We have to go back to the beginning of 2002 for a minute in how MySpace was created before we can understand the present relaunch branding and marketing efforts of 2013.

In 2002, Friendster came out as a massive social networking portal, mainly it became popular for an underground networking source for then, the niche market of the popular punk rock scene for music and popular way to spread music. Friendster then had numerous server issues, it kept crashing all the time, creating an awful user experience for the members, and leaving a negative brand experience to the users.

Then MySpace was born in 2003, it was cleaner, faster, and the servers stayed on, all the users from Friendster switch to MySpace within weeks. MySpace got bigger and bigger, but with no real business direction other then a copy of Friendster, they were eventually going to fail.

Then in 2005, MySpace got bought out by Fox for $580 million, possibly the biggest mistake any organization can do. If you can see the writing on the wall, it’s only a matter of time that another social networking website can come behind MySpace with a cleaner, simplistic with brand trust and takes their users. No amount of capital, expertise or creative inspiration can fix that unfortunate outcome.

So guess what happens next, Facebook opens up the gates to everyone to join Facebook (not just college and high school students) and it surpasses MySpace in users, overnight MySpace was a losing brand. In 2011, Justin Timberlake, after playing Sean Parker in The Social Network, decides to buy MySpace along with another media company for $35 million, hoping they can rejuvenate the dying social networking venture.

Now its 2013, MySpace tries to do a redesign focused on a tablet website format for web, mobile and marketing efforts which is noble. MySpace only purpose was to be a stepping stone, to the next step in social networking, they were never intended to be major players, as they were riding the wave with no partnerships, vision or creative direction.

Here is why the recent branding and marketing efforts of MySpace could fail, and I will offer possible solutions to help MySpace and hopefully stop them from spending $20 million marketing ad campaign before it’s to late.

Brand Experience. Since majority of their users and the public remember MySpace as a failed brand that did not capture the audience with innovation, their users were forced to make the transition to Facebook. Solution: Scrap MySpace and think of a new name and brand, so the users get a fresh start, with a new idea and direction, you already have the users, you would be steering them to a better direction and hopefully have a better competition with Facebook.

Brand Identity. MySpace has tried to redesign their logo multiple times, thinking this might spur the interest of their users. A new logo does nothing, if the services being offered are the same, and they have no solution or product to offer with the revamp logo or UI design. Solution: A new brand identity is needed with a new name using the same niche but a different avenue.

Niche Marketing. MySpace had a very niche following, for bands and people to upload music and create dialogue, then they turned more into a mainstream social networking website. Majority of their users went to other web portals to showcase their music and social networking. Solution: They should of either partnered with Apple, Pandora and YouTube to create a digital media portal for new or existing artist, not to mention have a sub-site for social networking for the current users, so they would have some options, not just digital music social portal.

Brand Strategy. MySpace never really had a brand strategy they relied too much on what their users wanted, instead of innovating and partnering with other brands to help MySpace’s brand trust and integrity. Solution: The flaw with MySpace’s brand strategy is that designing products or services that the user only wanted at that time. The problem with this is that users tend to change their minds when something better comes along, so you have to always be a step ahead of your consumers and keep their attention towards your brand with relevant updates such as website additions, social media, YouTube channel.

It remains to be seen whether the company can change the public perception of rebranding MySpace. As the company new co-owner’s Chris Vanderhook and Justin Timberlake are trying everything they can to revive it.

I would like to see MySpace succeed at some level as they are one of the creators of social networking, but all good things come to an end so they can be rebuild, remember Bebo? AOL made the same mistake as Fox, but it cost them $850 million. Some people blame it on the dotcom era, I blame it on people not thinking long term and not creating partnerships with businesses.

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