Friday, March 20, 2009

Gasta News: LVMH vs Google: Let the Brand Wars Begin.

LVMH ((Louis Vitton, Moet Hennessy) versus Google goes to the very heart of the shift that the internet has forced upon us all. As the European Court considers whether Google should be allowed to let others bid on LVMH's trademarked brand terms, the broader question is whether brands can retain any sense of control in the online world.
Google is now the most powerful 'media owner' on the planet and it must accept the responsibility that comes with such power. But, its model is built on delivering what its users want. So, while we might argue that the decision to allow others to bid on trademarked brand terms was nothing but a bid to maintain paid search revenue growth, it can argue that it merely gives users the choice they deserve.
As chair of the IPA's search group, I'm keen to hear more on why it did it but, if search - whether paid or natural - is the 'navigation' in our customers' online journeys, then brands must also think hard about the 'conversation', that is their users' engagement in the combination of social sites, tools, emails and blogs that - alongside publisher-owned websites and brand destinations - help to shape their perceptions and, ultimately, their decisions.
The online journey that any one person takes to a decision is an incredible set of complex behaviours, founded on conversation and navigation, that the modern planner must fight to understand, embrace and act in accordance with.
That is a much more interesting battle than the one that's to be fought in Brussels since it deals, not just with what brands do about AdWords, but how they behave in everything they do now that their customers - enabled by services just like Google - are entirely in control.

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