Ways MSN can win back 90s Babies


Ask any 90’s baby and they will tell you that Apple didn’t invent emoticons, MSN did. In fact, MSN provided by Microsoft, was the OG of instant messaging. So it’s crazy that a platform that essentially pioneered a form of social interaction is now considered deceased in the world of social networking.

Before MSN, there was no better way of connecting with friends and even family outside of calling and texting. There are so many features on other social networking sites and apps, which were all present on MSN. MSN had status updates before Facebook, emoticons as mentioned before, video chat features, group chats – you name it. As a platform, MSN provided so much value to the adults who were kids between 1999 and 2005, who we now call millennials. But if MSN had all these features millennials love and still use today to its advantage, how did it still manage to fall off?

Why it fell off

Well the obvious is that it lost its selling point as mobile technology advanced. People transitioned from online instant messaging to online and face-to-face, on the go instant messaging. So the whole idea of instant was no longer unique but a norm that was not enough to make people want to go back to just that form of online.

As we’re in 2017 and look back at the platform, it’s clear to say that MSN lacked a purpose beyond and outside of instant messaging, which today is just another feature on all other social networking platforms. And while it did invent visual emoji’s (other than the mobile texting form) this also lost its thrill overtime as other brands such as Apple took over the concept and coined it their own and dominated that realm due to its iPhone popularity. Even celebrities such as Kim K, Amber Rose, Nicki Minaj and Kevin Hart have their own brand of emoji’s these days.

MSN today

MSN officially discontinued as a messenger platform in 2012 and is not currently a ‘web portal and related collection of internet services and apps’. Sounds exciting. It seems to be that instead of growing and transforming with its core audience, MSN gave up to the competition of communication. In fact in its last years, MSN became a confusing platform that was attempting to jump onto the trendiest advancements of the time such as video on demand but of course failed, not only was this too little too late but also waaaaay too wrong from a branding perspective.

Comeback Season

And after reading all of this you’re probably thinking how on earth could MSN win anyone back!? The new brand is an overload of information with no distinct purpose for its audience. MSN needs to rethink and upgrade its core value to compete in the current landscape of social networking and communication. Whatever this purpose is however, must not already be fulfilled. Since that’s how a lot of new businesses start, MSN would basically be starting again – forget a rebrand, call this a rebirth.

To really win back the 90s babies, MSN would need to interlink the value that 90’s babies remember them for (that being convenient communication), by going beyond online and appealing to nostalgic emotions with tapping into the era of diverse culture and how the diversity in millennials requires a social networking communication and/or service that transcends fulfilling more that  one of their needs.

In a world where 90’s babies are outspoken and aware of the clouded and misconstrued age of social media platforms, MSN needs to pioneer a new definition of communication that resonates with their new age mind-set while reminding them of the good old days.

Prisca Moyesa