Marissa Mayer was clearly trying to make her mark on the company by changing the logo and giving it her own personal touch.
And while Yahoo succeeded in getting a lot of attention and PR. The 30 days of logos created a media frenzy for the big reveal.
Yahoo’s redesign ultimately failed in my opinion because the big reveal wasn’t very exciting. (Reminded me of the Segway launch!)
The new logo lacks the weight and uniqueness of the old. Change for change sake isn’t smart marketing.
Changes should only be undertaken for a specific reason. Logos sometimes need minor tweaks to stay current, but major changes should be driven by strategy not design.
In branding it is always: strategy first, design second.
Before they ever thought about what to do with the logo. Marissa first needed to answer this: What is a Yahoo!?
What is a Yahoo is the problem at Yahoo. I have no idea what it is. Nor to most people.
No big brand was ever built unless it stood for something.
Google is search. Facebook is social networking. Twitter is short messaging.
Marissa has done a lot of busy work, buying 17 companies, changing the logo, cleaning up the homepage. But you can’t buy your way to success. Is buying Nokia going to help Microsoft? I don’t think so.
Changing the logo doesn’t change the fact most people can’t tell you what a Yahoo is.
A logo is even more important for an internet brand since the company has no physical real world presence. Brands like Yahoo, Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Twitter are basically identified by visuals alone to establish their brand in the mind of the consumer.
The logo that does it the best is Twitter. They have not just the logo, but the Twitter bird visual hammer that communicates the core idea of Tweets.
Yahoo has the exclamation point. But who knows what that means? It’s no visual hammer.
My advice to Marissa would have been this: Let’s sit down and first figure out what a Yahoo is. How can we focus and then verbalize what this brand stands for? Once we know that, then we can look at the logo and see what changes if any should be made.
The good news is that Yahoo didn’t go totally overboard with the changes like Tropicana, the Gap or JCPenny. Radical changes like those freak consumers out. When you change a logo that drastically it instantly loses its authenticity.
The change Yahoo made hasn’t totally destroyed it authenticity, but it has weakened it unique identity. And over time as people forget the old Yahoo, the new one looks rather generic. And people still won’t know what a Yahoo is.