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Talks at Google: The Design of Experiential PR


Google was the subject of one of our earliest explorations on Eventful World Media, when we delved into their campus design and how it nurtured Google’s culture to be the best company to work for anywhere in the world. Today, let’s explore a small aspect of Google’s campus that’s event based and also goes to serve both its workforce and the public relations for Google’s brand.

The Talks@Google program is not entirely unique in the world of company PR programs, but alas being that this program is from Google it does tend to draw a more distinguished roster of participants. The concept behind Talks@Google is fairly straightforward: Google invites a speaker over to Google’s corporate offices (Google implements this program in their offices around the world) to deliver a roughly hour long talk or engage in a roughly hour long interview. These events are attended at-will by Google’s staff and are also open to the public, with the sessions being video recorded and distributed through Youtube on Google’s channel.

The subjects of these talks are not necessarily related to Google nor even technology at all. There have been musicians, spiritual leaders, novelists, actors, and people from all walks of life invited to speak. The Talks@Google program is part of Google’s ongoing efforts to create environments that inspire both their employees and their local communities. Granted there are many companies that do similar types of programs — opening up their offices to the public for short speaker series type events — few have implemented their efforts with the same level of consistency and with the same commitment to subject diversity as Google have with its Talks@Google program.

Oftentimes the best PR campaigns are the ones done without an overt agenda. Nobody even at Google would argue that programs like Talks@Google are necessarily an efficient allocation of the employees’ times nor the company’s resources, but over the course of many years and thousands of these events, the Talks@Google program has come to serve Google as a platform for community goodwill and thought leadership. This is a very different type of corporate event than, say, Apple’s WWDC. The deliberate lack of subject focus for the Talks@Google gives the series an almost quaint characteristic within context of Google’s primary industrial endeavors. There have been many companies who have done similar programs before the Talks@Google existed, and many others who have implemented similar programs since. But to date, no other company have been able to leverage a speaker series for PR as effectively as Google has with its Talks@Google program.

See you at the next exploration!



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