MSNBC Throws in the White Towel


Earlier this week, MSNBC threw in the white towel.  You most likely missed it, because they did it so quietly. MSNBC launched a new website and ad campaign taking the first step toward a new brand. Previously touted as a neutral news outlet, they have moved to the new and more intellectually honest position as “America’s Progressive” news outlet. By repositioning themselves as progressive, they hope that people will take them more seriously.

This rebranding is an effort to regain relevancy and stop the brutal ratings losses they have been taking at the hands of network news programing and other cable news outlets like CNN and Fox News. They had a very difficult time competing in the objective news arena. It made sense to reposition and rebrand themselves with the goal of carving out a niche in a highly competitive market.

If you’re losing the ratings battle, you have to evolve. Continuing to do something that is failing over and over is a recipe for disaster. MSNBC had to change. It was only a matter of time and a question of when.

When you’re losing a branding battle, you have to modify and adapt your strategy in order to own a space.  You must be relevant to get the desired results you are trying to achieve for yourself, your employees and the rest of your stakeholders. Will MSNBC’s simple “cosmetic change” be enough or are they going to have to make bigger more serious changes at the network?

As Joe Concha said in his recent article, “A Year of Poor Decisions Show Why It’s Time for a Change of Leadership at MSNBC.”


MSNBC needs to not only reposition themselves, but they really need to find a Brand Champion. Someone that is going to develop and execute a winning strategy, position, and a brand that will pull the network out of bad ratings and the financial abyss! It will be interesting to see how this storyline unfolds at MSNBC, but needless to say it is time for the ownership and stakeholders to step up and take action. It needs to start at the top in order to change their destiny. Let me know if you need help in selecting a Brand Champion to lead the charge!

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