Social Media Magazine

Brand Refresh on the Horizon? Don’t Pull a Qwikster

Posted on the 11 October 2011 by Kpcreative @kpcreativeltd

Avoid Qwikster-esque embarrassment with these three simple tips.

No doubt you’ve heard by now that Netflix has yanked its DVD-only website, Qwikster, before it was even born. Wasn’t it just weeks ago that Netflix proudly announced the new entity, separate from its streaming service? Why, yes. You are correct. Three weeks, in fact. Obviously a move like this makes Netflix look pretty silly.

When it comes to your website (and by extension, your reputation, online and off), you can’t afford to go off half-cocked. Not only do you waste valuable time, but in the end you can end up with proverbial egg on your face. Learn from Netflix’s mistake by applying these 3 Anti-Qwikster Rules of Re-Branding.

1. Research, research, research.

First things first. Do your customers need this new service offering? Better yet, do they even want it?

In the case of Qwikster, the answer was a resounding no. Only Netflix didn’t do the research before making the announcement. In fact, as of this moment, there are 27,801 Qwikster-related comments (i.e., rants) on the company’s Facebook page. Wouldn’t it have been nice to know their customers absolutely loathed the idea beforehand? You are right again.

This is where research comes in. If your clients are going elsewhere to get their hoobyjobs, or have expressed interest in purchasing them from you if you had them, well, it might be a good idea to start making hoobyjobs. But if no one has ever asked for a hoobyjob, and you start making them anyway, you’re probably going to waste a lot of money, manpower and valuable reputation making it happen, especially if you’re just going to kill it anyway.

How do you get feedback? Your best bet is to talk to your clients. I doubt anyone reading this has quite as many customers as Netflix does, so this should be doable. Have your salespeople test the waters by asking their clients during their weekly phone conversation. Send out an e-mail survey asking for feedback. Put a short poll on your website inviting visitors to share their thoughts on your new hoobyjob offering. This way, you can get a feel of how your customers, well, feel about whatever changes you’re about to make.

2. Remember appropriate communication channels.

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings announced the company’s new direction — and price increases — in a blog post (which, unsurprisingly, seems to have disappeared). Now, I know blogs are a popular medium of communication with a large audience, but is it the appropriate medium for an announcement such as this? According to SmartBrief on Social Media, nearly three-quarters of readers said no. With huge changes like this, don’t you think a more personalize approach be better received?

If you’re planning a website re-design, or really, any changes to your brand that your customers have come to know and love, don’t tell them on Twitter, Facebook or your blog. Don’t be lazy: Your customers want to feel valued and respected. Send them a jazzy HTML email, or be old-fashioned and snail-mail them a postcard announcing upcoming changes. Go out of your way to let them know; don’t expect them to come to you. Otherwise you might be doing some groveling down the road.

3. Be careful and take your time when naming new segments or re-vamping current ones.

Gung ho on the new DVD-only program, Netflix apparently settled on the first name that popped into their collective head: Qwikster. This is what you call “jumping the gun.” While that’s a catchy name with all that alliteration, was it the right choice?

If you’re anywhere near selecting a name for your new division or service offering, take a quick look around Twitter, Facebook, and Google. Obviously, Netflix skipped that part: Soon after making their announcement, some ingenious individual searched Twitter to see if that handle was already taken. Turns out, not only was it already in use, but perhaps by the least reputable person on Earth. (He’s one of those Tweeps I would not follow back — #3 to be specific.) Not a good way to debut a change, let alone create excitement about it.

This is easy to avoid, if you take the time to do it.

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog