/ The Google Promise

There is a lesson to be learned from Google’s Internet war with China. The region has more than 250 million people surfing the web, and Internet censorship practices that prevent “subversive” material from influencing the masses. Google has recently challenged (and put pressure on) China to change its censorship practices. The brand is threatening to pull out of search and other potentially lucrative business dealings if the Chinese government continues to force the company to operate within censorship laws.

Let’s face it, Google is a veritable force and verb to be reckoned with. Imagine that — a country where people can no longer Google.

Some argue that Google is using its mighty business and brand (though it is less ubiquitous in China than in other parts of the world) to take a political stand. It will be interesting to see if after on-again-off-again political talks between the U.S. government and China, Google’s brand and business move will prevail. (The U.S. government, by the way, is staying out of Google’s negotiations with China.)

But, Google isn’t taking a stand against China. It’s simply defending its brand promise. The hacking attacks (traced to China) that targeted Google were evidence of a much larger threat against the brand. The company is, and has always been, in the business of liberating information for the masses to consume. Google responded to these attacks by defending its business and brand promise.

Even cynical customers are disappointed when brands break their promises. There’s an age-old lesson brands can all learn from Google’s war with China. Even when tested, a brand promise worth making is worth keeping.

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