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Qwikster…WTF…

Everyone has been talking about the massively public and massively awful Netflix move that is Quickster…or wait..er…Qwikster.  It seriously is like watching a train wreck that you just cannot look away from.

My hope is that this is a small piece of a much much larger strategy, where one day we are all haters, but the next day we find ourselves as loyal customers under a new regime that is Qwikster, but somehow I doubt it.

What is so interesting to me about this piece of news is that it highlights two very very important reasons brands should become more collaborative:

  1. Communities hate change – unless they are the co-creators of it.  Netflix probably needs to make some large changes to save its business, but launching something out of the blue is a great way to pull the carpet out from under your customer community.  Had they involved their customers in creating solutions, the company would have been able to enact large scale change, while preserving the loyalty of their best customers (and actually increasing it). They also would have formed consumer-centric solutions that solve their obvious business problems, but also less obvious consumer needs around renting, viewing, and interacting with content.
  2. Companies need to become more collaborative to challenge their own assumptions and patterned ways of thinking.  When you work somewhere for several years, and become part of the corporate culture, your brain becomes conditioned to think about things a certain way.  This literally blinds so many companies to the true reality that exists beyond their four walls.  It also makes for conditions where really terrible ideas can be pushed through the company. Through a combination of great salesmanship and really flimsy and misleading market research data, almost anything can get sold through and that is bad for everyone.

It amazes me that businesses are so hesitent to become more collaborative with their customers. If we could rewind the clock and Netflix leveraged all the social tools that exist to talk to, learn from, listen to, and engage with all different types of customer tribes, they could have come up with some truly ground breaking concepts, and they would have avoided the pain of such a clusterf.

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