Corporate Eye

Is There Hope for Yahoo?

I’m still holding out hope for Yahoo! I want this brand to find its way and live a long life. However, this brand continues to struggle and recent rumors of leadership changes don’t necessarily mean that the right changes will be made to sustain the brand.

This is a brand that has lost direction and is grasping at a host of straws to find a way to remain relevant and stay afloat. I wrote about keeping the Yahoo! brand alive here on the Corporate Eye blog in November 2010, and little has changed in the 7 months that have passed since then.

Is Yahoo! a display advertising company? A search engine? A media company? The company claims to be about personalized content, but that’s not necessarily the message that consumers are getting. The content on Yahoo! could be found on just about any other site, and the addition of content from Yahoo!’s network of contributors sourced from its acquisition of content mill Associated Content aren’t helping the brand’s reputation. Crowdsourcing is a viable strategy for media sites, but that crowdsourced content must match the brand promise. What is Yahoo!’s brand promise?

The big question about Yahoo! is this: why should people visit the site each day? The answer isn’t obvious in people’s minds. Their perception of Yahoo! isn’t clear and there are other sites that are the go-to places for the same type of content that Yahoo! offers. This is a challenging time for media companies, and if Yahoo! wants to be a content provider, they face the same battles that all media companies are facing. How to deliver content that audiences want in a way that makes them choose your site over other similar sites. It’s a tough nut to crack, and Yahoo! has its work cut out for itself.

The lesson to learn from Yahoo!’s struggle is this: don’t forget your brand promise and when the time comes to revamp your brand promise, be ready to commit to that brand promise even if it means making significant changes to the way you do business.

The online audience isn’t going to slow down, and Yahoo! is running out of time to catch up. What do you think the future holds for Yahoo? Leave a comment and share your thoughts.

Image: stock.xchng

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Susan Gunelius is the author of 10 marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and technology books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, an award-wining blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for Entrepreneur.com and Forbes.com, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as MSNBC.com, BusinessWeek.com, TodayShow.com, and more. She has over 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include large and small companies around the world and household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more. Susan is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by television, radio, print, and online media organizations, and she speaks about these topics at events around the world. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.
 
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