A few weeks ago, Mashable contacted some ad agencies and asked them to imaginehow brand pages on could change in light of that platform’s planned redesign.
Just as Facebook was announcing its tweaks, though, Google was on track to add brand pages to Google Plus. Though it looks like that will happen any day now, the integration hasn’t been announced yet. Meanwhile, a handful of brands, including Ford, are already enjoying the possibilities.
There are several barriers to designing brand pages for Plus. For one thing, it’s hard to stand out the way Plus looks now. The somewhat rigid format has a leveling effect. But Colin Murphy, director of social for Skinny, one of the agencies that accepted our challenge, says there are potential advantages to Plus, too. “A primary gripe among Facebook and Twitter users is that brands bombard them with messages they don’t want or care to see,” said Murphy. “In its current form, Plus doesn’t solve that problem, but Plus Brand Pages might, if they implement Public Circles.”
Skinny outlined how this might work with a hypothetical example for Mini, the auto brand. In this case, a Mini Countryman fan could join the Countryman circle and see just Countryman updates in her feed. “This level of selectivity isn’t possible on Facebook or even Twitter, unless of course you are a fan or follow the specific product you’re interested in — but there’s a major drawback to that method because the user has to seek out content streams,” Murphy says. “With Google+ it’s all in one place, and the all the admin has to do is feed pertinent content to the appropriate circles.”
In addition to Skinny, Fantasy Interactive created some fictional Coca-Cola and Starbucks brand pages. Are these on the mark? We’ll know soon enough, but in the meantime, let us know what you think of these agencies’ vision of how Google+ can accommodate brands.
Mini, Part 1
Commentary from Skinny: “This is the brand page. Take notice of Public Circles on the left, the Locations and Translate buttons and the content. This is what a user who visits MINI’s page for the first time will see. It contains content pertaining to each Public Circle (each MINI product, in this case), giving a first time visitor a taste of everything MINI is doing with Plus, and an idea of who has joined which circle.”
Mini, Part 2
“In this slide, the user has joined the Countryman circle. Now when he looks at his feed, he’ll only see content pertaining to the Countryman (and any other circles he’s joined). You might be wondering – when a user joins a certain circle, does he no longer see content from other circles? Here’s Colin Murphy, director of social for Skinny: ‘When that person joins a circle he gains access to more content. The content he sees initially is the brand’s public posts. So when a person joins a public circle he sees that content plus the public, and so on as they join other circles.'”
Mini, Part 3
“This is what a Google Hangout looks like. Google Hangouts allows brands to collaborate live and/or give community members an exclusive seat at events. The best part is that Google built the service seamlessly within Google+. In order to make Hangouts work really well for brands, Google should make the service available for more than 8 users at a time (which is the current limit).
Mini, Part 4
“Private Circles will allow you to distribute content to specific groups as well as categorize and monitor community members, based on their activity, sentiment and interests. Like the current functionality, these monikers will not be visible to the public.”
Mini, Part 5
“For Plus, integration could be the ingredient that makes the potion. One example of the rich integration potential is search. A brand will buy Google ad space bases on keywords, and the user will see Google+ Promotes Pages in his search results. In our example, the ads show up in the top right portion of the page. Though this feature doesn’t exist (that we know of), hypothetically it would provide brands an opportunity to associate their brand pages with relevant keyword search queries.”
This Coke brand page prototype was designed by Fantasy Interactive.
Fantasy Interactive takes a whack at what Starbucks’s brand page could look like.