Let’s Learn About Branding Failures from Netflix!

r-QWIKSTER-large570We all know what Netflix is. The brand has basically become a household word and is making it more convenient than ever for people to watch their favorite shows (and, to some extent, movies) at home for a very affordable fee. Netlfix is changing the way people watch television.

However, their mega-success can’t cover up one of their few mistakes—because it was a pretty monumental failure.

Remember Qwikster? If not, it’s understandable. It didn’t last long.

Qwikster was a 2011 gamble by Netflix, thinking that digital streaming would be even more convenient for their customers. Rather than waiting on their mail order DVDs, customers would use Qwikster to instantly stream their shows or movies.

But what they didn’t expect was how complicated it made their previously cut and dry business model. By splitting the company in such a way, there was a bit if customer alien nation and the press on this model was largely negative.

Oh, and it didn’t help that existing Netflix customers saw a 60% rise in their monthly fee if they wanted both services. No existing clients were grandfathered into the newer price structure. There was confusion and frustration everywhere—and it all came back to Netflix trying to make their brand better.

But they didn’t anticipate their audience’s needs. Rather than simplifying life and making things easier, they pissed off a lot of the loyal members that had helped them get to where they were.

In the end, according to sources such as CNET, Netflix lost more than 800,000 subscribers due to this fiasco. The stock in Netflix also dropped more at an estimated 77%.

Obviously, Netflix was able to recover, but the Qwikster debacle will forever haunt them. It just goes to show that even big name companies are immune to branding miscues.

So what can your brand take away from this? How can we learn from this grand mistake from such a popular company?

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