Windows phone. Myspace. Two brands once ubiquitous, now barely hanging on. But both brands have undergone intriguing re-imaginations that not only aim to set themselves apart from the Apple’s and Facebook’s of the world, but in some senses they succeed.
But herein lies the problem – there can be only one! I know, they’re hardly competing with one another directly. But they’re competing much more broadly for the sympathies of the masses and pleading for re-admittance into the hallowed ground of “cool”.
Not many brands left for dead can claw their way back to cool. Especially in the finicky world of tech (Foursqaure, be warned, you’re up next). But why, you ask, can’t they both succeed?
Simply put, can you imagine anyone saying “Hey I gotta update my Myspace on my new Windows Phone”? Of course not! It’s just not very likely that the collective mainstream will re-embrace 2 fallen brands.
My guess is that Windows Phone 8 has the bigger bounce back. Microsoft is finally getting their act together in terms of consistency across platforms, so as Windows 8 gains market share and people get used to the “metro” interface their mobile platform won’t seem so alien. Plus, with Nokia, HTC and others seemingly making a legitimate push to produce hardware for Windows, they’ll at least have the ammo to remain on the scene for a couple years.
Myspace, on the other hand, is just in a tougher market. I like that they’re not trying to go head to head with Facebook (and to a lesser extent Google+), but instead they’re carving a niche as the entertainment network. Frankly, that was always the best feature of Myspace, so it makes sense from a branding perspective.
But is the world really ready for a social network that’s this narrow focused? Especially considering that music/movies/tv are plenty active on Facebook, etc. I have to admit, I like the re-design, I can see the beginnings of something kind of cool here. That said, I don’t think Myspace will ever be more than a niche network. And it’ll always be, at most, the #2 destination for entertainment news and sharing behind Facebook.
I think their only chance to carve out an existence is to get into content production. And by that I mean exclusive content just for the network. Stream live concerts, exclusive interviews, videos, etc. Essentially, become what MTV should be – the place to discover new music and immerse yourself in the bands you love. Hell, better yet, how about MTV buys Myspace? That’s a conversation for another day, but I can tell you that’d be a pretty killer entertainment media empire.