Brand Building Starts with a Strategy, Story, and Ethos to Provide Exceptional User Experiences

Yahoo! Reveals New Logo: What We Noticed

After 18 years and 30 Days of Change, Yahoo! revealed its new logo last Thursday to represent a brand valued at $9.8 Billion going forward. Did anyone notice? Through the lens of disciplined branding best practices, I comment what we at KiddGlobal noticed and more importantly, what we didn’t.

Roll Out: Strong

I thought the “30 Days of Change” buildup campaign was a unique and clever way to effect change, involving users, testing attitudes, and creating much conversation, internally and externally.  My bet is that we will see that tactic and various permutations of such used again by other enterprise and consumer marketers. 

Visual Strength:

Good I'll defer to my design team to opine on the specific optics of the logo another time. As a marketing asset, Yahoo!’s new logo reflects much thought and effort and does pass the Brand Landscape Review. However, what was absent Thursday was the most important pillar of brand building.

Strategy, Story, and Ethos: Missing

Yahoo! missed tying their new logo to the strategy and path forward to create and deliver great products that provide outstanding user experiences. Yahoo! introduced its new logo as reflecting their personality – “whimsical, yet sophisticated.” OK…this is fine and certainly part of the process, but Yahoo! missed the opportunity to present the new logo as a brand for driving value. Brand building is not logo design.  Brand building is providing exceptional products and user experiences consistently over time. It is these products and experiences that provide meaning to the marketing assets a company produces, of which the logo is one.

The Introduction for Which I Was Hoping

The gold standard of new brand introductions is what Starbucks did back on March 7, 2011, when CEO, Howard Schultz, introduced the new way forward (the strategy, story, and ethos to improve the customer experience) for the coffee maker as context and foundation to his new logo evolution.  Remember, Starbuck's during that time period (2009-2010) was struggling to navigate market conditions and their revenues and shareholder value suffered. 

How did they do?  Well...since that new branding introduction, Starbuck's shareholder value has increased 114% (their market cap is now $54B, by comparison, almost twice Yahoo!'s). To be clear, it wasn’t the logo design that drove value, it was the execution of the strategy behind the logo to simplify, focus, and deliver a great product that yielded results.  

Starbuck's as well as Apple (under Steve Job’s second act) and Ford (under Alan Mulally) are great corporate come back stories of recent times anchored in creating great products and user experiences. I love the Rocky narrative and I am hoping the same for Yahoo! 

Mike Kidd is president of KiddGlobal, a marketing consulting company celebrating its fifth year of business and which specializes in brand strategies, building enterprise websites, product marketing, and content strategies and writing. Learn more about Mike and KiddGlobal.


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