Brand Architecture: Google vs. Amazon

This report builds and examines the brand architecture of two brands – GCP and AWS – in the Cloud Computing (CC) sector. The positioning of CC, while initially seen as a disruptive technology influence on both buyers and seller prospects, is now evolving into a trade-off between low-cost arbitrage and added value QoS. You will not be alone in adopting CC. Your competitors will adopt it too, bringing pressure to cut price and reduce your precious margin. The differentiator of CC is not just the utility computing services, but includes all the higher-level services that enhance and build service value. This is part of a movement from ICT-centric to business-centric (B2B and B2C) services across a wider services continuum, with utility services for infrastructure at one end, and with business-centric software and business processes delivered as a service from the cloud at the other. There are a number of fundamental drivers that impact on investment, revenue, cost, and timing that can be positively influenced by using CC services. They relate to productivityspeedsize, and quality. Here, The capacity/utilization curve used by AWS to illustrate the advantages of cloud computing is often quoted. 

The two brands, GCP and AWS,  are chosen as they compete in very similar segments of CC and yet have very different brand personalities [3-5]. It is well known [3] that GCP and AWS are among the most valuable brands in the ICT/CC market, and this report will bring out the stark differences in the brand architectures of these two brands. The goal is to observe how consumers can have vastly different perceptions of and relationships with very similar products owing to the differences in brand architectures.

Brand Architecture

In this section, we’ll look at the main type of brand architecture models referred to as the brand pyramid shown below for both brands.  Generally, brand architecture shows us how the sub-brands of a larger whole are organized, and how they all relate to each other. It can help a marketer see how to keep parts of a brand separate when needed, and also how to allow them to work together to boost one another in the marketplace [6].

Let’s look at GCP and AWS brand architecture examples to see how this works.

 Brand Architecture for AWS

Amazon brand pyramid
Google brand pyramid

When it comes to the cloud market, there are few known knowns. For instance, we know that AWS is the market leader with around 32 percent of market share in 2019 [9]. As of October 2021, Amazon accounted for 41 percent of the U.S. e-commerce market, making it by far the leading online retailer the country.

With the big cloud companies reporting recently, we can be sure of a couple of things: the market continues to expand rapidly and AWS is going to be hard to catch. Depending on whose numbers you look at, the market grew around 50 percent as it continues its unprecedented expansion [3-6].

Let’s look at the market leader, AWS. Canalys [10] has them with 33 percent of the market. That’s close enough to be considered a dead heat. As Synergy’s John Dinsdale points out, AWS is so dominant that in spite of mega growth numbers from other vendors, it is still bigger than the next four competitors combined, even after all these years.

Those competitors, by the way, are no slouches by any means. They include Google among the pretty elite enterprise players. In terms of the annual growth rate [3,9], Google gave Amazon a massive head start, and GCP shows no signs of ceding that lead any time soon.

That is not to say that Google is not growing too. In fact, Canalys had Google grew an amazing 63 percent. It’s always important to point out that it’s easier to grow from a small number to a bigger number than it is to grow from a big number to a bigger number. Yet AWS continues to defy that idea and grow anyway, although not quite at the rate of its competitors.

For now, even with their eye-popping growth numbers, the competition continues to chase AWS. Even as GCP finds ways to differentiate itself with different approaches, offerings and services, the market dynamics are hardening and catching AWS seems less and less likely.

What GCP needs to do now is continue to focus on customer requirements and what they can offer in terms of price and service to continue to take advantage of their own unique strengths. There’s plenty of room in this space for GCP to thrive.

At the moment, Google is trying to position itself in the same way as any cloud vendor going after AWS. They are selling themselves as the hybrid cloud company that can help with your digital transformation. It’s a common strategy, but Google did more than throw out the usual talking points this week. It walked the walk too [8,9].

For starters, it introduced Anthos, a single tool to manage your workloads wherever they live, even in a rival cloud [1]. This is a big deal, and if it works as described, it does give that new beefed-up sales team at Google Cloud a stronger story to tell around integration.

AWS hasn’t made made many friends in the open-source community of late, and Google reiterated that it was going to be the platform that is friendly to open-source projects. To that end, it announced a number of major partnerships [9].

Nobody has ever denied that Google lacked good technology. That has always been an inherently obvious strength, but it has struggled to translate that into substantial market share. 

According to recent reports [3, 8-12],  Google has dropped from 1st to 3rd position, recording a relatively slow brand value growth. Google’s online ads generated more traffic than expected in 2017 as aggregated paid clicks rose by 43% year on year, boosting revenues. However, presenting a solid performance is not always enough. Google is a champion in internet search, cloud and mobile OS technology but, similarly to Apple, its focus on particular sectors is holding it back from unleashing the full potential of its brand. Google’s investments in self-driving cars and handsets still lack the scale and audacity demonstrated by Amazon’s new ventures.

Brand Value

Google is a California-based, multinational internet company which provides digital products and services such as online search and advertising, cloud computing and software. Google is one of the most recognized brands in the world. In North America alone the brand’s value amounted to approximately 458 billion U.S. dollars in 2021. As of 2020, Google was ranked as the third most valuable brand in the United States, with a brand value of around 303 billion U.S. dollars. Amazon and Google are among the top five most valuable brands that year [3].

Ecommerce dominator Amazon’s brand is valued at more than $683.85bn, according to Brand Finance’s newest Global 500 rankings. Surging ahead of Google, Amazon’s value has grown by an extraordinary 64% in the space of year, largely thanks to its diversification into cloud services, electronics production and grocery retail.

The huge growth in the brand value of Amazon comes from using technological expertise to expand into many new areas across the broader tech sector, including smart speakers, home entertainment, internet hosting, home automation, music, mobile devices, audio books, live streaming, artificial intelligence, and home security.

Sources Consulted

[1] https://cloud.google.com/?hl=nl

[2] https://aws.amazon.com/

[3] http://www.statista.com/statistics

[4] https://cloudacademy.com/blog/google-cloud-vs-aws-a-comparison/

[5] http://www.opengroup.org/cloud/cloud_for_business/p6.htm

[6] https://elementthree.com/blog/why-brand-architecture-matters-and-what-you-can-do-about-it/

[7] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cloud_computing

[8] www.zacks.com

[9] https://techcrunch.com/2019/04/11

[10] http://www.canalys.com

[11] https://www.srgresearch.com/articles

[12] https://brandfinance.com/press-releases

[13] https://abcnews.go.com/Business/story?id=6921785&page=1

[14] https://usatoday30.usatoday.com/money/perfi/columnist/krantz/2007-07-27-peg_N.htm

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