afaqs!

Google talks business

By Sohini Sen , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Digital | June 08, 2015
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By launching the Google My Business feature, the online giant is helping businesses, small and big, to use the worldwide web to get more customers and spread the word around.

Picture this. You want to dig into a plate of appam and stew in a little shop at the other end of Delhi. You know the name of the place, but like always, you don't really know how to get there. So, you fish out your smart phone and use Google Maps to navigate yourself through the traffic and reach your destination with an appetite.

If you could relate to that scenario, it is time that marketers - big or small - understood and recognised the power of Google. Created by the internet-related services and products provider, Google's My Business is the newest offering especially for small and medium businesses.

Google's Nappa Dori film

Google's Maganlal Dresswalla film

Sandeep Menon

"This is a simple way for businesses to show up on Google. We want people to know and realise that any small business can now have an online presence. A couple of years back we created free websites for small-sized businesses. In today's mobile world, having a website, or being traceable on maps is a big leap," explains Sandeep Menon, director, marketing, Google India.

Google My Business helps businesses connect directly with customers through search, maps or even Google Plus. It is not just businesses - even products, brands, artists, and organizations can use this offering to maintain up-to-date business information on Google. This also allows users to track engagement with insights for Google+ pages and posts, along with viewing information on related Google Analytics account and YouTube channels. It seamlessly creates and tracks performance of AdWords Express campaigns.

The two 'case studies' feature Mumbai-based Maganlal Dresswalla and Delhi's Nappa Dori. Both businesses are small, but are self-sufficient in their own ways. One more thing in common between the family-owned Maganlal Dresswalla and the boutique leather store Nappa Dori is that both businesses have used Google My Business. Both players have not just found more customers, who come to them through Google Maps, but have also showcased their new collection on Google Plus.

"Google's My Business gives users a rich data set, which they can use to understand and predict product demand and reception. We have been spreading the word through case study videos on YouTube," adds Menon. The product itself was launched around six months ago and has since then been promoted through select print and radio and an intensive outreach programme. According to the company, thousands of new users are signing for Google My Business every day.

Harish Bijoor

Partho Sinha

Rahul Jauhari

What does it mean for businesses though? According to Harish Bijoor, brand expert and CEO, Harish Bijoor Consults, it is a basic listing service. "It is good that the service is free for now. Listing means that small businesses open small little windows on the Internet to be searched out and location mapped. The cases talk about the ability to be searched out and mapped and not much else. But I do believe small businesses are looking for more than this."

Digitas Lbi's national creative director, Partho Sinha is not impressed either. "It's a good old way of storytelling but does not cater to the more technical and modern approach of film crafting. I think the video lacks the fun bit and hence dwells in the typical CSR mode. Honestly a film that remains fresh even after 2-3 viewing is a good one. This certainly does not pass that test," points out Sinha.

However, Rahul Jauhari, CCO, Rediffusion has a slightly different view. According to him, "these videos are simple, to the point and do the job of explaining very well. In reality, the world of entrepreneurs and small business owners stretches way beyond metros - and the understanding of the web and benefits of e-commerce can be severely limited there. Much of the TG would be existing businesses struggling to come to terms with the changing business world. To that extent, the need to be real and believable is fulfilled by these films."

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