Google and Brands

Do you know what a Google "brand account" is?

In essence a "brand" is a non-person entity, name or idea which depending on size, might need to be managed by multiple "brand managers".

Brand accounts are designed by Google to be "managed" by multiple individual standard accounts (individual people).

Here are brand accounts I currently administrate or manage.

Brand accounts do not have passwords, the "managers" are given the capacity to manage the brand (account activity) by a brand admin, but do not themselves have the capacity to change a non-existent password, lock other managers out or give other standard accounts (other individuals) access to the brand account. That is controlled by the brand account admin (or owners).

People who manage brand activity on "Google" should have the brand represented with a brand account.

What do you mean by "Google"?

Google brand accounts cannot use all the Google products and services which are available to standard accounts. They can use YouTube, Google Photos (only on desktop) and the soon defunct Google+.

So for most brand managers "Google" basically now means YouTube.

There is a problem though with brand accounts after the demise of Google+ in that there will be no way externally to see if a YouTube channel identifying as a brand is attached to a brand account or to a standard account. Meaning people would be able to freely miss-manage the brand.

Prior to switching off the Google+ API one could query the API for a profile "ObjectType", which would return as "person" for standard accounts and "page" indicating a brand account.

The object type "person" indicates a standard Google account

The object type "page" indicates a Brand account.

What's the big deal?

It all comes down to that password, or rather the lack of one for brand accounts.

The lack of a password is what allows an administrator to control brand access to designated managers.

Prior to the demise of Google+ I ran a collection highlighting examples I came across where a "brand" was being run on a standard account and access would be in the form of a standard login and password.

What if I've been doing it wrong?

Well luckily if you are responsible for managing a channel on YouTube which represents a brand it is fairly easy to move the channel from a standard account over to a brand account. It was never possible to change a standard account into a brand account so if you were posing as a brand on Google+ you were always a bit stuck. After Google kills Google+ you could take the opportunity to fix the way the brand is accessed by others.

Though as people can no longer see or verify whether or not a brand is being correctly managed it's doubtful if people will care whether they are doing it "right" or "wrong".

At least until someone with the account password goes rouge.


  1. Outside people may not be able to see what type of account is being used, but for account managers who care, it's not hard to check. And ultimately I'm not sure most care what outsiders have to say (until something goes wrong anyway).


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