Ya-Who?

Recently we shared our thoughts on the ‘risky-but-not-really’ rebranding of global cyber-security provider Intel Security to McAfee. If you haven’t read it yet, here is a link.

 The McAfee example is a really interesting look at the what/why/when/how behind the decision to rebrand. The case study was so fascinating that it set me to thinking about rebranding in general - in particular, what is lost versus what is gained in terms of brand equity. Here are my thoughts on one recent high-profile rebrand - Yahoo.

Yahoo is now Altaba. Yes, you read that correctly - Altaba. I almost don’t have words for this, but here goes…

I get that Yahoo’s stake in Alibaba was a key driver behind this new name and I get that a lagging brand like Yahoo could do much worse than to realign itself with a skyrocketing-value brand like Alibaba. But despite the failure of its online service, the Yahoo brand itself still had value. What about the iconic, fun-spirited, catchy and highly memorable qualities captured by the name alone? What about that half-yodeling bit of sonic branding we ALL remember from the early 2000’s - “Ya-hoo-oo”? I mean, was Yababa even considered? How about “Alihoo"? Did the renaming need to be such a far departure from the whimsical original and if so, what happens to any remaining brand equity when the rebrand is complete?

I suppose we will have to wait and see how the Altaba brand comes to life in the coming months before we can answer these questions. Whether you understand, like or dislike the new name, the example is an interesting one and I’m curious to see how it unfolds. But for what it’s worth, I will miss that old Yahoo yodel and the fun exclamation point in the brand mark. And I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one.