For such a successful company Google does some really dumb stuff some times. FIrst came their exercise in brand experimentation as they debuted new logos through the worst vehicle possible, their 16 pixel square favicon. They seemed to think no one would really notice this until pretty much everyone noticed and blogged out it including your truly. So tonight I was updating my iPhones applications and I actually go into the updates to see what they are changing before I download them. The Google iPhone application was on the list and I went into the update to see that they had 5 changes to the application. Two of the big changes listed were “longer version number” and “ninja”.
A little funny, a little stupid and probably completely missed by 99% of the people who have the application. It did however launch an interesting debate among myself and some of my more experienced design and branding minded friends about if a brand should get ever even get any of those little moments of stupidity. In this case Google spends millions of dollars in media so we think of them as a smart, cutting edge company with the best search engine and a huge collection of technology tools. Then brand perception that they have worked to create can then be undermined and effected by any and every communication at any and every level- even something as simple and inane as an iPhone application update description. So the question is should brands be able to have moments like this where they break character or is the real power in consistent one and voice? I want to hear your thoughts so if you have a thought one way or another post it in the comments.