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Myspace and brands

May 25, 2006

As Myspace’s audience share continues to accelerate, it’s become hard to ignore and tempting for everyone to climb aboard the bandwagon, including politicians and the church. While politicians and the church may turn up some noses, it’s a reality that communities are built around those entities.

Remember, the beauty of MySpace is that it currently is a permission-based environment. Members seek out the things that interest them and add them to their pages. There is some advertising and there will be more, but again, because the average My Space user has submitted a profile as long as their arm, it can be finely targeted.

So how do brands play in this environment?

Influx believes the answer is very cautiously. It’s a little like the whole debate over consumer generated media, where success depends on having enough passionate brand evangelists to lend volume and credibility to your efforts. Influx finds it hard to think about banks, insurance companies and most packaged goods companies building their own brand pages, but Ben &Jerry’s could probably get away with it. It’s tempting for many of these companies to consider using their fake advertising properties to personify them e.g.- Tony the Tiger gets a Myspace page, probably not right.

Here are some categories that Influx believes could work on MySpace:

Automotive:Many auto brands have huge fan bases and communities built around them.

Documentaries:Al Gore’s new doc is a great example, it’s built around a single idea and it’s activist in its goals. It naturally lends itself to the site, and of course, Paramount understood that.

Books, Authors, TV Shows:Like music, there are communities built around authors and reading clubs built around books. The power of the TV show fan online has been well documented and obviously makes sense on Myspace.

Tourism:Tourism boards should have pages to support their geobranding efforts, but they need to make them more interesting than their websites.

Brands with causes built into their DNA: American Apparel, CurrentTV, Patagonia, Body Shop.

Brands with a living human being very much behind them:-They could use MySpace to bring the founder to the fore and humanize the brand- dozens of fashion brands could do this from Prada tp Armani and Jill Sander. However, this would need to be done in a really clever and creative way, so it doesn’t mess with the brand image. Offering people a chance to peek inside the creaitve process might be an interesting way to go.

Sports Teams:– Most of them have fans.

So before jumping out of the plane onto the Myspace bandwagon, do a quick check to make sure your brand is appropriate. If your brand is right, there is no doubt that Myspace could become an important and powerful part of your communication mix. However, you still need to remember this is not branding as usual.

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