My kids and I had been a Netflix customer for a decade. A decade of little red envelopes! And the sad part of their brand trainwreck is you can tell every step of the way they never consulted with digitally-empowered mom consumers. Here’s a rundown on the debacle:
1. Netflix builds a ridiculously successful brand built around customer needs. Little red envelopes make people happy! Video streams right to your computer or television preparing for a disc-free future! I can get a kid-selected video and a me-time one to have at home or in the car, and we can stream hour upon hour of media. Their rating/recommendation interface kicks major ass. Yay, Netflix, your name is gold! Er, red! As long as you continue adding more movies to your streaming menu, what could go wrong?
2. Netflix blew up their own brand. They separate the services forgetting they share a vital organ–customers. Netflix prices mail service and streaming services separately, which comes close to doubling the previous bundled fee, and slap–there are no discounts for loyal customers. Netflix shares the info prematurely and poorly, so pissed folks on social media take control of the message. Netflix loses customers–up to 24 million of them. Whoa. That’s quite a pile of little red envelopes on top of a microwave somewhere.
3. Netflix seems to give up by going rogue. Yesterday they distribute a botched letter that purports to apologize for their previous lack of communication. Now they want to tell us that the service split was really a more serious breakup than we even knew, and they want to tell us the whole story behind the divorce between mommy mailservice and daddy streaming…which is just plain weird. Netflix is pulling mailbox service out of the brand and calling it Qwikster. They are basically killing the service for most users, because it will no longer be linked in to the same review/recommendation system as streaming Netflix.
It’s esentially a lesson in how to kill a brand through crappy customer communication and poor programming. They even have a match in their logo to signify their burning brand.
The icing on the cake? Once again they don’t have a handle on the social media story. It turns out the Twitter account for their dorky new name is owned by some dude who is delighted by his new good fortune and might be digging in to sell big.
Really, Netflix? I mean Napster. I mean Kickstart. I mean Quickster. I mean…Qwikster. With a “w” but no “c.” As in whacked customer care. Goodness.
The sad thing is that I am sure that a focus group of digital moms could have guided every part of this expertly for Netflix. A focus group could have told them how the price changes would play out online where budgets, consumer decisions and customer loyalty are a part of our daily dialogue. They could have guided better decisions and how to work with mom bloggers to describe the coming changes in ways that were easy to understand and share while celebrating the brand’s role in family life. And digital moms totally would have suggested that Qwikster nail down their own freaking Twitter account.
Maybe it’s not too late. I can think of 20 mom bloggers off the top of my head who could help fix this mess even though it’s pretty trashed at this point. Netflix, talk to the moms. We’re happy to learn from your failures but we would have rather been a part of your continued success.