Branding on Myspace.Com
By: Michelle Edelman


On myspace today, a banner appears:

NYC Fashion Week, Spring 2007 Collections. From the runway to backstage, get your fashion fix here.

In this “noncommercial” social network, a full one-third of the homepage real estate is now promotional material. What gives?

What gives is that myspace.com has successfully evolved from a micro blogosphere to a mass medium. Branding can and should be done on myspace, but it’s not classical “branding” like you’d learn about at a desk at Wharton. This is dynamic branding.

Let me explain. When someone such as myself writes traditional advertising, we think of what single thing we want to say to our target audiences so that, given a certain number of paid impressions, that idea sinks into the collective populace and starts to produce sales. We think of an image that will rest in people’s minds as compelling and representative of the brand, like the iconic Coke bottle or the still images from iTunes.

When we look to extend brands on myspace, it’s a whole different ball game. Our brands should not look to create a single impression for many, but a myriad of relationships and images for the people who will befriend us. We need to speak in a different language… shorthanded language. The language of friendship is briefer, more intimate, and it constantly changes. It can have typos, for gosh sake! It’s not the pristine world of the print ad. That’s why some brands, like Walmart, have failed in myspace: by throwing their .com microsite content into myspace, Walmart is saying, “We don’t want to know ya. We just want to sell ya.”

Another big difference is in measuring what you’re going to get from presence on myspace. You are putting your brand out there not to be the biggest and the best among target audiences you can select from media tools, but to garner relevance among people that choose you. This idea of relevance seems like a big risk to marketers. In fact, Rob Frankel calls myspace a branding failure for this reason. Is it a failure, or simply another medium whose terms we must learn to understand and embrace in order to succeed? A brand could benefit by having more consumers who know them more intimately. Maybe brand loyalty is going to make a terrific comeback due to myspace!

A third topic that stupefies marketers is the notion of “going where the money is.” If myspace is full of people who are still primarily students, why bother with them? Shouldn’t you go where the money is, instead? Problem with this logic is that not only are kids more monetarily endowed nowadays, they’re the adults of the future. They’ll work at your company and be in the market for the stuff you sell. Befriend them early and they’ll remember you later.

At NYCA, many of us have created our own myspace accounts so we can start to really understand the people who swear by it. We know this may end up being the way to grow some of our clients’ businesses, and we’re looking for inspired ideas from the source itself.

Branding on myspace? Btr gt used 2 it, frnd.

About The Author

Michelle Edelman is vice president/director of planning at NYCA, a full-service marketing agency that grows businesses with inspired ideas. NYCA has grown business for clients like TaylorMade Golf, San Diego Convention and Visitors Bureau, Rossa Putters, Maxfli Golf, ViewSonic Corp., The San Diego Union-Tribune, SignOnSanDiego.com, The EastLake Company, Kyocera Wireless, DIRECTV, Penta Water, National City Mile of Cars, AutoAnything, First Dental Health, TaylorMade Performance Labs, and others. To find out how NYCA can grow your business, log on to http://www.nyca.com

This article was posted on October 09, 2006
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