STEVE MORRISON, Director of Corporate Programs, Phase Two
It will be months before Yahoo!'s new CEO is selected. As the company's
face, voice and vision, that selection is critical. Meanwhile,
Yahoo! has a great brand, 185 million users and smart, talented
employees other than Tim Koogle who built the brand and customer base
Yahoo! may be in the same boat with all the other dot-coms whose
valuations plunged, but it's not the Titanic, and Yahoo! is still riding
in first class. Yahoo!'s PR team must generate proof points that the
company remains healthy and has a great future. It should showcase its
outstanding people and muster its allies. It must guard against circling
the wagons. It must carefully manage the CEO-successor buzz and avoid
creating excessive expectations.
And once the selection is made, it must quickly identify the new CEO's
strengths and vision, show how Yahoo! impacts the world and get the CEO
out there telling the story.
TODD DEFREN, Managing Director, Sterling Hager
Yahoo!'s business options are more clear-cut than its PR options.
Pundits have suggested business strategies from the simplistic, 'Make a
Period.' to the intriguing, M&A. Either of these suggested strategies
would help Yahoo! in its PR dilemma, but neither is imminent. Meanwhile
it's critical that Yahoo! - a bellwether stock for the Internet - shore
up its reputation. So, what should the company do? Fire Yang & Filo.
They deserve both kudos and walking papers. Hire a business-and-media
savvy, 'doer'-style CEO like Gemstar's Henry Yuen. Focus on
fundamentals, like the darned search engine, and cut away
Then, Yahoo! should unabashedly hype its back-to-basics approach: the
poster child for the new economy must warmly embrace the new
STEVE ROSSIE, Public Relations Specialist, Siddall, Matus & Coughter
Yahoo! still has one of the top brand identities in the so-called tech
sector. It still is the leading portal, is content rich and has numerous
attributes on which it can trade. But the misconception is that it is a
'tech' firm. It is a media company. The Web is a medium. AOL knew that,
thus its merger with a conventional media giant to round out its
So Yahoo! needs to reposition itself as a media outlet to increase its
acceptability across a larger spectrum of potential users, advertisers
and content providers. This will enhance revenue streams through
e-commerce, advertising and content partnerships. Being what you truly
are - and increasing your value - is the best form of credibility.
RICHARD LAERMER, CEO, RLM Public Relations
It's unfortunate there is bad news for Yahoo!, but bad news for them
exists in a dot-com fish bowl! We know that honesty and plenty of
communication are the keys to moving forward and reducing further
damage. Management officials must grab an influential reporter and tell
their story about how the company's 'cool' culture conflicted with
building the brand into what it should have - and still can - become: a
mature business! 'It's all changing - Yahoo!
has grown up!' We at RLM hope the company takes its time in seeking a
new CEO. Once she is found, her hire must be carefully publicized, in a
way that reflects the new values, the new economy, the new experiences
at Yahoo! and the new brand concept. A crack PR staff will ensure that
the company aggressively rebrands and gets beyond that 'portal thing,'
while positioning itself as a premier destination, something you
can't-do-without thanks to the foundation on which it was built.