UK Yellow Pages owner Yell has announced it is to rebrand as ‘hibu’. Also this week, the company has reported a significant decline in revenues and the departure of Group Chief Marketing Officer Jenny Ashmore after just seven months.
Yell - which was one of the best known British online brands in the early days of the WordWideWeb - says the new name reflects its reinvention as an online marketplace for SMEs.
Results for the year ended 31st March 2012 show how current business is in decline, with revenue from print and other directories down 21% to £1,149m, and digital directories down 11% to £327m. The number of print advertiser client was down 14% to 1,030,000 and average revenue for these decreased by 7% to £980. Revenue from the group’s other digital services - such as web site design - grew by 112% to £134m, giving an overall decline of 14% to £1.61bn. EBITDA was down £47m but still healthy at £461m, while profit after tax and ‘before legacy issues’ increased by £222m to £269m.
Former British Gas, Shell and Procter & Gamble marketer Ashmore leaves after just seven months in the role, to 'pursue other interests', and group CEO Michael Pocock will take over marketing strategy for the time being.
Last July, the company announced what Pocock calls ‘a bold new four year strategy to transform the group’, and gave an apparent hint of what this could mean through a deal
with word-of-mouth agency Bazaarvoice to provide advertisers with analysis of online customer conversations, as well as insights about online consumer sentiment and behaviour.
The latest statement from the company says ‘we are developing innovative new products and we need a dynamic new brand to signal that we are a digital business of the future.’ Last month, Yell appointed
former Sitel exec Tim Schuh in the new role of Chief Customer Experience Officer.
Shareholders will get the chance to say what they think of the name change when approval is sought at the AGM on 26 July.
For the time being at least, Yell’s home page remains www.yell.com