Numbers game: How Google's Alphabet reorganization is a win for IR

PR pros believe Google holding company Alphabet will benefit shareholders.

Google's Mountain View, California headquarters
Google's Mountain View, California headquarters

Google’s formation of Alphabet, a new holding company that will house its brands, including Google, will help the company be more transparent with shareholders about its plethora of businesses, say PR pros.

Life sciences company Calico, smart thermostat business Nest, broadband Internet service Fiber, Google Ventures, Google Capital, and research department Google X, are among the businesses that will sit under the Alphabet umbrella.

Alphabet’s creation has major implications for Google’s brand, both in the eyes of consumers and investors, according to a blog post penned by Michael Wood, a copywriter at UK-based PR firm Tangerine, on Tuesday.

Wood explained that the reorganization is an opportunity for Google to address growing public confusion about the purpose of Google as a brand and the number of "eclectic strings it has in its bow," such as efforts to develop self-driving cars, smart devices, medical research, and investment services.

"Having distinct brands for each of these business units, instead of one big name, will help investors identify where their money is going, how it is being spent and whether it is generating a return," Wood wrote. "This openness is crucial to encouraging more people to invest in the company’s future and furthering Alphabet’s development as a cutting-edge business."

Some PR pros on Twitter referred to the reorganization as a "rebrand," but they concurred that it creates an opportunity for the company to communicate about its businesses.

Other communications pros questioned the point of the reorganization, noting that it might be risky from a reputational standpoint.

The matter of how the move could impact Google’s communications department was also broached on Twitter.

As for the announcement itself, WPP Group-owned Brand Union’s worldwide CEO, Toby Southgate, referred to Google’s news as "one of the most incredible pieces of corporate brand communication I can remember," in a blog post Tuesday.

Southgate lauded Google’s reorganization for its "speed, bravery, execution, clear communication, and action over debate."

Investors were also happy with the announcement.

Other PR pros from major players in the tech industry shared their take on Alphabet.

And, of course, brands got involved.

A Silicon Valley-themed Easter egg was included in Google CEO Larry Page’s Alphabet announcement, so the TV show responded accordingly with a tweet.

Sesame Street also used the company’s new name as a real-time marketing opportunity.

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