Recently, I read an article in BusinessWeek about AOL’s new plan for reinvention.  One point in the article particularly struck me as odd: Armstrong says that their plan for building awareness of the AOL brand is to use their existing advertising inventory?  But that doesn’t make sense to me: why build the AOL brand among people who are already using their sites?

And, to go even further, who really cares about the AOL brand anyway?  If anything, I think it’s more of a liability to them then an asset.  Yahoo has built goodwill and awareness of their brand over many years, while AOL is in a uniquely down position.  Perhaps they would do better to jettison the AOL moniker, or at least not play it up, and instead focus on building the brands of their individual web properties.  Those brands could be valuable themselves and fetch higher prices upon divestiture if they’re easily divorced from the AOL name.

Perhaps AOL could be similar to IAC: the name is known, but they build individual sites as brands themselves, rather than wrapping it all up in some unifying IAC umbrella.  AOL could do the same.

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