On August 14, 2009, Google put the "doodle" above on their homepage to remind the world that it was the birthday of Hans Christian Ã˜rsted – the father of the study of electromagnetism. Why? Because they have a design sensibility for the marketspace age in which they understand that all brands are verbs; all logos need to be clickable, and when they are clicked upon, they should communicate something interesting about your brand.
In this case, what does it mean that Google pointed to Hans Christian Ã˜rsted? Few have heard of him despite the fact that he was the first to observe "invisible fields" created by current passing through a wire. If you are in the market for the best technical people in the world, as Google is, this sends a message of substance and style and even a bit of the "inside track" – all done with a clever and beautiful change to their iconic brand logo.
As most of us know, Google often morphs their logo to send a message – whether it is for the presidential elections or Valentine's day. Yet few other brands have followed suit. Click on the Wall Street Journal – you always come to the same home page. Amazon – nothing of interest. Coke, Microsoft, Cisco – nada!
Given the fact that all media is becoming interactive – and either touchable, as with the Apple iPhone or Blackberry Storm, or clickable with a mouse – every company needs to create a new design sensibility to make their logo into a device for interaction, messaging and brand building. Billions of people are moving to smart cell phones where the first and most frequent impression you give to them is your icon on a tiny screen. It is time to think about not only what that little icon means, but how you will morph it over time to signal what your firm is all about.
Branding is now where movies were in the early 1920s. It took creative geniuses like Sergei Eizenshtein to create new camera angles and montages thereby opening up the power of the new medium to tell stories more dramatically. Google, like Eizenshtein, is breaking new ground with branding, in a playful yet powerful new way.
My question is: what should your brand do when someone clicks on you?