I’ve received two comments about the inaccuracy of my last post, Google Docs Explained In (Ripped Off) Plain English. In that post, I said that Google had appropriated Common Craft‘s wonderful "In Plain English" format and style to produce a video explaining their great Google Docs service.
Had I simply watched the entire video, I would have seen "Video by commoncraft" in the final frame. Is two minutes and fifty seconds too high a price to pay for accuracy? Of course not. I could have watched the entire video or I could have visited Common Craft’s web site and I would have learned that Google was a client.
My bad. There’s no excuse for it and I apologize for the error.
It is interesting how powerful a brand Common Craft’s format has become–at least among a certain psychographic, of which I’m clearly a member–that the moment I see "In Plain English" or watch the format they use, I immediately think of Common Craft. That tells you how well done their videos are and how successful they’ve been with them.
The Mixing Brands Dilemma
My screw-up illustrates an interesting dilemma: Should you or should you not mix brands? More often than not you do not dilute one brand with another. Perhaps that explains why the Common Craft logo appears on the last frame of the video.
Not to excuse my error, but had I seen the "Video by commoncraft" at the beginning of Google Docs Explained In Plain English, I obviously wouldn’tve made the error I did. Rather than, hey, they ripped off Common Craft!, my initial reaction to the video would have been, cool, Common Craft is explaining Google Docs.
In this case, rather than diluting either, establishing both brands at the outset would have inspired confidence in the content because they are two brands I like and trust a great deal.
Google and Common Craft would obviously have better research and insight than I to make that call. Regardless, Google was smart to hire Common Craft to explain their services because they are the best at explaining complex, technical stuff to real people.