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What may have Prompted Yahoo! to invest in $ 100 million branding campaign?

The Big Three Brands of Internet Google, Yahoo and MSN have always been in the news dominantly on comparative basis. The internecine war for more exposure and consumer acquisition has lasted for years. Today is no exception. The newly appointed CEO (January, 2009), Ms Carol Bartz on behalf of Yahoo has announced a $100 million global branding campaign to revamp Yahoo’s brand. But what calls for such a high profile campaign, which incidentally happens to be the biggest in the 14 yr old company history?

Google is a completely innovation centric company, with an internal focus on increasing Advertising revenue. There is no doubt that it is the undisputed winner in Search field. Backed by an excellent Search Engine and several other innovative non-search initiatives, the company manages to stay in news and thus in consumer’s mind when they think Search. The company’s recent upgrade to Translation plug-in has been making Wow rounds all over.

MSN, on the other hand, of recent has managed to slightly revive through the $100 million budget to build awareness of its new brand of search engine, Bing. Bing raised a wave of advertisements and conversations over the Internet and has only benefitted by the hype in terms of increased market share. Unlike Google though, MSN is a much more perfect competitor for Yahoo, with both the companies locking horns in practically every content-based and mobile-services industry. If MSN has Hotmail, Yahoo has ‘Y! Mail’. If MSN has a Web Messenger, Yahoos’ got to have one.

With so much going on at MSN and Google, Yahoo had been over shadowed and nudged away into the corner. Several studies have revealed that consumers (especially the ones who would not strongly recommend a brand to their networks but still like to use it) have a tendency to easily switch brands. According to a recent New York Times report, the company’s market share has been steadily declining and giving in space to MSN’s aggressive marketing. Ms Bartz at Yahoo may have sensed this and thus decided to ring Landor Associates (a renowned consulting firm) to form up a strategy to revitalise the brand, ‘Yahoo’.

What is interesting about this campaign is that Yahoo has decided to attack and differentiate themselves from both MSN and Google indirectly if not directly in the campaign. Firstly, the $100 million dollar budget (which matches MSNs budget for BING) talks to MSN face-to-face, communicating, “Hey you (MSN), If you can spend, so can we. “ And secondly of course its CEO Ms Bartz stating, “They aren’t us and we aren’t them” when prompted with a comparison proving Google’s domination on Search.

About the Campaign (As reported by the NY Times)

Yahoo’s new tagline, “It’s Y!ou,” with Yahoo’s classic exclamation point stuck between the “Y” and the “ou,” is intended to echo changes in its leading products, like its home page, mail and search services, which have become easier to personalize.

“Yahoo has evolved over the last 14 years as the Internet has evolved,” said Ms. Bartz on Tuesday, when the company unveiled its campaign during events for Advertising Week. She also added that Yahoo would continue to work on making it easier for users to combine information about the world, long a staple of Yahoo. “More and more we are going to focus on the ‘you’ side,” she said.

The marketing campaign, which will include television, billboards, print and online components, has a number of related catchphrases all meant to emphasize the message, including “The Internet is under new management, yours,” and “The Internet has a new personality, yours.”

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