While Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer must be congratulated for the many remarkable business achievements in a short time , the brand’s lack of an authentic core will prove to be a slow growing cancer and its ultimate demise if not addressed. For a brand to have any chance at long-term survival in today’s world, Authenticity is paramount. Without it, there can be no emotional connection, just a collection of functional attributes. Yahoo doesn’t seem to get that.
Yahoo is being touted for its success on the books. It has acquired more than 25 different companies in the last 6 months alone and boasted more visitors than Google and Facebook in the past month. The company is slowly overhauling the look and user experience of many of its products and services, no doubt much needed.
But cosmetic band-aids, front-end facelifts, and purchasing hip outfits may make a company feel like it’s relevant to the coveted youth target, but with no soul there is no compass. And with no compass, Yahoo will remain lost in a world where a collection of user-friendly, functional attributes are not enough to survive. Yahoo may be big and growing, but the emperor has no clothes.
Let’s take a dip in the waters of the more stimulating Yahoo-related media – the reaction to the recent logo unveiling. The latest logo project was based on a manufactured premise that the new look was to reflect Yahoo as being “whimsical, yet sophisticated. Modern and fresh, with a nod to our history. Having a human touch, personal. Proud.”
I’d be shocked to find a single being in the universe who would use any of those words to describe Yahoo. If there’s anything most people can agree upon regarding Yahoo, is that it has no idea who or what the brand stands for. And if it was an aspirational identity they were going for, that strategy only serves to be entirely self indulgent and meaningless to a target that desires to be inspired and engaged on an individual level.
More telling than the negative reaction to the final logo, is the consistent commentary that the bland winner is the perfect pick for the Yahoo brand.
“ Out of all of those good designs, they managed to choose the worst and most outdated of all. Congrats Yahoo, you stuck to your brand I guess. Old, Slow, and Ugly :D ” (ImSuperVince)
“Changing your logo wont get you more visitors. you just look desperate, yahoo. ” (JoeyNax777)
In today’s world, if consumers don’t have a full-on love affair with your brand, no cosmetic fixes or stock-propping acquisitions will help. In the end, you’re just an empty shell. Go ahead, Yahoo – acquire more and pretty yourself up. You’ll be lost out there until you find your soul.