Tom Murphy – Murphy's Law

Tom Murphy blogging about PR and other things since 2002…

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Change takes time, as does strategy

September 20th, 2011 · 2 Comments · Public Relations

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…

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