Google’s Business Model: The Business Owner’s Guide to a Pandemic 

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Business owners are humans first, and trying to survive as both during a pandemic has been inexplicably difficult.

That being said, COVID-19 has created massive change in our everyday lives, especially the business world.

In times like these, where there is no definitive “right” way to stay afloat, it’s important to take note of what succeeding business owners are doing.

Let’s take a look at Google’s business model and the 5 media principles guiding them through the COVID-19 crisis.

1. Constantly making copy changes

Google has been making changes to all of their creative elements. For example, imagery that once showed in-person interactions such as hugs and handshakes has been changed to encourage social distancing.

They’ve been tediously assessing all of their media buys and looking over each and every campaign, no matter what channel it is or how much money is being spent on it. Even search ad copy references to computer viruses (e.g., “virus checks”) have been rephrased. 

Use your best judgment to carefully review all of your visual imagery, tones, keywords, and copy across the web. Depending on your industry, humor may or may not be appropriate right now.

If you’re unsure about how it will be received, take note of what your competitors are doing and the reaction they’re getting on social media.

The last thing you want is to be “cancelled” for inappropriate or insensitive content. This can be more devastating to your business than the pandemic.

2. Communication, communication, communication

Good communication is key, especially when the world seems to be ending.

During this pandemic, Google has made it a point to remember that although COVID is a worldwide problem, its impacts are local. They used this logic to evaluate their processes and allow their international teams to make their own decisions at the local level. 

These decisions are communicated through a real-time shared spreadsheet that keeps everyone in the loop–even if they’re on the other side of the world. This is key to staying organized during these hectic times.

3. Finding ways to help

Now is the time for coming together–just not physically. 

What are your consumers really needing right now? 

Put yourself in their shoes. Ask yourself how you can help them and what the consumer in you would want to hear.

Google’s business model is a great example of a company that’s been helpful during COVID. They’ve been using their platforms to direct people to helpful, truthful information. 

YouTube, which is owned by Google, directs users to relevant public health agencies like the CDC straight from the homepage.

Google is continuing to assess themselves and their brands for opportunities to amplify only critical information, and every business owner should be following suit.

4. Restructuring priorities

As a business owner, navigating uncertainty is your responsibility.

Google states that its main priority during this period of uncertainty is being helpful. For example, they’ve shifted their paid media focus onto brands that help people receive critical information or make the transition into this new normal easier. 

Despite your industry and unique circumstances, you’ll need to restructure your priorities. This is another principle that will require you to use your best judgment.

5. Repeatedly reassessing strategies

Your strategy from two weeks ago may not still be relevant today, and you’ll want to repeatedly reassess your strategies as the market continues to fluctuate. 

The only thing that we know for certain about this pandemic is that it’s subject to change. Because of this, you’ll need to ask yourself everyday if your copy is appropriate for the current situation of the world. 

If you’re not able to answer this question with a “yes,” this should prompt immediate change. For example, Google references an Android campaign that referred to people being “out and about.” They very quickly turned off this campaign due to lockdown.

Unfortunately, no one (not even Google’s business model) has all the answers when it comes to surviving a pandemic. All that we can do is try to learn from those who are succeeding.

At Bizzuka, we’re learning as we go just like everyone else. To keep up with the latest information on marketing during COVID-19, check out our blog.