we keep telling ourselves that the cupcakes were from Larry Page and Sergey Brin as a gift for our lock-stock-and-barrel move to Google. See image above.
As a small business owner, Google Apps provides us with not only the most cost effective integrated IT solution, but technically the facilities are also industry leading (if not, the best). We run all of our daily tasks from within Google and we handle our sales pipelines and customer relationship management from the suite of chrome apps and extensions available.
All of this means that we have access to all of our information from within any browser. It also makes setting up a new user account on a PC a doddle. Not to mention the integration of this information from within our Google Android devices – everything we do online is now also available on our smart phones and Asus tablets. Hats off to the Google team for pushing on with the Android system when the doubters started…, well… doubting.
In November 2011 Google+ for business officially arrived. Up to this point, as a business and personal user of Social media sites, I had used all platforms available to man. This was partly to serve my curiosity as a techie, but mainly because as a digital marketing company it’s our duty to offer a range of ‘suitable’ services to our clients, and we continue to do so.
However, Google+ is not just another social media platform, it appears to be another market changer – the Google master plan once again makes sense. As you can probably guess, we hurried to set up our Google+ business page and immediately set about creating our circles – straight away the difference with this platform compared to Facebook is obvious.
The biggest differentiator that I can see between the 2 services is Facebook is about communicating with people you know, relating to things that are of probably no use or interest to anyone other than the original poster. Whereas Google+ is all about meeting new people. Already on Google plus we have seen a value in our communications and in the new circles which we now belong to.
So that brings us up-to-date in the world of all things Google. I hope this post can help anyone who is seeking to manage their online business activities as efficiently as possible. Maybe in 12 months I’ll come back and update this post, as I’m sure there’s more to come from the on-line giant.
PS. We are in no way affiliated with Google – we’re purely brand advocates who want to tell a story.