Friday, September 20

New Yahoo! Logo - Crowd Sourced

I've been watching the saga of the new Yahoo! logo with great fascination over the last couple of weeks.  I wasn't quite sure where I was landing on it, since truthfully logo changes are very hard to accept.  We get very used to a brand logo and it's uncomfortable to the eye and to the brand equity to suddenly change it up.

I decided to "crowd source" the topic with my graduate studies class at NYU to get a sense of what they think.  No surprise, they had definitive opinions, which I just knew would be the case.

Their first take was that this was news for news sake.  The brand doesn't have a lot to talk about, so let's talk about a new logo.  Fair enough, it did make for a lot of buzz just like when Gap and Starbucks launched new logos seemingly overnight.  Those were a bit of a shock and so was this one.

The class then quickly went to "doesn't she have better things to do?"  "She" of course is the new Yahoo! CEO, who has been in the news much more than the new logo.  She's a bold woman who hasn't kept away from bold moves, polarizing media (social and otherwise), consumers, and employees along the way.  The consensus was that a CEO shouldn't worry about a logo.

The last comment, which I found fascinating, was the CEO's apparent talk about creating the logo over the weekend with a girlfriend.  Not sure if that's completely true, but it is out there in social media so it's worthy of an opinion.  The class thought that her approach (and commentary) was disrespectful to the design and marketing community (which by the way is a part of the Yahoo! community), and completely denounced the creative process and all the work that goes into these kinds of initiatives.  I have to say that when I first heard this account, I had a similar reaction so I wasn't surprised to hear it from the class.  I've spent months redesigning and planning new logo launches ... they are indeed a lot of work.

While all of this is opinion, hearsay, and speculation, the truth is that a new logo is a new opportunity.  It should be taken seriously as a way to signal that your brand is evolving, and it can be a way to bring your customers along the journey with you.  Those who have done it successfully have created a entire plan around the development, launch, and rollout so as to incorporate it into a much larger initiative to propel the brand.  I hope that's the case with Yahoo!.

As a side note, I don't mind the logo really, but I do kind of like the version that leaked from the Yahoo! intern.  I thought that one was much more progressive.  Kind of made me want to "click" on it ... very smart.

What's your experience?  Jim.

Jim Joseph
- President, Cohn & Wolfe NA
- Author, The Experience Effect series
- Professor, NYU
- Contributor, Entrepreneur and Huffington Post

PS - My new book is out on Personal Branding!  The Personal Experience Effect!

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