5. is the customer always right?

In recent years, we’ve seen how social media and consumer interaction have been able to shape campaigns and brands.  Take the crowd-pleasing Old Spice digital response campaign that the Wieden + Kennedy team executed so flawlessly: Interaction was positive, consumers were engaged and best of all, the campaign responded to individuals for the world to see.

While this is the ideal version of digital response, the open forum that is social networking has its dangerous side.  After announcing subscription price increases in July, Netflix made another public statement that it planned to bisect the current business structure and create a separate DVD mailing service called Qwikster, while improving it’s existing online streaming services.  Shit hit the fan.  Customers were less than enthused, and for a good reason.  Nothing was done to convince them of the legitimacy of the idea and the terribly-named mailed service was an instant turn off compared to a existing seamless, user friendly one.

The outrage expressed in various forms of social media put the company’s plans on pause.  Thousands of frustrated customers threatened to quit their subscriptions and Netflix listened.  Monday, the company admitted to a few mistakes and announced that ideas of Qwikster were no more.

But wait…the idea of focusing more energy into the incredibly popular online streaming service was a great move for the company.  It’s clear that physical forms of media are close to obsolete.  Maybe Netflix, excited by this new opportunity, released their ideas before they were fully processed and the result was ugly.  Had the timing been better, the name been more exciting, and the improvements of the potential system highlighted, something amazing could have happened.

Lesson learned? feedback is incredibly important, but there are times when potential business growth should push a brand to plan a little more strategically.


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