Villing & Company

MySpace: The new way to build your brand.

MySpace. Facebook. YouTube. LinkedIn. Welcome to the world of social media.

By now, most of you have heard about these sites. Maybe you've even joined the bandwagon – viewing other people’s postings, building your own personal page or uploading photos or your own video. But if you're in marketing, you might be wondering what the significance of all this is to your company's brand.

Let me tell you a little story about a girl named Tila Tequila. By some standards, the story may seem a bit edgy, but it is certainly relevant to branding in the world of social media.

Nguyen is Tila's Vietnamese family name, but that was dropped after kids nicknamed her Tila Tequila in high school. Nguyen was one year old when her family came to the States from Singapore. The now American model, singer, rapper, actress and blogger currently resides in California and has made quite a brand for herself thanks to her MySpace page. What's amazing isn't her talent, (sorry Tila fans). Rather it's how she evolved from being an unknown model to cyberstardom -- all through MySpace. In 2002, she was Playboy's Asian Cyber Girl of the Month. In September 2003, her MySpace page was built. According to Tequila, "At that time no one was on there at all. I felt like a loser while all the cool kids were at some other school. So I mass e-mailed between 30,000 and 50,000 people and told them to come over. Everybody joined overnight."

She leveraged this initial popularity into an appearance on a VH1 reality game show, and was later hired as a VH1 commentator and game show host of Fuse TV. But the real breakthrough, at least for all us non-MySpacers came when her MySpace page reached over 1 million friends. Let the media attention begin! In 2006 through 2007 Tequila was all over the covers of Maxim, Maxim UK, Rolling Stone, Stuff Magazine, YRB Magazine and was named the "Madonna of MySpace" by Time Magazine. She even made a cameo in films and NBC game shows.

In 2007, she filmed a dating game show for MTV, called "A Shot at Love". According to Television Week, her show drew an average of 6 million viewers, and a 5.9 rating amoung people 12 to 34, the highest-rated show on the network since August 2005. That's huge for MTV! "'A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila' was one of our big breakout hits for 2007", said Tony Disanto, executive VP of series development and programming for MTV. With the finale of the show scoring MTV's highest series rating for the year the network has already launched a spinoff and a second season.

As of today her page has over 2,896,618 friends and has been viewed by more than 50 million people. She has launched a website, online retail store, custom clothing line for women and men, and a music album while continuing to work as a model. MTV has her hosting their MTV Spring Break 2008 series. To promote her first album, she recently added to her MySpace page a new music player and music store, created by Indie911, a Los Angeles-based start-up company. Regardless of what she's selling, her brand has become a success. Time Magazine said, "She is something entirely new, a celebrity created not by a studio or a network but fan by fan, click by click, from the ground up on MySpace."

So what does all this have to do with your brand? Well, social media may not be for everyone, but consider some of the brands that are on MySpace - Wendy's, Aquafina, , Jack in the Box, Nike Soccer, Honda Element, and the list goes on. Your MySpace page isn't going to replace your website, but it will allow your target audience to build a relationship with your brand. Your brand will have friends! Ms. Tequila’s brand has nearly 2.9 million. How many friends could your brand get? Most of the big brand pages are full of games to play and other things to do besides just clicking around. MySpace, YouTube, LinkedIn and the other social media may be another way for you to reach customers very inexpensively.

Try Googling "Tila Tequila". You’ll obviously find her MySpace page at the top of the list, followed by her website, links to her photo shoots, music lyrics, YouTube video of people mimicking her. And more. She's definitely figured out how to use MySpace and social media to build her brand. What would I find if I Googled your brand?

Filed Under: social media

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