“The challenge they have is overcoming the perception that Yahoo is a bloated company that has not been able to innovate and has tripped over itself many times,” said Alfredo Muccino, co-founder and chief creative officer of Liquid Agency, a San Jose-based brand experience agency.
In her first year on the job, Mayer has taken tangible steps to change Silicon Valley’s expectations for Yahoo’s culture. In addition to ending telecommuting, she relaunched photo-sharing tool Flickr and completed a series of high profile acquisitions, like the $1.1 billion purchase of Tumblr.
Those moves provide a substantive foundation for the cosmetic change a new logo will provide. Some variation on the tech giant’s signature purple text and exclamation point logo will stay, Yahoo has said.
“I think this is well timed,” said Dennis Hahn, executive vice president of brand experience at Liquid Agency. “If they had done this right when Marissa Mayer took office, it would have been a disaster because there was nothing behind it.”
Mayer’s ability to restore Yahoo to rapid earnings growth and attract new users will determine her success and longevity at the company. A successful rebranding campaign can help Mayer accomplish those goals.
Muccino said the jury is still out on how much Yahoo’s marketing gurus can change consumer perceptions, but he is staying tuned for now.
“We’re talking about behavior, not a surface-level re-skinning,” he said. “(Mayer’s) actions around telecommuting were controversial. I think it takes courage to affect change.”
Great corporate brands evoke a single thought in consumers’ minds. For Volvo, it’s safety. For Coke, it’s refreshment. Yahoo, which provides many Web services, is a difficult brand to capture in a word.
“Putting a new logo on something is not rebranding it,” said Maria Amundson, general manager of public relations firm Edelman Silicon Valley.
“Most consumers are not duped,” she said. “They understand that a business has to really authentically change.”
Stay tuned for this Friday’s Business Journal for more on the world of corporate rebranding.