Why Yahoo!’s Logo Does Not Matter

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Much of the media, and some analysts who follow Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ: YHOO), have become wildly excited about the new design of the portal company’s logo. As if it mattered. The Financial Times went so far as to report that the “redesign of the company’s logo — unveiled this week — has been widely scorned.” By whom? Once observers exhausted one set of things to say about Yahoo!’s operations, clearly they had to find another.

Yahoo! placed itself at a disadvantage on the logo commentary front because its CEO Marissa Mayer has not been seen neatly dressed in a national magazine or on TV. After what seems to be dozens of M&A transactions, the public corporation’s acquisition machine has become mostly dormant. The composition of the company’s board has not changed in a few weeks, after years of frequent changes. No major shareholders have dumped their positions, as Dan Loeb of Third Point has. The news that Yahoo! sites have more unique visitors than Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) sites is weeks old. Not much is left, if the press and analysts want to maintain some level of buzz about Yahoo!

The logo change debate has gone on for years. Coca-Cola’s logo has remained mostly unchanged for a century. Perhaps that helps consumers identify the soft drink, as if people do not know what a Coke is. Ford’s logo as been about the same since the early 1900s. Maybe that allows buyers to differentiate its cars from Chevy’s. The Quaker Oats logo is pretty much the same as its was generations ago. So is McDonald’s.

At the other end of the spectrum, Google changes its logo several times a year as it celebrates holidays and the obscure birthdays of people its management thinks are famous, even if most of the public never knew these people at all. Kodak altered its logo as it emerged from Chapter 11. It might want customers to forget it went into bankruptcy. The logo, of course, will change that. American Airlines has a new logo, now that is has come out of Chapter 11 too.

Yahoo! has a new logo. Most likely, few Yahoo! users have noticed. But everyone else, especially those who have nothing else to do, have.

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