Corporate Eye

Yahoo! Tries to Regain Cool Factor with Younger Audiences

arrows differentYahoo! wants young people to think it’s cool. That’s a strategic priority for the company according to CFO Ken Goldman who told the audience at the J.P. Morgan Global Technology, Media and Telecom conference in Boston on this week that Yahoo! is launching marketing campaigns directed at the 18 to 34 year old audience. The new marketing initiatives will make the Yahoo! brand more visible and spread the word about new products on outdoor billboards, sporting events, and other places.

Goldman explained, “Part of it is going to be just visibility again in making ourselves cool, which we got away from for a couple of years.”

While Goldman didn’t share budgets or timing of the new marketing push, he did admit that there will be significant advertising spending across a variety of media and channels to spread the cool brand message. The question is whether or not Yahoo! can back up its claims of coolness among the 18-34 year old audience. It’s likely this audience doesn’t remember the early days of the Yahoo! brand when it was known as the main competitor to Google’s search engine. Instead, many members of this audience associate the Yahoo! brand with curated and syndicated content, low quality content provided by writers who are paid little or nothing at all, and a lot of clutter.

I want Yahoo! to succeed, but is it too soon to hype the “cool” message? Yes, the company has a young CEO in Marissa Mayer who is known for her digital product development prowess, but does her presence equate to instant coolness? Will the younger demographic make that leap?

In life and in branding, you need to earn a “cool” reputation. It doesn’t come easily, and actions speak louder than words. It’s the perfect time for Yahoo! to make some bold moves (and I don’t mean eliminating telecommuting). Many of the dominant online brands have been at the top of their respective markets for a while, and consumers are ready for the next big thing. Can Yahoo! bring it? One thing is for certain—the brand that delivers the bold new products and online experiences will be cool.

What do you think?

Image: Ilker

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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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