The Search Engine War: Yahoo’s identity Crisis in light of Google’s Victory


While many theories tried to explain Yahoo’s downfall in light of Google’s ascension, it is suggested that the difference in the companies’ brand tactics may be the most illuminating. While Google has aced brand strategy management, Yahoo has misstepped a definitive brand vision and the deficits have led to an identity crisis.

Brand mission:

Google’s brand mission is well-established and clearly stated: “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful”. Founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin crafted the mission in the company’s early years and, ever since, the organization has stayed committed to it. The statement is displayed on Google’s “About” page and regularly appears in company communication. However, Yahoo’s brand mission isn’t so clear, actually it isn’t to be found easily. An official mission statement doesn’t exist on its site, and its statements elsewhere were varied and often conflicting. The company lacks both a definitive description of what it does and why it does it.

Yahoo Reactive approach Vs. Google’s Proactive approach

Yahoo has been operating in reactive mode. For instance, the company’s shift to mobile was born out of obligation to catch up with the world, not out of opportunity to influence a change in the world. On the other hand, Alphabet was born from Google’s belief that over time “companies tend to get comfortable doing the same thing, just making incremental changes. But in the technology industry, where revolutionary ideas drive the next big growth areas, you need to be a bit uncomfortable to stay relevant.”

Yahoo Style vs. Google Substance

When Yahoo changed its logo back in 2013, it was merely an update of the old version, and it failed to communicate anything of substance. The announcement of the new logo described the design details but said nothing about the change in the brand experience itself. However, Google’s new logo came hand in hand with a clear message about the brand’s updated functionality. It explained, “Once upon a time, Google was one destination that you reached from one device: a desktop PC. These days, people interact with Google products across many different platforms, apps and devices. Today we’re introducing a new logo and identity family that reflects this reality and shows you when the Google magic is working for you, even on the tiniest screens.” 

We can easily derive from this that a company should know what its objective and mission and should have a clear brand purpose and future vision in order to focus on its people and resources and cater to the world’s needs.


The 6 tenets of Branding

Crafting your company’s brand image is the most crucial process in starting a new successful business and increasing the odds of maintaining it. Sometimes, the value of the brand become worth more than the hard assets of the company itself. By looking at the top global bands, we have defined six basic tenets of branding that apply across all types of businesses.


Be clear and consistent on what your brand is and is not. A solid brand vision leads every decision and action you take.

T-Mobile remained true to its promise of becoming the “Un-Carrier” in wireless, and it lived up to that vision by shying away from the traditional bugging long term contracts and predatory data plan. And it really worked as T-Mobile gained 1.1 million customers after announcing its strategy.


Strategies that break from norms can aspire an entire category to reconsider its behavior. Airbnb and Uber can be a perfect example here.


While it’s tempting to try to be everything to everyone, one of the most impactful ways to stand out in a crowded marketplace is to do one thing well. Vrai & Oro is a jewelry line that shucked the categorical norm of creating marked-up, seasonal items, focusing instead on a limited line of classic, timeless pieces, no gimmicks. The brand name translates to “truth and gold”.

Willingness to fail

Brand leaders must have a metric and key performance indicator to measure precisely the success or failure of each decision they make or campaign the launch and act accordingly to hone in on what is resonating with customers.

A clear, compelling message

Clear and consistent messages lead to clear expectations which lead to customers feeling empowered and loyal. Think about Apple and Disney. These brands stay on message, on strategy and on brand.


Big Ideas 

A revolutionary, innovative idea that evokes emotion can create brand loyalty in unexpected and lasting ways. The Spirits Company Johnnie Walker sponsored a gallery of “artwork not yet created” where ten artists displayed blank canvases, promising to produce incredible work upon them, and challenged buyers to buy the pieces in advance, taking a chance on talent. The auction sold triple the amount expected. By stepping out of its comfort zone with a big idea, Johnnie Walker humanized its brand and showcased the company’s “belief in people’s potential”.




Brand Gaga

Can celebrities be considered brands? Many researchers and marketers have defined brand and branding as the consumers’ perception of a product, service, or corporation. Brands are, however, not solely limited to these three. According to Gerrie Lim (2005), celebrities can also be considered brands, “there is an intriguing relationship between global celebrity culture and the phenomenon of branding. There is a sense of wonderment in the way certain people have become com-modified into products”. Many celebrities can be considered brands as a result of all the emotions, thoughts, images, history,  and gossip that surround them and they way they became internationally known. However, the way that lady gaga rose from obscurity to fame makes her an interesting brand to study. “As far as breakout musicians go, few artists have had quite the zero-awareness to ubiquity time- warp of Lady Gaga. As far as brands go, few marketers of any kind have leveraged social media the way she has to drive sales of their core product – in her case, albums and digital singles”. (Hampp, 2010, p. 42)

So how did Lady Gaga raise her awareness so quickly and how did she leverage her social media? The first fundamental element of her brand is the community that she built. Gaga’s niche was the gay consumers who became the root from which she blew up. If she failed to grow more famous, she still had loyal gay community supporting her with their large income. Despite the fact that she has become very famous now, she still is devoted to her gay fans. Gaga’s message was that it is acceptable to be different and people should be themselves no matter what. This message didn’t only appeal to her first niche, it resonated with nearly everyone.

When it comes to social media, Gaga has the power to make her messages seem personal even though she communicates with millions of people. For instance, she called her fans the “Little Monsters”, and tattooed this nickname on her arm, and then posted the picture with the caption “Look what I did last night. Little monsters forever, on the arm that holds my mic”.

Gaga’s social media strategy is very smart. She tends to understand people’s fears, motivations, and desires and uses this understanding to make her communication more effective and personal. She seems to have tapped into three human needs: having a personal identity and loving oneself, being understood and accepted, and being a part of something bigger than oneself, such as her campaign for gay rights and HIV prevention. These messages are consistent with all her social media outlets and the rest of her brand. Lindstrom posits, “Consistency! Consistency! Consistency! This is the mantra for success”. Last but not the least, her outrageous costumes, the way she portrays herself as a unique artists, and the fact that she puts herself constantly in the news are all features that made her a marketing phenomenon and a master at personal branding.

Lady Gaga’s blend of talent, smartness, and drive has empowered her to shape her brand into what it is today. She is not just book smart; she appears to be clever enough to read society well and sense what matters and appeals to people, and what will make them talk.

How Does Sephora Contours its Brand

Women are always fond of having best friends. The female bestie, diamonds, shoes, and bags are among their dearest pals. But, you know what else is considered as a woman’s best friend? Sephora. There’s a reason why we said Sephora and not makeup, it’s because of the distinctive approach that Sephora uses to merchandising that it has become an alternative to the word makeup. Sephora’s branches worldwide have the same store atmosphere that make every lady feels like she’s in heaven. The distinctive uniforms of the staff, their flawless makeup, the nightclub furniture, and the upbeat music create a laid back, consumer empowering atmosphere that isn’t found in any other store.

One of the best things that distinguishes Sephora is the luxury they give to their customers to try high end products without going through the stiff interaction that other beauty counters have. Ladies are given the freedom to hop from brand to brand, try products out at their leisure, get a splash of wow from makeup experts, and get free samples of whatever they want. Isn’t that awesome?

Sephora has its way of finding, and choosing the top emerging brands in the world. Unlike many retailers that have only private label assortments and one product line, Sephora acts as a cosmetic broker and can leverage the most thrilling lines from whichever brands. Also, Sephora’s has core competence exclusively selling exceptional top-brand products. In this commercial, we see that Sephora isn’t solely a makeup store. It is much much more than this. It is a conglomeration of skin care products, hair products, fragrances, brushes, accessories and more.

Among many other things that make Sephora stand out is their designated “Beauty Workshop” stations. Customers can watch tutorial videos and practice with Virtual Artist in order to learn professionally the more complex make-up applications like contouring for example. Furthermore, their mobile application gained a lot of recognition from digital innovation think tank ranking Sephora as top retailer brand.

The app allows users to get alerts about sales, new products, events, and to access the Sephora Virtual Artist. When in-store the user can use Apple Pay, scan a product to learn more about its reviews and ratings, and check how many loyalty reward points a product can give. Last but not the least, Sephora is very known for its gripping loyalty program that offers great awards like products, makeovers, makeup classes, and sampling new products. The program allows consumers to upraise to VIB (Very Important Beauty Insider) or to the VIB Rouge status with great associated benefits.