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Driving back from Hilton Head in South Carolina on the weekend, #24yrold asked me what I thought of the new branding for Yahoo! I hadn't given it much thought and had mainly seen press around the rebrand that was negative - aimed directly at Marissa Mayer.

My thoughts on Marissa Mayer are varied. Firstly, she should be applauded for her career achievements, ambitions and determination to clean up a company of Yahoo!'s magnititude. She is a woman who is held in high esteem amongst most women who want to climb the corporate ladder.  The downside of Marissa Mayer is that she comes across as arrogant, dominant and because she makes the hard decisions - not always in good favor with her colleagues.
How do you know its time for a rebrand? Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer tells her story

One thing that stands out for me though is her decision to make all employees work from an office. If I had children I would want to work a few days a week from home - so I get the backlash - but it is the people that don't utilize this time to actually work that have ruined it for others. I personally know people who work for large corporations from home and they spend much of their days doing things that have nothing to do with work. How they get by, I don't know.

Marissa (a first name basis for this blog!) wanted to inject some fresh visual interest into the vulnerable tech brand Yahoo! while keeping the familiar color and exclamation mark.

By launching a competition through design crowdsourcing service, Yahoo! launched a campaign that was capitivating for marketers around the world "30 Logo's in 30 Days". Some say that this was brilliant rebranding, others knocked it for the 90's look and feel. 

The design crowdsourcing service founder and CEO knocks people who say this, "they deserve praise not criticism for taking an innovative, super-analytical and even cool approach to their rebranding" he states in a recent blog.

The rebrand was supported by 87% of Yahoo! employees which is incredibly high especially in a company of that size.

The proof will be in the pudding - and I like most others in branding and marketing will be waiting to see how well received it is in the market.

When is the right time to do a brand refresh?

Companies do brand refreshes for many reasons. Yahoo! for instance knew that it was time for change. Their brand had become stale. Not too dissimilar to their tech giants like Motorola, eBay and Microsoft who rebranded their companies that were in dire need of change. Other companies large and small rebrand because there has been a merger, acquisition, deregulation, spin-off, re-organization or that they have introduced new products.

Is a rebrand changing a logo?

The simple answer is absolutely not! So many people that I speak to think that a rebrand is a change of a logo. If that is all you are going to do - then be prepared for disappointment. Your market won't think twice about it and it certainly will not effect your team and their performance. A logo change is a great place to start, but when rebranding you need to think past that and think about the story you want to tell and how you would like for it to be told. Think about your culture, attitude and what picture library communicates your new branding clearly. Think about what the key messages are that you and your team need to be communicating.

Questions that you need to ask yourself when you rebrand:

  • Do you have a simple brand story backed by an elevator pitch?
  • Is your story relevant?
  • Is this the same story that your customers tell?
  • Is this the same story that your employees tell?
  • Does the experience that people have with your company stand-out and create word-of-mouth marketing?

Of course there are many other questions you need to ask yourself, but this is a good start.

Don't change for change's sake

So many companies just change their brand because they become bored. Don't! Change your brand for a reason and make sure it is strategic. 

Who should I use to do my company rebrand?

This depends on who understands your business and where you are heading as a company and brand. While a large corporation may spend $200,000 plus for a logo, that doesn't necessarily mean it is better than the branding agency at the corner. Find a company that after you communicate where you want your brand to head, challenges you and makes it their own. Who listens, takes advice but ultimately will produce a well-thought through brand that is tried and tested on your target market. Make sure you don't focus too heavily on what you like for a rebrand, but instead, think about what your customers and prospects will most resonate with. When rebranding, make sure that your branding agency is talking to your marketing department and if you don't have one, bring a specific marketing manager in for the project. It will not only save you time and money, it will ensure that your brand connects with your target audience and that at the end of the day, the rebrand made you money - not cost you!
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Mellissah Smith

Mellissah Smith is a marketing expert with more than 20 years experience. Having founded and built two successful marketing companies internationally, she is well recognized as a industry thought leader and innovator. Mellissah started her career working with technology and professional services firms, primarily in marketing, public relations and investor relations, positioning a number of successful companies to list on the various Stock Exchanges around the world. She is a writer, technology developer and entrepreneur who shares her thoughts and experiences through blogs and written articles published in various media outlets. Brag sheet: #2 marketer to follow on Twitter (2003), Top 150 Marketers to Follow (2015), Top 10 innovative marketers (2014), 60K+ followers on Twitter with 97% authentic.

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