In the first quarter of 2001, Verizon Information Services rolled out SuperPages as the new brand identity for its print directory products. At the time, the concept of applying an Internet brand name to an offline directory was unusual, and in an April 2001 Advisory, Kelsey Report Senior Analyst Charles Laughlin lauded the decision as "a logical move in progressing toward a single platform-independent brand."
However, we also pointed out that "the migration involves some risk. Products that share a brand are only as strong as their weakest link." In order to succeed, SuperPages.com required significant marketing expenditures to create both a strong image and a relationship to Verizon. As it turns out, Verizon did not give the SuperPages brand the backing it needed and some said SuperPages.com wasn't seen as the incumbent Yellow Pages.
To remedy this, the corporation made the decision to focus on the corporate name and to re-emphasize Yellow Pages. The lack of support behind the SuperPages brand will most certainly have a negative impact on both the Internet Yellow Pages product and future related local search. It seems that the decision was made to back the profitable old horse instead of the promising young colt.
"Branding and the Future of Search Marketing" is a super session at the upcoming Kelsey Group Drilling Down on Local conference that will be held next week in Santa Clara. It will be interesting to hear what this group will think of Verizon's decision.