Yahoo: 'Forget the PR buzz, we don't communicate unless we can add value'

PR director in charge of product launches says firm only communicates when it can add value to users, advertisers or investors.

Marissa Mayer has been Yahoo CEO for three years
Marissa Mayer has been Yahoo CEO for three years

The comms boss in charge of Yahoo’s global product launches has said a "disciplined" approach to PR has helped it cut through the clutter in the tech space and effectively target millennials, helping boost mobile users from 150 million to 600 million in three years.

Senior director of corporate communications, products and technology Arunav Sinha told PRWeek Asia the firm had maintained a "strategic" approach to communications despite the "massive turnaround" at the company since Marissa Mayer was named CEO three years ago.

"We have launched or refreshed almost every major product at Yahoo, such as mail, the homepage, and mobile products such as Yahoo weather. We have also launched a number of new products such as News Digest and Aviate, which have kept us extremely busy," he said.

"However, we want to make sure we are not just creating buzz or visibility, we need [our communication] to have some value and inform either a user, investor or advertiser."

Sinha, who previously managed Yahoo’s PR in India and then South East Asia, said the company’s comms approach had been transformed in the last couple of years, moving a way from a strategy which was driven by press releases targeted at mainstream media outlets, to a more diverse approach.

"We have also dramatically changed how we make our choice of media outlets. Instead of just going to traditional media outlets based on reputation, we are making sure we are in the places where millennials consume content.

"The second part of the story is how we are using owned media. We are very active users of social media as well as our own blog sites where we have a very strong following."

What he refuses to do, however, is to get drawn in to speculation about new Yahoo products and technology, even when they are being tested in trial markets.

"We will always be experimenting with new products," he said. "But We don’t want to become part of the speculation when we have nothing to say. We communicate when we can add value to users, help advertisers or add clarification for investors. If not, we do not communicate. We are very disciplined around that."

A full feature with Sinha will appear online in the coming weeks

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