What’s in a (Brand) Name?

Hollywood DeliveredIt’s been a tough go lately at Netflix. The company angered customers several weeks ago by introducing separate pricing on its DVD-by-mail and streaming video offerings. That criticism only compounded this week when Netflix revealed a new brand name for its DVD business.

Company CEO Reed Hastings announced the Qwikster subsidiary in a blog post after apologizing to customers for minimal context on the earlier pricing announcement.

Hastings acknowledged that big changes require an intense focus on communication. “When Netflix is evolving rapidly, however, I need to be extra-communicative,” he wrote. “This is the key thing I got wrong.”

Some blog commenters faulted the name Qwikster for having no apparent relationship to the original brand. The distinct name makes sense, though, in light of comments the CEO has made indicating the future for Netflix is in streaming video. An unrelated brand name will make the legacy business much easier to spin off.

The rollout had another notable kink. Shortly after the announcement, Netflix users searching Twitter for @Qwikster discovered the account was registered to a young man whose avatar is a weed-smoking Elmo. Not surprisingly, his Tweets are less than politically correct.

Netflix Twitter
Netflix’s bumpy split is a good reminder that the checklist organizations must complete before releasing information — an important part of a comprehensive communications plan — is becoming longer.

Is the CEO’s apology enough to repair relationships with upset customers?

Many thanks to Michael C. Rael for the great photo via Flickr.

You might also enjoy What I Learned Last Week from Best Buy’s CEO.


About creativeconsiderations

Christine Sullivan is a communications strategist with expertise in communications planning, writing and content development, and executive communications. She can be reached at mycreativeconsiderations@gmail.com.
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3 Responses to What’s in a (Brand) Name?

  1. Patrick O'Neil says:

    Nice post. We should all be so lucky to hit the handle jackpot! Other names they could have tried – MailFlix? DVDFIx?

    • Thanks for stopping by, Patrick. I think you should have been invited to the brainstorm — great brand name ideas for the DVD business. And no telling what that handle might trade for — I’ll be staying tuned on this story.

  2. Pingback: News You Can Use: Three Finds on Surfing the Web This Week | creativeconsiderations

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