Corporate branding gone awry

TIM FAULKNER — Elinor Mills of CNET details the puke-worthy internal branding and evangelism conducted at Yahoo as proclaimed (presumably proudly) by Cammie Dunaway, chief marketing officer at the second-place search company, during her keynote speech at the Liquid Agency Brand Summit 2007.

Yahoo offers contests for the most dedicated evangelist among its 13,000 global employees [...] Employees who do things like ask people who don't work for Yahoo "Do you Yahoo?", memorize the company's mission statement and wear Yahoo gear to the office for a day can win trips paid for by the company, she says. Even visitors to Yahoo offices see purple everywhere, from the oversize, purple velvet seats in the lobbies to the purple sprinkler heads in the lawns as the company tries to embed its purple, fun image into people's consciousness.

Apparently, the monoculture of IBM is not dead. It's been Barney-fied, reborn cheesy and annoying — I mean "fun". I hope Cammie understands anyone coming up to a stranger asking, "Do you Yahoo?" is going to be turned away, if not assaulted, quicker than a purple Jehovah's witness, not perceived as "brand marketing savvy."

It's rumored that Jeff Weiner, Yahoo golden child, is even printing a Little Purple Book so that the purple masses can imprint and recite in chorus the new corporate mission statement: "To connect people to their passions, communities, and the world's knowledge... To connect people to their passions, communities, and the world's knowledge... To connect people to their passions, communities, and the world's knowledge..."