I’m going to start this article with a confession…
I am a Yahoo! email user and have been for 15 years. There, I’ve said it. Now I know it’s not big, or clever but it is reliable, easy to use and hasn’t really changed much since its beginnings in 1995.
Until now that is.
Yahoo! like so many other big brands of late decided to embark on a rebrand. Their reasons? Well according to Yahoo! CMO Kathy Savitt the rebrand represents “A renewed sense of purpose and progress at Yahoo! And we want everything we do to reflect this spirit of innovation.”
Sounds exciting. New. Fresh.
And then you see the fruits of the design team’s labour. A richer purple colour, a new typeface and the same old exclamation mark. Now it’s not their fault, the brief was a tight one. And we, the users of Yahoo!, got to pick our favourite logo from a choice of 30 designs (I liked #10).
But the problem is this. A rebrand is more than an opportunity to change your appearance. It’s a chance to stand still and examine what you really stand for and how you can best serve your customers going forward.
Yahoo! in my opinion did not do this. Instead, they created a confusing PR stunt of multiple logos, which left many users confused. And then replaced a perfectly good email viewer set up with a new layout and conversation stream that’s awkward to use.
So if you’re going to rebrand remember this… Successful branding is all about consistency. You can have all the passion and ideas in the world internally, but don’t forget about the most important part of your company. Your customers.
Phil Blackmore signing out of Yahoo! and signing up for Gmail.
My five tips for a successful branding exercise:
Clarify the commercial reasons for doing it, getting press coverage is not good enough.
Find a way to quantify the value of your existing brand, to your customers, your staff and your peers.
Focus on the difference between a rebrand and a brand refresh. The latter is far less drastic.
Find out what your customers like about you, and try to put this at the heart of your branding exercise.
Successful brands are honest – be true to yourself and don’t make stuff up.