When tech giants take a stand

Andi McDermott on May 26, 2017

The launch of ‘Searching for Syria’ earlier this week saw tech giant Google making a stand in the current new world order of fake news and foreign hysteria.

A partnership that has led to the sharing of UNHCR’s data and Google’s mapping and image technology has led to the creation of a dedicated portal to answer the commonly asked questions about Syria and it’s Civil War.

Far be it an exercise in branding, or a piece of a much larger strategic move (although it very well could be) – this is about one of the world’s most valuable companies showing that it has a human side, and using its universality to draw awareness and provide a new take on arguably the biggest humanitarian crisis that the world has ever faced.


Searching For Syria

In a time when the industry is seeing brands move into a purpose-driven space, and rebuking the idea of profit – much to chagrin of consumers and sales directors – Google’s partnership with the UNHCR feels almost dare I say it, natural. Pepsi may have no business weighing in on protests, McDonald’s is probably not the best business to be teaching children about loss and grief, and Coopers should recognise the separation between Church and State (or Church and beer in it’s case). But, Google using its platform and presence to educate about Syria – this is a step in the right direction, this is what we’ve been waiting for.

For brands, having a purpose, and knowing what you stand for is vital. It’s the lifeblood that underpins everything from its strategy to its UX. Herein lies one of the biggest opportunities for brands to earn deeper relationships with consumers and women in particular. As Edelman Earned Brand 2016 study has revealed – they key to a strong customer relationship with women hinges on three things; acting with purpose, telling a memorable story and listening openly.

The tricky thing is finding that balance, knowing where your limits are, and ultimately being in touch with your consumers.

Syria is not a bandwagon for Google. While the world has been ignorant, and in the dark about Syria over the last six years, Google are using it’s power and influence to shine a light.


Sources: Edelman Earned Brand 2016 study, a global online survey of 13,000 consumers in 13 countries.

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