Our colleagues over at Beneath the Brand (BtB) covered the launch of Google's new service, Google Helpouts. The overall theme of it is that it is a venue for real people to get real help in real time.
Of course, once advertising, marketing, and other enterprise-focused professionals get a hold of it, things can change.
In fact, already the Consumerist is exclaiming its ambivalence toward Google Helpouts, because seemingly half of the fashion and beauty videos are consultants from Sephora, and fitness and nutritionist information is coming out of the mouth of Weight Watchers.
And again, the majority of these helpouts are free.
Brands and marketers should look closely at how they can use Helpouts to push their brands and industry knowledge. We don't think it does Google Helpouts a disservice if there are experts in the field giving good information to the public.
In fact, that is exactly what "helping out" means.
The overall goal on Google Helpouts seems to create attractive content, and reap high reviews. As a by-product, the brand can make an additional revenue line if they go at it in the right way.
The brand's right way, that is.
One way a brand can get attention on GHelpouts is by sponsoring content creators who fit with what the brand represents, and offer the sessions for free. This gives the content creator some creative freedom, and it gives the brand an indirect way to get more impressions. Think of it as paying a vlogger, except this platform has a little more promise than others.
Another way a brand can take advantage of GHelpouts is by applying a YouTube-like approach to it. Own the Helpout and provide critical information about the goods and services it owns and show the consumer how they can get the most efficient use out of the products.
Example: many teachers in the school we're in just got Revolve tablets to use. How cool would it be for Revolve to send links to teachers about how to use Revolve tablets for education, instead of having the district provide training sessions during planning periods and after school? Revolve's effort would bring more people to know it, and save time for educators.
Another example: we are big fans of bourbon, but sometimes we want more than the Manhattan, Old Fashioned, and the sour. Having mixologists and distilleries give GHelpouts about home bartending could be something we'd watch, and maybe even pay for.
There are many other ways brands can get creative and provide credible and scalable information to consumers on GHelpouts. The question is, will they?
Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.