You are currently browsing articles tagged yahoo.

Whoever invented the term “keywords” probably worked at Yahoo! in its heyday. Today keywords drive the monstrous SEO/SEM business but are getting out of hand when it comes to bidding wars in the Google-verse.

One of the things I’ve been focusing on with search for my brand consultancy is the “key phrase.”  The memeable phrase.  (FYI, a unique name such as whatstheidea, is a great brand start.) As a daily blogger and original content creator (Google “Posters versus Pasters”), I know that owning key phrases on Google and pointing them to my site is a great long-term traffic builder. Yes, it may take a while. Yes, I could speed it up with a black hat cowgirl at the controls. But I much prefer the slow, steady build. It feels cleaner. 

Key words are easy but lazy. Key phrases are rich, targeted and ownable. Think phrases!





Tags: , , , , , , ,

Yahoo 2016.

A couple of decades ago when the Internet was young I would go to Yahoo daily and check out the list of new websites publishing that day.  Every new website was listed on Yahoo (I can’t remember where) and as the number grew they were indexed by category. It was a raw way of seeing what was new on the web. Very wild west.

Then Yahoo became more of a portal, with a home page, news and other information utilities, e.g,. weather, stocks, etc.  Where Yahoo and Google diverged was in content.  Google kept to search and developed a wonderful advertising model while Yahoo meandered into news, entertainment, video and the like. Yahoo, in other words, tried to be an online newspaper, radio station, TV network and perhaps the world first amalgam of those things. Como se expensive? Advertising revenue grew and the company liked being in the content business but the business model was muddy. Not extensible. And expensive. What did Google do? Cleaner search and smarter ads.

Any hedge find worth its salt will tell you to focus. They look at trends and business fundies then pare, pare pare.  Starboard Value, pushing for dissolution of the Yahoo board, is no different. Starboard is the “stick” that will probably help Yahoo live on. I would counsel them, however, to bring in a brand strategist who can provide some depth to the decision they make. Yahoo is a powerful brand. It owns much space in the minds of consumers.  Don’t toss out that value, use it.





Tags: , , , , , , ,

I don’t like being a brand commentator, sitting on the sidelines sharing what’s wrong with brands, without offering something positive. And I feel that way with Yahoo! As a brand consultant, people hire me to help create brand strategy. Were Yahoo! to hire me, here’s what I’d do. (Earlier in the month I wrote about What’s The Idea? process which covers Discovery, Fermentation and Boil Down. Here’s how I’d handle Discovery.

I was watching cyber security conference video last week and a senior level Yahoo! Security officer was leading the talk. He was smart, witty, believable, and committed. He is what I call a Poster – someone willing to share and help the public learn. Sadly, this gentleman who has since moved on to a big job at Facebook, was stowed away at corporate not seeing the public light of day. With Yahoo!, often all we get as the viewing, investing and using public, is Marissa Meyer playing offense and defense. Mostly from a stage.

I suspect there are scores of people like this security office at Yahoo! and these are the people I would speak to in Discovery. These are the body organs that drive a brand. That fuel the brain. That feed the mouth.

At Yahoo! we’ve been getting a modicum of brain and a lot of mouth. A good brand discovery would help go all deep dish on the company.




Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

I talk to brand strategy clients in simple terms. Brand strategy — an organizing principle to improve product, experience and messaging — is the result of a bold down of consumer “care-abouts” and brand “good-ats.”

Looking at Yahoo, as it begins what appears to be the final stages of life as we know it, I’d like to suggest a couple of observations. Yahoo customer care-abouts include: communications, digital content (not TV content), immediacy and sports. Yahoo good-ats include: ad sales, consumer reach, brand, fantasy sports and  production.

When care-abouts and good –ats don’t align, you have product failure which leads to brand failure.

I was speaking with a start-up owner recently and told him, when dealing with brand strategy for nascent companies I “follow the patent.” For mature companies like Yahoo! with lots of twists, turns and portal creeps, I suggest go back to care-abouts and good-ats. Make tough decision. Toss a few babies out with the bathwater. And get your olfactory on. Imagine if Starbucks also served garlic bread.

Yahoo may have one last chance. If Ms. Mayer doesn’t focus, her company, a beloved company, will be sold for parts. Peace.



Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Wither Yahoo?

When was the last time you actually typed dub dub dub on your keyboard? Thought so. How about thumbed those keys on your mobile? Thought so. Yahoo needs a big shot in the ass. A story to break. A reason to visit. Now that it’s football season, I actually do spend some time on the Yahoo — on the Fantasy Football site. And I love their streaming Fantasy Football Live program Sunday mornings – but even that has been dinged by some silly heavy handed gimmicks called Daily Fantasy Price, moving them into the gambling business. But at least it’s a try. It’s something.  As for the rest of Yahoo: “ugotz.”  An Italian idiomatic phrase meaning nothing.

It’s hard to innovate when you don’t innovate. It’s hard to create best in class web content (which is just content now) when you don’t innovate. It seems that Yahoo if just putting its toys in a vessel and shaking them up.  It needs new toys. Yahoo needs to make news by making interesting new technology than becomes content. Look at the home page. What do you see?  I see the ’90s.




Tags: , , , , , , ,


Digital magazines? Search? Buying traffic? Mobile advertising? Alibaba? These are the things discussed yesterday on Yahoo!’s earnings call. A call that announced revenue up 14% but break even earnings.

A couple of years ago Marissa Mayer developed a strategy I thought was on the right track: Make Yahoo! a daily habit. Well it seems the habit is more like a nun’s head cover than a web business. Mobile apps are a good path but I’m not feeling any results. People with mobile phones have hourly not daily habits — and frankly those habits are wearing thin. How many Facebook and Instagram posts can a body look at during the day. Yahoo needs to find enthralling apps. Mobile apps than haven’t been done before. Content served in ways never seen before.

Yahoo is chasing TV (Fantasy Football Live) and magazines (Yahoo Food or something) which is just repackaging old stuff with some new sheen. Ms. Mayer needs to innovate. Not cross over. Not repackage. She must start with behaviors that are habit forming. She was on the right track but hasn’t landed on a breathtaking innovation. Keep after it Ms. Mayer. You are probably closer than you know. Peace.



Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Yahoo! Treading Water.

Yahoo! is sitting on a bundle of cash and according to news reports stockholders are clamoring for a payout. The cash is from holdings in Alibaba which just IPO’d. Marissa Mayer, Yahoo CEO, is being pressured to not spend money on purchases of other tech companies a la the huge Tumblr purchase — stock owners want dividend checks. Can’t really blame them.

Yahoo is a media company and a technology company. And frankly, they are not excelling at either. David Pogue is not happening. Katie Couric, not so much. The new digital food magazine is not burning down the house. And mobile first – I don’t really know what that means other than make stuff work on smaller screens and invent fun phone apps – is not delivering differentiated value at this point.

Ms. Mayer needs to tell investors “snookie, shut up and get in your bed.” She needs to put the check book away and stop looking to buy side view mirror tech companies (companies fast approaching from behind). Yahoo’s new strategy is “be part of people’s daily habits.” A nice start. But weather, food, tech news and the Middle East have been done. Yahoo needs to invent in areas that are not saturated. And big data is a good place to mine for behaviors and habits. Focus on daily habits, innovate around them and deliver under the Yahoo brand. First understand the habits, then understand the pent up demand, then turn the engineers loose. I get the feeling the engineers are defining the need, which is backwards.

Too much company time is spent reinventing not inventing. Peace. 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

When I do upstream brand work for companies my first deliverable is a brand brief. The brief creates an organizing principle articulating what a company does well and what consumers want most. The brief secret sauce is one claim and three proof planks. Claim and proof — organized proof — build brands.

When large businesses organize, they tend to follow a productized principle. HP has a PC business, a printer business and services business. Yahoo!’s latest organizing principle identifies search, communications and content. AT&T Business Services used to organize by inbound, outbound and data. This is how businesses organize. Organic, essential groupings that are clean, not messy and, likely, tied to line-of-business revenue.

This is not how brands strategy should be organized. What’s The Idea? uses brand planks that are benefit-driven. They may certainly offer a functional spin but always, always point to a consumer benefit. Unfortunately, when budgets are allocated for marketing efforts such as advertising, events and promotion, the money tends to come from functional/product areas and things gets messy. Product managers want product-based comms and the master strategy takes a hit. 

Now more than ever brand strategy needs executive buy-in and C-level champions.  Why are many CMOs unsuccessful? They are tacticians. They’re product pushers not brand builders.


Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Yahoo has once again gone public with its strategy; this time Marissa Mayer announced it at a presentation to advertising buyers in NYC.  (I once accused Yahoo of having a lazy eye and must admit my view hasn’t changed too much, but I still believe Ms. Mayer is the right person for the job.  In a previous blog post I noted she may be on to something with a the germ of a brand idea, but yesterday may have dissuaded me.)

Yahoo needs to step up its original content game. And yesterday she acknowledged “premium content” as one leg of the stool.  The other two legs being: innovation and performance. I’ve heard innovation before – What technology company doesn’t use that one? –but performance is new. But you can also drive a truck through it.  At least she didn’t hang a brand plank on advertising. Last time out she talked about mobile, but I guess that falls under innovation. 

Every house has a foundation.  Every company needs a business strategy and a brand strategy. What I’ve found out in my years as a planner and consultant is that creating the brand strategy first is the best way to build a business strategy — because it’s built on customers and endemic business value.  There I’ve said it. Come get me Harvard Business Schoolies.

Yahoo is making money. Diddling around with mobile.  Promoting Ms. Mayers in lovely ways. But it still does not have a brand strategy. Ask Gareth Kay. Search this site for all posts on Yahoo if you would like to see the history of missteps.  Yahoo is pulling its nose up (aviation metaphor)…it just needs more time and a tight brand plan. Peace.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

« Older entries