YouSendIt Rebrands to Hightail – Adopts New Marketing Strategy

In what can only be described as a bold marketing move by file sharing service formerly known as YouSendIt, the company has announced it is dropping the brand name by which their 43 million customers know them across the globe in favour of a new brand- Hightail.

I can certainly understand why they did this; it is yet to be seen whether they have done it in time.

About a year ago I began to notice less and less YouSendIt email links coming through my inbox and more links from competitor services such as Dropbox.

YouSendIt’s core service provision gives customers the capability to share files via downloadable email links. This prevents desktop based inboxes from self-destructing send and receiving large files. YouSendIt offers plugins to email clients such as Outlook which proved a significant innovation for its time.

Like any innovation in the fast paced cloud technology world of today, competitors began to emerge who could do that and a lot more.

Services like Dropbox and SugarSync offer the ability to quickly share files and, also act as your virtual hard drive/online back up at the same time. Their services are designed to be very simple and very clean – it’s a model which has proven incredibly popular with millions of tech savvy consumers.

As the popularity of services like Dropbox grew, their public relations / online marketing capability grew as well – every customer using their service became an email advocate and advertising to their colleagues, friends and family.

This type of added value competitive offering has left YouSendIt/Hightail customers out in the cold somewhat. Every additional step they need to take to share a file or minute they have to wait for a file to upload hampers the efficiency with which they can clear their inbox.

Hightail acknowledge in their recent blog the need to keep pace with competitive change and the reality that their YouSendIt name constrains the perception of their service offering.

The most disconcerting aspect of the competitive environment for YouSendIt/Hightail must have been the realisation that their arms length service was a remarkable disincentive for customer retention. With services like Dropbox, a business’s entire hard drive (over potentially several hundred GB of data) is entrusted to them.

The time intensive nature of researching and logistically transferring your files to a file sharing service makes you think twice – even if a superior offer comes along.

In comparison, it is easy to drop the arms length, YouSendIt/Hightail product in favour of other services. It was easy to become a customer but became just as easy to leave.

Hightail have announced their intention to reposition their brand with a new service offering. The new brand name is designed to remove the constraints of what this service can offer the market.

The question is, will the new service offering be enough to reclaim their share of the storage / sharing /syncing market?

I believe Hightail needs to offer lapsed customers a very shiny, new USP. Their communications plan to bring customers back will need to be just as shiny.