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.
- YouSendIt was by no means an old brand, but perhaps the owners felt that the utilitarian, outdated interface of the site was preventing them from attracting new and younger customers.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.
- 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.