In the latest issue of Marketing Profs Today, William Aruda writes “Branding: All you need is love” In his article he mentions Jennifer Rice of Mantra Brand Communications who conducted an interesting “love” experiment. She typed “I love [brand]” into Google and noted the number of items Google returned. She did this for many well-known brands to see how much we really love them. High on the “love list” were Apple, Google, Target and IKEA.
Interestingly, that correlates with the results of the InterBrand Reader’s Choice Awards for the brands with the most impact in 2004. Apple was number one. Also in the top 10 were Target, Google and IKEA.
So I was amused, to say the least, by a recent AP article (see here)reporting that media magnate Barry Diller “sets sights on dethroning online king Google. A key component of his strategy is the $1.9 billion takeover as Ask Jeeves. “There’s a lot riding on this acquisition,” said Safa Rashtchy, an analyst with Piper Jaffray. “All eyes are on Barry now, waiting to see what he can do with Ask Jeeves.”
Although Ask Jeeves has been perennially overshadowed by better-known search engines, Diller is convinced that it’s the missing part of his Internet plan.
If it pans out the way Diller envisions, Ask.com and several affiliated search engines, including Excite.com and iWon.com, will become the mortar binding all of his other Web sites – a so-far dysfunctional family delving into travel, lending, ticketing and matchmaking.
OK, so Mr. Diller was the driving force behind establishing Fox as the fourth major network, when many media mavens said it couldn’t be done. But the three networks that he muscled in on weren’t particularly high an any brands-I-love list. Not so with Google. It’s going to take more than cash and hype to pull this off. I’ll be truly amazed if he does. If he can’t I wonder what the fire sale price of Ask.com(remember Lycos?)will be.