Global Marketing

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.


One reply on “The Search Engine War: Yahoo’s identity Crisis in light of Google’s Victory”

Wow! The implications of this post are great! It really shows how important a proactive approach and clearly defined mission are. People are more likely to buy into a well established strategy than one that is messy. Not only that, but a clear brand image is key to sustainable success as well. Great post Lama!

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