Yahoo Challenges Traditional Branding with ’30 Days of Change’


Traditional marketing teaches that cohesive branding is crucial to public image.  Your branding defines how the outside world sees you.  Are you edgy and relevant?  Or proper and traditional?

In today’s fast paced market, many consumers will judge a company’s relevance and quality solely by how attractive their website is.  I know I do.

That’s the power of branding.

At the heart of most branding is the logo.  Big corporations pay hundreds of thousands of dollars just for their logo design.  And for good reason.  A logo is often what people remember a business by.  It is the rudder, steering the great ship of branding.  Most companies are very cautious when changing their logo.

Yahoo is not most companies.  Not anymore.

A Fading Star

Officially founded in 1995, Yahoo was one of the early stars of the internet.  For many, Yahoo was the first search engine they ever used.  With it’s wealth of features and fun loving attitude, the company’s value skyrocketed heading into the new millennium.

Then the dot com bubble burst.

Though Yahoo survived, it was severely damaged.  It’s spent over a decade now trying to retain its former glory.  Though it’s managed to have a few successes, much of its change has been mimicking other successful companies.

In the eyes of the modern generation, the Yahoo branding is associated with inferiority, failure, and irrelevancy.   When someone ends up on Yahoo, it’s probably because a Google search brought them there.

So what can Yahoo do when it’s very branding and company image are working directly against them?

30 Logos in 30 Days

Thanks to their new CEO Marissa Meyer, Yahoo has been busy during the past year, making more headlines than they have in a very long time.  While the reaction hasn’t always been positive, one thing is very clear:

Yahoo is not giving up without a fight.

Despite the numerous detractors, the company is determined to change the way the world sees them.  And if you’re trying to change your company image, why not change the branding?

But rather than simply switching over to a new logo, Yahoo decided to go a little outside of the box.  They’re switching to 30 new logos.

Over the month of August, Yahoo has been changing its logo every single day.  While keeping the company’s trademark purple, each logo has brought a different style and vibe to the webpage.

The point?  To serve as a lead in for the introduction of their permanent new logo.

While many have called it odd, gimmicky, or simply terrible branding execution, I think it’s pretty brilliant.

Why Yahoo’s 30 Logos are Winning

When companies switch their logo, there’s usually one of two different reactions.

1. People don’t notice.

2. People hate it, make fun of it, and threaten to burn everything down that bears the logo.

Yahoo can already cross number 1 off the list.  They didn’t just get people to notice their new logo.  They’ve gotten people to anticipate it.  That alone is impressive.

Whether or not the public likes the new logo remains to be seen, but it’s hard to deny the effectiveness of their approach.  I have no doubt there are many people going to Yahoo daily just to see what the logo looks like.

I know I’ve been.  While Yahoo certainly hasn’t won me over to using their services, they have my attention.  They’ve let me know that they’re trying.  In some small way, my view of the Yahoo brand has shifted.

And that has to count for something.

See all the logos here!

Is Yahoo’s strategy crazy? Brilliant? Both? Neither? What are your thoughts?

One Response to "Yahoo Challenges Traditional Branding with ’30 Days of Change’"

Written by Timothy Snyder
on August 27, 2013