What's In a Name? YouSendit Is Now Hightail

 width=Last month, the durable file sharing service, YouSendIt, changed its name to Hightail. Up there with GoToMeeting, YouSendIt was a mainstay in the businessperson’s daily arsenal. It was no frills, easy to use and had achieved the pinnacle in product naming — a highly recognized verb-able name. “I’ll ‘YouSendIt’ to you” had become a common phrase in office places. So, why now — almost 10 years into existence — would they change their name?

On the surface, I like the name Hightail. I even like the new logo and branding. But was it really necessary? And was it potentially a mistake? Let’s look at the pros and cons.

Pros

  • YouSendIt was by no means an old brand, but perhaps the owners felt that the utilitarian, outdated interface of the site was preventing them from attracting new and younger customers.
  • The concern above could have been compounded with the emergence of a rapidly growing competitor, Dropbox. The re-brand to Hightail did open the door for a drastic overhaul of the former YouSendIt experience.

Cons

  • They’re compromising a decade’s worth of brand equity. People equated YouSendIt with file sharing. It was an accepted brand. And I’d argue that they didn’t care what it was called — they just cared that it worked.
  • I really doubt that Hightail as a name is going to catch on with the business audience. Hightail won’t turn customers away, but I just can’t picture a professional saying “Hightail it to me.” It just sounds too trendy. I’ve used Hightail several times since the name change, and I have still yet to call it Hightail.
  • The cost. With Dropbox and others nipping at their heels, surely the investment made in the Hightail re-branding could have been better spent. Why not focus solely on improving user experience and mobile accessibility?

Overall, I think the name change was a mistake, but not one that will negatively impact Hightail’s business. People will continue to use Hightail because it’s a needed service and it works, not because they like the name.

Comments

  • Craig O'Neal says:

    I totally agree with Andrew’s take on this. It is easy for a client to become tired and/or bored with their name and then get nervous when watching what’s unfolding in the competitive environment. Time can be one of the biggest contributors to the power of a brand (brand equity) and to now flush all of this, in my opinion, is a mistake. Unless there is going to be a significant change in the offering or shift in the direction of the company, there really doesn’t seem to be a strong, fundamental reason to change.


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