Netflix fmr VP on Brand Positioning (Part 3)
Through the years, Netflix’s brand positioning has remained very consistent and clear. While the technology and mediums for delivering content have changed, the foundation for the brand is virtually unchanged. That said, the brand’s experience has evolved significantly since it started in 1998. I will take you through how our brand has evolved over the past two decades.
Beginning with our first website in 1998, customers could spend $4 on a DVD and have it arrive eight days later. This was presented solely with text and did not make any emotional connection. Fast forward to 2004; we started to show some emotion by adding photos of people in their living room enjoying a movie.
From the start, we were competing against Blockbuster as the go-to method for renting movies. In 2006, we eliminated late fees — which was always a pain point for renting movies the old-fashioned way. Furthermore, we introduced our streaming service in 2007 — starting with only 300 movies. This addition fundamentally changed our business model, and we started to change how we positioned DVD delivery alongside streaming content.
Initially, we continued to lead with DVD service with streaming positioned as a secondary product. By 2010, we had flipped priorities and began leading with our streaming service with DVD delivery as the backup option. As a result, the value proposition and service that we provided started to become clearer for more customers.
Even with all of these changes, our brand experience was still very text-heavy. Starting in 2012, we shifted our messaging to focus entirely on streaming services. DVD delivery is still available, but not included in our primary brand presentation. We used to think that more content on the page meant that we were providing more information. Instead, we discovered that a simpler message and product expression is what connects with more users.
Simply put, Netflix’s clear identity and quality service make it very easy for people to trust the brand. In other words, it doesn’t take much effort to create new customers who are willing to pay.
About the speaker
Gib Biddle is the fmr Netflix VP Product Management and is currently the NerdWallet Board Observer and Executive-in-Residence for Product. He joined Netflix as VP of Product in 2005. In 2010 Gib became the Chief Product Officer of his next startup, Chegg, a textbook rental and homework help company that went public in 2014. Today he’s an adviser, speaker and guest lecturer at both Stanford and INSEAD.