Brand Personality of Web Search Engines: Who is the Conqueror of the Digital Age?

Brand Personality of Web Search Engines: Who is the Conqueror of the Digital Age?

Aslihan Nasir (Bogaziçi University, Istanbul, Turkey) and Süphan Nasir (Istanbul University, Turkey)
Copyright: © 2009 |Pages: 17
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-813-0.ch003
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Today, as business becomes ever more challenging, brands become the main assets of many companies. Fierce competition forces companies to differentiate their products from those of competitors in the market. However, it is extremely difficult to create this differentiation based on the functionality attribute of the products, since advanced technology makes it possible for companies to imitate the functionality attributes. Hence, marketers begin to create personalities for their brands in order to be more appealing to the consumers. Brand personality is defined as “the set of human characteristics associated with a brand” and it is asserted that the brand personality leads to differentiation in terms of consumer perceptions and preferences. At the moment, millions of people use search engines in order to reach the most relevant information. Since search engines, as the senior actors of the online world, provide similar services, it is enormously crucial for them to create differentiation. Google is the dominant search engine brand and, in this paper, its success has been examined by utilizing the brand personality scale of Aaker (1997). This study tries to identify the brand personality dimensions that search engine companies create in the minds of Internet users by using past research on brand personality scales as a guide. Furthermore, it is also aims to determine the distinct brand personality dimensions of Google as the most preferred and used search engine. It is found that Google has been perceived as the most “competent” search engine brand. Furthermore, depending on the MANOVA results, it is shown that all three search engines have statistically significant differences only on the “competence” dimension. “Sincerity” and “excitement” are the other two dimensions which significantly differentiate Google from both MSN and Yahoo.
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Today, there has been a growing recognition about branding and brand management. There are plenty of developments such as increased globalization, fierce competition, and savvy consumers that have significantly complicated marketing practices and create challenges for the brand managers. In today’s markets, it becomes difficult to develop new products with distinct features whereas it is relatively easy to copy them with advanced technological resources. Moreover, there is also a proliferation of brands as the number of brands for the same product category expands. Additionally, the Internet has completely changed the business world. Internet, as a new media channel, enables a company to efficiently target, detain and interact with its potential customers. Twenty-first century has witnessed to a rush by new and existing businesses to create their online Internet brands. But not all of them have the opportunity to show success due to fatal mistakes in brand management. In such an environment brand management, through the affective use of brand image and brand positioning, becomes extremely important. Being a major component of brand image, brand personality is the most valuable way of creating brand differentiation and hence consumer preference and loyalty.

While examining on-line branding topic, a special attention has to be given to search engines since they’re continuing their activities from the very beginning of Internet age. As a result, Internet users are more familiar with the brands operating in this on-line business. Increased search engine usage among Internet users justifies the argument that a remarkable interest should be paid to the analysis of search engine branding. Search engine use is one of the top activities of the 94 million American adults who use the Internet; moreover, the search-using population totals 90 percent of all Internet users (Burns, 2005). The number of U.S. searches also grew 55 percent in December 2005 (5.1 billion searches) over December 2004 (3.3 billion searches) (Burns, 2006a). Consequently, as the search engine market continuously expands, the number of players in this market also inflates. This leads to intense competition among search engine brands. On the demand side of this market, search users prefer to use well-known search engines because they believe that well-known search engines generally provide more dependable and relevant results. On the other hand, companies that have Internet operations want to be listed in well-known and well-used search engines because these places potentially generate so much traffic (Sullivan, 2004a).

Being a preferred and well-known search engine provides crucial revenue sources to search engine brands. Revenue that comes from the paid listings is one of the most important benefits of being a leading search engine. Every major search engine with significant traffic sells paid placement listings. Anyone who runs a web site wants to be in the “top ten” results. Being listed in 11 or beyond results means that many people may miss your web site; that’s why a web site with good search engine listings may see a dramatic increase in traffic (Sullivan, 2004b). Besides, revenue that comes from the advertising also plays a critical role for the survival of the search engine companies. An increasing number of advertisers allocate a portion of their budgets to the Web. In 2006, online marketing spending is expected to increase 19 percent (Burns, 2006b). Within online’s increase, search engine ad spending is set to grow 26 percent this year; additionally, budget allocation for Google amounts to $3.7 million; $4.6 million for Yahoo; and $4.6 million for MSN (Burns, 2006b). As the online advertising becomes more popular, advertisers increasingly include the Internet in their marketing mix. To reach masses, advertisers prefer to give advertisements to well-known and preferable web sites. So that, being a well-known and preferable search engine brand is also very crucial to attract much more advertising, which in turn brings more revenue. However, it should also be noted that Google makes money from paid listings relevant to a searcher’s query and from licensing their technology to firms such as Yahoo and the Washington Post; yet Google avoids from gaining money through ads (Keller, 2003).

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Subir Bandyopadhyay
Table of Contents
Subir Bandyopadhyay
Subir Bandyopadhyay
Chapter 1
Subir Bandyopadhyay, Rosemary Serjak
In recent years, many online brands (or e-brands) have emerged. For a brick-and-mortar brand to excel in the online environment, the brand manager... Sample PDF
Key Success Requirements for Online Brand Management
Chapter 2
Luis Casaló
The Internet is taking on an increasingly major role in political marketing and branding strategies. This is because of the use that the public... Sample PDF
The Role of Blogs on a Successful Political Branding Strategy
Chapter 3
Aslihan Nasir, Süphan Nasir
Today, as business becomes ever more challenging, brands become the main assets of many companies. Fierce competition forces companies to... Sample PDF
Brand Personality of Web Search Engines: Who is the Conqueror of the Digital Age?
Chapter 4
Tobias Kollmann
This chapter examines whether classical brand naming concepts are sustainable for entrepreneurial firms in the Net Economy. A prior study of Kohli... Sample PDF
The Naming of Corporate eBrands
Chapter 5
Patrali Chatterjee
Consumer-centric organizations recognize customer relationships with brands as a source of sustainable competitive advantage that they can leverage... Sample PDF
Returns on e-Branding Investment: Linking Pre-Acquisition Marketing Activity to Customer Profitability
Chapter 6
Fang Wan, Ning Nan, Malcolm Smith
Though marketers are aware that online marketing strategies are crucial to attract visitors to Web sites and make the Web site sticky (Hoffman et... Sample PDF
Consumers' Optimal Experience on Commercial Web Sites: A Congruency Effect of Web Atmospheric Design and Consumers' Surfing Goal
Chapter 7
José J. Canals-Cerdá
Internet markets are usually under the command of a market intermediary that charges fees for its services. Differences in quality across items... Sample PDF
Nonlinear Pricing in E-Commerce
Chapter 8
S. Ramesh Kumar
Brand positioning is a crucial strategy to any brand’s strategy. Given the rapid development of technology and it impact on online strategies... Sample PDF
The E-Mode of Brand Positioning: The Need for an Online Positioning Interface
Chapter 9
Sanjeev Swami
Until 1997, job seekers in India would wait the whole week for the weekly supplements of various newspapers, or sundry employment journals and... Sample PDF
Job Search at Case Study of a Successful Dot-Com Venture in India
Chapter 10
Peter O’Connor
Since its launch in 1994, the Web has continued to grow at a phenomenal rate, from an estimated one billion Web documents in 2001 to over eleven... Sample PDF
Trademark Infringement in Pay-Per-Click Advertising
Chapter 11
Robert Pennington
Brands have evolved from signs of property rights to signs of product attributes to signs of consumer attributes. Brands have become an important... Sample PDF
E-Branding the Consumer for Cultural Presence in Virtual Communities
Chapter 12
Terry Daugherty, Harsha Gangadharbatla, Matthew S. Eastin
As the Internet expands to include individual applications such as banking, shopping, information gathering, and so on, brand managers and marketers... Sample PDF
Impact of Internet Self-Efficacy on E-Service Brands
Chapter 13
Shintaro Okazaki, Radoslav Škapa
This study examines Websites created by American multinational corporations (MNCs) in the Czech Republic. Utilizing a content analysis technique, we... Sample PDF
Understanding Brand Website Positioning in the New EU Member States: The Case of the Czech Republic
Chapter 14
Dahui Li, Glenn J. Browne, James C. Wetherbe
Limited studies have investigated online consumer loyalty and retention from a relationship orientation in electronic commerce research. It is... Sample PDF
Online Consumers' Switching Behavior: A Buyer-Seller Relationship Perspective
Chapter 15
Piyush Sharma, Rajiv Mathur, Abhinav Dhawan
Offshore outsourcing is a fast-growing aspect of the world economy today and it has drawn attention from policy makers as well as public at large in... Sample PDF
Understanding Consumer Reactions to Offshore Outsourcing of Customer Services
Chapter 16
Edward J. Garrity
This paper develops a new model of web information systems success that takes into account both intrinsic and extrinsic motivating factors. The... Sample PDF
An Extrinsic and Intrinsic Motivation-Based Model for Measuring Consumer Shopping Oriented Web Site Success
Chapter 17
Christy M.K. Cheung
The topic of online consumer behavior has been examined under various contexts over the years. Although researchers from a variety of business... Sample PDF
A Critical Review of Online Consumer Behavior
Chapter 18
Patricia T. Warrington, Elizabeth Gangstad, Richard Feinberg, Ko de Ruyter
Multi-channel retailers that utilize an eCRM approach stand to benefit in multiple arenas - by providing targeted customer service as well as... Sample PDF
Multi-Channel Retailing and Customer Satisfaction: Implications for eCRM
Chapter 19
Chung-Hoon Park, Young-Gul Kim
Among the potential determinants of consumers’ commitment to on-line shopping site are information features of the web site because on-line shopping... Sample PDF
The Effect of Information Satisfaction and Relational Benefit on Consumer's On-Line Shopping Site Commitment
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