Protobrand Sees Behind the Screens of Google and Facebook

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A Meta4 Insight™ study found that Facebook provokes people to feel contained by life’s connections, while Google inspires opportunity to unlock life’s potential.

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There is a growing sentiment that Facebook is merely a façade and deters people from exploring more authentic experiences with friends and family.

Protobrand has released the results of its latest Emotion of Devotion study, which uncovered the emotional underpinnings driving brand devotion for Google and Facebook. The Meta4 Insight study uncovered the experiential and emotional footprint of both brands using a nationally representative sample of both Google and Facebook users.

Protobrand discovered that while Facebook enables people to stay connected to what matters in their life, users also feel contained and sometimes even trapped by the brand. These emotions of limitation gave way to feelings of elation and freedom when participants were prompted to describe their feelings if Facebook was taken away.

“There is a growing sentiment that Facebook is merely a façade and deters people from exploring more authentic experiences with friends and family,” said Protobrand CEO, Anders Bengtsson.

The study also found that Google enables users to excel in their everyday lives. Google provides advanced tools for users to seek out opportunities and get the most out of their aspirations. Respondents felt blocked and lost when deprived of Google, unsure of how they would navigate their lives without it.

Google and Facebook share the deep foundational metaphor of the container. The container is what makes Facebook users feel restricted and confined. The connections respondents made on Facebook were confined to the computer screen. However when using Google, respondents felt an opportunity to unlock and escape the container to achieve their life’s potential.

The study uncovered many insights into the everyday use of both brands and the shifting perceptions of the digital space. Visit to view the full deck of Protobrand’s most recent Emotion of Devotion.

About Protobrand Sciences, Inc.
Protobrand is an independent research and branding company specializing in uncovering emotional insights. Through Meta4 Insight™, an application for online metaphor elicitation, we reveal people’s subconscious minds to develop insights that create emotionally resonant brand relationships. Meta4 Insight builds upon decades of academic thought and scientific research into the workings of the human mind. Clients include Disney, P&G, AOL, Bank of America, Target, and Unilever among others.

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Anders Bengtsson
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