Change takes time, as does strategy

Updated: October 13, 2011

It’s interesting to watch the response to Reed Hastings’ announcement that Netflix is splitting its DVD unit to a new business called Qwikster.

As we know, on the internet everyone is an expert and no one is shy on casting judgment on anything within minutes of it being announced.  Of course this is nothing new and the pundits rarely if ever go back to their archives to point out that they got it wrong.

From a communicator’s view there’s a couple of lessons here. 

While everyone has an opinion you must balance public opinion with loud opinion.  Nothing happens as quickly as everyone forecasts and taking a strategic view of any situation remains key, regardless of the noise out there.

What is your organization’s strategic imperative?  Sometimes you just have to push through.  Getting the balance right between acknowledging customers’ views and concerns and doing the right thing for your business is challenging. But that’s why you’re paid the big bucks.

From a communications perspective (and as a customer) I think Netflix has done the right thing.  They didn’t do a good job communicating the pricing change.  They’ve admitted the issue and have announced a strategic direction change for the company – pushing out its DVD business. I’m not an expert but it seems to make sense to me. (Adam Richardson has an interesting post on the move over on the Harvard Business Review).

Will the change be successful?  I don’t know, but let’s see how well the new division(s) perform. That’s the real barometer of success, not someone’s opinion.

Update: Well in the interests of being consistent, I thought I should update this post.  Netflix’s decision to flip-flop on their decision to create Qwikster means they have actually failed the test. No sign of strategy there. Sigh…

Social Media? Relax and Enjoy it..

As you might know, I’m not shy about sharing my often strong views on the shortcomings of many of the self styled social media gurus.

Recently, due to work and family commitments -  sometimes referred to as the real world -  my consumption and participation in social media has been extremely limited.  The upshot was that I spent time away from the gurus, and you know what? It was fantastic.

Twitter in particular has matured into a brilliant and smart, yet simple channel for finding and sharing information and connecting with people.  I haven’t seen Twitter’s recent usage numbers but I have been impressed with how many people have now jumped in.

So I learned my lesson.  Stay away from the hype and spend more time with real people, who are far more interesting, less annoying and often talk a lot more sense. Thankfully there are load of these individuals in every walk of life discussing whatever you’re interested in. 

Social media has become enjoyable once again.

Similarly I have changed my podcasting habits.  In addition to the traditional (Irish, British and American) radio shows I’ve always listened to, I’ve weaned myself off the usual breathless, hyperbole-filled inner circle stuff and now I’m just investing time in the real-world.

One social media related podcast I do like is Marketing over Coffee which is hosted by John J. Wall and Christopher Penn. It covers social media but from a different perspective. Instead of endless navel gazing they discuss how traditional marketing and social media can be used to engage with people, drive leads, create business opportunities etc. image

In other words they talk about how social media can work in the real world.  The casual discussion format is great and a nice departure from the usual social media podcast.  Give it a listen.

So, here’s a question for you.

What other real world PR and marketing podcasts, blogs, and twitter handles am I missing?

Let me know.