It started off with a presentation that we did to Coke.
We were talking to them about Google and about how Search could and should be used by brands as a reputation management tool. The example that we gave them was based on their new global end-line "The Coke Side of Life." If you Googled these set of words, instead of Coca-Cola sites you get this:
The Google listing starts off with this cutting phrase: "Who was the stupid marketing wonk who came up with Coke's new slogan, "Welcome to the Coke side of life"?" and then this visual...
If any Brand Manager ever needed convincing that Search is so much more than direct response, this could well be it. Then we Googled "Coke Zero Ingredients" this is #1 and #2 listing, probably not what Coca-Cola were hoping for.
If 80% of web traffic starts with a Search there seems to be so much more that brands can be doing. Anthony Mayfield mentioned an article that Wired are currently working on and looking for opinions. If you go to Clive Thompson's blog, you will find his posting about this (and a lot of comments!) One of the points that he makes there is that "Google isn't a search engine, it's a reputation management system." I thought that was perfectly articulated. "What do we search for anyway - mostly people, products, ideas and what we want to know is what do other people think of this stuff."