Can you guess what Google’s highest marketing expense is?
For a company less than 20 years old, Google has done an incredible job with every aspect of the tech world. From cutting-edge apps to its library of reference texts, this company continues to provide innovative products and services that make it hard not to do business with them. However, many people overlook Google's use of a less hi-tech tool to boost customer loyalty and improve its company culture. Google's #1 marketing expense is not online ads or branding experts, but rather the custom clothing which it provides to its employees free of charge. From baseball caps to printed cotton tee shirts to moisture-wicking socks, Google dresses its employees for success--and this pays off in a number of important ways.
Strengthening Company Culture
It's no secret that for many tech workers, Google's company culture can't be beat. Although the free prime rib lunches and dog-friendly office layouts certainly don't hurt morale, Google's custom clothing provides much of the glue that holds the company's employees together. The company's branded T-shirts and sweatshirts are well-fitted, comfortable, and printed with a variety of attractive designs that feature the Google brand. Wearing these shirts helps strengthen the employees' sense of working for a common cause that still recognizes their individual personalities. In addition, clothing printed cheerful, lightly-bragging slogans like "Google Map Maker" help employees remember how much their work is valued within the company.
Humanizing the Brand
When your workplace gives you attractive, comfortable branded clothing several times a month, you can't help but wear it outside of work. Google employees are proud of their employer, and Google's custom clothing lets them show that pride wherever they go. This helps Google overcome its image in some people's minds as a faceless, monolithic entity; when people see its employees out and about wearing Google's custom clothing, it helps put a human face on the brand. In addition, slogans like "Girl Power" help Google show its commitment to issues like bringing more women into the tech field. Custom clothing lets every Google employee become a brand ambassador with as little effort as it takes to throw on a favorite tee shirt.
Winning Over New Customers
Google is in the business of making tools; getting companies to adopt and use these tools is one of the major marketing challenges it faces. Here, too, custom clothing helps this company get the job done. When companies move to adopt Google apps, Google recommends that the company appoint "Google Guides" who can assist in the adoption process. Custom clothing from Google is part of what makes these individuals stand out as trusted sources of information about the Google product. This helps Google win over new customers and continue to strengthen its brand in the public eye. In today's business climate, custom clothing should always be more than just a uniform.
Google's use of branded apparel has demonstrated that fact for the past several years. Fashionable, comfortable custom clothing has helped Google strengthen its company culture, boost the public image of its brand, and make it easier for its customers to adapt its products. This is one low-tech marketing strategy that even a web-based giant can't afford to pass up.