Meet the Makers: How Uncommon and Google turned search bar confessions into a powerful campaign

Meet the Makers: How Uncommon and Google turned search bar confessions into a powerful campaign

After building awareness, shaping the perception of an existing product is one of the biggest challenges a brand can face. So how do you help shape a brand when its product is already used by over a billion people every day?

In this episode, meet Nils Leonard, founder of Uncommon, and Nishma Patel Robb, senior director of brand and reputation marketing at Google. Hear how the two companies harnessed confessional searches to shine a light on Google Search’s quest for empowering knowledge and discovered some powerful creative lessons along the way.

  1. Understand your brand’s contribution to culture
    For many, Google Search is the gateway to knowledge on the internet. And, while over 5 billion searches a day offer myriad creative campaign avenues, it means that what the brand chooses to highlight can make a real impact.“If you could see in a snapshot the different things everybody was searching for, you’d realize how vulnerable we all were, how fragile we all were, but, ultimately, how we all wanted to learn,” says Leonard. Patel Robb adds, “What you want to demonstrate is that there’s a lot of movement in this idea of unity.”Harnessing the insight that people were using Search in a confessional way, to find answers to questions they might otherwise feel uncomfortable asking, gave the team a platform to showcase how Search contributes to culture, not only on a product level, but at a brand level as well.
  2. Creating conversations is embedded in craft
    When you’re starting with raw input, like search queries, the ability to harness them in a way that empowers people heavily relies on the craft of the creative execution. “There’s what you say, and then there’s how you say it. The point is to use music and film and story. If you get all that right, it asks a conversation the right way,” says Leonard.Crafting the way confessional searches come to life with casting, location, editing, film, and music meant the team could hit the perfect note, meaning they could insert the brand into a cultural conversation in the right way.
  3. Defining a broader purpose is your superpower
    Defining the purpose of your brand and aligning it with the purpose of your product in people’s minds, not to mention shining a spotlight on it within a campaign, is a delicate balance to maintain. “This work is not performative,” says Patel Robb. “Our purpose was not to preach but to present the answers to people to empower them.”“The more we are starting these conversations, the more we care about the world around us, the more we want to impact on it and leave it better, the more powerful we’ll be,” adds Leonard. By ensuring that the brand had a clear purpose, one that could translate to the campaign level, the team had something they could anchor the work to and, ultimately, provide the building blocks for future creative.

Making a meaningful contribution to culture can be risky for brands and the teams behind them. But as the Uncommon and Google teams discovered, if you draw on the utility of the product and align it with the purpose of the brand, you may find exactly the result you were searching for.


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