长期品牌记忆。这个教训是专门针对那些拥有悠久历史的老品牌的：要记住，通常说来，创立一个新的品牌所获得的回馈，要大于投资于一个现有的品牌。例如谷歌（Google）推出了Google Plus这个新的社交平台，而不是投资改进现有的Buzz或Orkut。美国在线（AOL）花大力气推广新产品Patch，而不是现有的AOL Local。而我们却选择了保留Myspace的品牌，这是一个错误。我们发现，无论我们再怎么改进产品和营销信息，消费者对这个品牌的记忆还是太强大了，使他们无法用全新的眼光和开放的心态来对待Myspace。我们始终无法超越Myspace的动态GIF在他们心中的经典地位。
实用性比娱乐性活的生命力更长久。Myspace Music这个品牌有很强的娱乐性。它有个叫做Secret Shows的流行功能，为Myspace的用户独家呈现了一系列顶级歌手的免费演唱会，在用户的线上和线下体验之间成功地搭起了一座桥梁，并且在消费者中建立了一定的品牌口碑。在网站改版时，我们希望能够捕捉Myspace Music的精髓，并且将它延伸到网站的其它娱乐门类。
Over the last two years, I served as co-¬president and then CEO of Myspace. I am often asked, "Why did you take that job?" It is a fair question. As a former startup entrepreneur, the Myspace role seemed out of character. But for me, Myspace was actually a perfect fit for the following reasons:
• I wanted to know if it could be done -- if we could revive a legacy Internet brand that had so many challenges.
• I wanted to study how a large media property works from the inside out.
• I wanted to do it in my hometown of Los Angeles.
A year ago, we executed one of the most significant relaunches of a historical Internet brand. We repositioned Myspace (NWS) as a social entertainment destination and introduced an entirely new technology platform, new products and refreshed content. However, the new Myspace didn't gain as much traction with consumers as we had hoped.
In August, after Specific Media acquired Myspace, I stepped down as CEO. Since then, I've been able to reflect upon my experience there. Although there will be many stories about Myspace left untold, I learned some important lessons that I'd like to share with fellow turnaround CEOs, anyone charged with running an Internet business -- and the passionate dreamers.
So, what happened?
While it's true that Myspace faced a variety of organizational challenges that impacted the speed at which we could transform the company, in the end, it was the fundamentals that held us back. And, many other legacy Internet businesses are grappling with the same kinds of problems. Here are some of the top lessons we learned:
1. Consumers have long brand memories.
2. Utility outlasts entertainment.
3. Perceived momentum = perceived value.
4. Change within large organizations must be centered around drastic actions.
5. Single front door = single point of failure.
Long Brand Memories. The lesson here is for legacy brands: there is often more reward for creating a new brand than investing in an existing brand. For example, Google (GOOG) launched Plus, not Buzz or Orkut. AOL (AOL) focused on Patch, not AOL Local. Yet in our case, we chose to keep the Myspace brand. This was a mistake. We found that regardless of how much we improved the product or the marketing message –– consumers' memories about the brand were too strong to allow them to view Myspace with fresh eyes and an open mind. We could not escape their images of animated GIFs.
It could be argued that with more time and more marketing dollars, we might have been able to change users' perceptions of Myspace. However, massive brand campaigns haven't worked to turn around other big Internet companies. Yahoo's (YHOO) $100 million "It's Y!ou" ad campaign is one such example. I don't think a large consumer campaign would have significantly changed the outcome for Myspace. In the end, I believe Myspace would have had a better chance for success if we had relaunched it as an entirely new brand.
Utility Outlasts Entertainment. Myspace Music has always had a strong brand affiliation with entertainment. Its popular Secret Shows franchise -- a series of free concerts with top artists exclusively for Myspace users -- helped to create an incredible bridge between online and offline experiences and established a certain brand tone in consumers' minds. With the relaunch, we sought to capture the essence of Myspace Music and expand it to other entertainment categories on the site.
However, where Myspace came up short was on utility -- that is, we didn't have a product that compelled users to come to the site every day, something that had true-long lasting utility for consumers. At its inception, Facebook required users' to register with their real names. This helped it develop a real world social graph that was a true utility for users and thus. In other words, it has long-lasting value. Whereas Myspace's entertainment value, with its optional anonymity and its entertainment -¬‐ focused interest graph, never achieved the same level of utility for consumers.
Yahoo and Google are also a good example of this. Yahoo is a content oriented, entertainment brand with some utility via email, photos, etc. Compare that to Google, which is near‐pure utility to the consumer. The lesson here is that the market and consumers are predisposed to value utility over entertainment because consumers create longer lasting relationships with utilities that make their daily lives easier.
Perceived momentum = perceived value. As of August 2010, Myspace was interacting with over 100 million users a month, generating billions of page views and streaming hundreds of millions of songs. Yet, despite these incredible metrics, the market value for Myspace was far below the value placed on many other smaller, yet similar, businesses.
The lesson here is that the market determines value based on the perception of a company's momentum, whether it's a small businesses or a large legacy enterprise. For startups, I would go a step further and say that momentum is everything. When I advise start‐ups, I recommend they focus on showing either user traction or revenue traction -- but typically it is hard to do both. In fact, one of the worst places a startup can end up is having modest momentum in both areas but not being able to show clear, strong growth momentum.