I’ve often written about my belief that the past couple of years of interactive invention and implementation has left us with a compelling, dynamic, yet very messy morass of offerings – be it in the realms of SaaS, Apps, Social Media platforms and services, or otherwise. My recent comments in The Global Human Capital Journal underline this perspective, most especially when I stated “…2009 was the year of acquisition of market share, and I want to see 2010 become the year of refinement and quality of service. Many ventures will focus on quality, and those that do not will be left in the dust by consumers no longer willing to put up with anything but the highest levels of product and solution service…”.
From a B2C point of view, the diversity of Must Have indulgences has become dizzying, and this is without even considering the overwhelming deployment of updates that each of these applications rolls out. I sense that the consumer has reached a point of saturation, and whichever company identifies and implements the first aggregation and simplification of social media tool-sets will gain the type of foothold that secures fortunes for decades (the equivalent of 20th Century millennia).
Recent announcements by MySpace are further cementing my convictions. The company is scrambling to maintain (or is it “return to”?) relevance, and operating under the mistaken belief that activity will keep it afloat, regardless of the longer term value of that activity.
Putting band-aids on a life-threatening wound is just as bad as “moving deck chairs on the Titanic”…and to stretch the cliched metaphor even further, I posit that sometimes a body adrift in the ocean would do better lying on its back and preserving energy while it orients itself, instead of maniacally treading water…
MySpace has spent the past couple of years seriously fumbling, for a variety of reasons. It needs to accept that its emotional stock valuation (its appeal with the user-base) is at rock bottom and, consequently, give itself the time to reorient its long term strategy, based on solid data (as opposed to hurried reactions to the latest perceived threats). If there is one thing its association with NewsCorp should provide, it is leeway. The MySpace brand will not suffer any more than it already has, if it slows down its profile.
NewsCorp should give MySpace 6 months to develop and present a coherent long term business strategy which, once approved, should deploy a clear and actionable short term strategy (another 6 months at least), including marketing, rebranding (if deemed necessary), infrastructural reorganization, technology innovation and differentiation (what can MySpace offer that everyone using FB grumbles about? How can MySpace take advantage of this point in Social Media evolution to propel itself once more in to a lead position? – might I suggest aggregation/amalgamation of services and escalation of ease-of-use? The First 200M FB users were adopters accustomed to extrapolating the value of a new emerging technology. The next 100M are struggling with the value, but committed to “making it work” for them, and the last 100M are having a REALLY tough time understanding how FB should be used in their daily lives. Just ask your parents! ).
Enough of this revolving door management theatrics. Sign some long term (5 year) contracts with some serious talent. Every action is either strengthening or diluting the brand. The former only happens after a period of instability, the latter can happen immediately. If Murdoch can implement 10-year plans for his company, why not MySpace? Only long term strategic redevelopment can save this brand. The next year is going to be very tough, and if management focuses primarily on the short term, it will fail. Whether NewsCorp has the patience to accept long term strategy is a whole other story…