Gini Dietrich

Netflix: A Lesson In Communication and What Not to Do

By: Gini Dietrich | September 20, 2011 | 
147

Oh Netflix. What are we to do with you?

On one hand, we’re pleased that your CEO, Reed Hastings, apologized by saying he “messed up.”

On the other hand, we’re disturbed that you, by now, don’t understand the online world well enough to know you should have checked to see if the name you’ve chosen for your DVD business was available on the social networks.

Oh yes, it’s true. Not only have you chosen a name – Qwikster – that is a far cry from your brand, but the Twitter account is owned by a weed-smoking Elmo.

Granted, the Twitter account owner has changed the avatar since you announced your name, but he’s still cursing and talking about smoking pot and “doing” girls. And it’s pretty clear he’s not giving up his name to you.

On one hand, we like the humility.

On the other hand, it’s a little too late.

On one hand, we appreciate the explantion.

On the other hand, we would have respected you more if you’d told us two months ago that you were moving into the streaming business and saw a need for the future away from DVDs. But, like most business leaders, you didn’t have the cajones to say that…and you probably thought you were going to make a bunch of money on the DVD side of the business until they did go away. Perhaps you could learn a thing or two from Steve Jobs.

On one hand, we respect your honesty and transparency in telling us that your greatest fear has been that you “wouldn’t make the leap from success in DVDs to success in streaming.”

On the other hand, it seems perfectly timed because you just lost nearly 50 percent of your stock price. We’re not experts, but we think that’s a lot.

On one hand…

Oh forget it. We’re trying really hard to understand the communication strategy behind all of this, but we feel like it’s an “I’m sorry, but…” apology. First you hired actors when you launched in Canada, something entirely unnecessary because they wanted your service so badly.

Then you hiked your prices and alerted customers by an email that arrived in the middle of the night.

And now you’re apologizing, but trying to get us to understand your side of things with a huge explanation.

Guess what? We don’t care. We don’t care that you don’t see a future in DVDs. We don’t care that you’re fearful of leaving behind something you built your business around. We don’t care that it’s easier for YOU if you separate the two businesses. We don’t care that the businesses are already separate so it makes sense that we have to log in to two different places. We don’t really care that you raised your prices, but in how it was communicated.

All we care about is if we can get movies, when we want them, and how we want them. Which we would have told you, if you’d asked us…like you used to do.

About Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro.

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