Be more Netflix? Why AI, co-creation & brand personality can take you to the top

Is it the marketing holy grail when your business, platform, proposition, brand…grows to such planet-swallowing size that you make it into the common lexicon?

Yep. Who doesn’t know what Netflix & Chill really means, but, we haven’t heard from their brand guardians or CEO to stop using it (yes Lucas, we’re talking about you), because part of their appeal is their brand personality.

So, just a quick Netflix inventory, on-demand for you, to remind us about their journey to ubiquity:

  1. Former Blockbuster CEO John Antioco passed on the opportunity to buy it for $50 million
  2. It’s grown from simple postal DVD rental to streaming media giant
  3. Shares are now nudging $200
  4. It’s looking like they’ll reach 130 million subscribers by next year
  5. Netflix has revolutionised content delivery, disrupting Film & TV studios in the same way that download threatened music
  6. 50 countries. $6 billion value,
  7. Slowed down Internet traffic? Peak time is 7-9
  8. As of 2015,  Netflix’s content library was over one petabyte of data. This is an equivalent of 1,024 terabytes or 1,048,576 gigabytes. Wow.
  9. Tech (AI, algorithms, software, hardware)
  10. Marketing smarts (never-ending roll-out of mini campaigns driven by their content)

Let’s talk brand personality. In the same way that some brands cry “Be more Innocent! Nail that Nike feeling!”, Netflix makes engaging with their customers look deceptively easy because…their customers create a lot of their conversation traffic themselves. However, their friendly, knowing, playful TOV makes it feel like they’re talking directly to you.

Social? As said, great TOV, full use of platform mechanics (polls, GIFS, VIDEO, VIDEO, VIDEO, emojis, behind-the-scenes content that would have languished as a DVD extra) means they’re staying relevant.

Netflix facilitates by making amazing content. Fact. But conversations are strategically started before, during and after a show to keep them alive, which is why their content ‘has legs’, and, the nature of shows like Stranger Things, in true fandom, binge watching style, means the wait until the next series will keep things rolling, and ‘Spot the 50 Easter Eggs’ lists churning until s3.

Disruption. Intentional or not, the bigger you get, the more power to effect change you have. They give customers what they want (granted, with incremental, fairly transparent price jumps) – No long-term contracts, no commitment, and CHOICE.

As a purely digital company, they know how to co-create. They use open-source code with their own layer, partner with data storage providers and build studio relationships to the point that now, like the old star system, they’re getting ‘talent’ like Adam Sandler to sigh on, and give them free-rein.

Scorsese? Check. Oscar nods? Probably, for Mudbound (which puts the Academy in a disruptive pickle). Will Smith & Zack Snyder for Bright? Okaaaay.

Competition. This is where it gets interesting. We know about Amazon, Hulu, et al, but can one of the other FANG (Facebook, Apple, Netflix, Google) giants step up to really compete?  Netflix are nailing it with algorithms and AI to drive its programming, in the same way that Facebook is leveraging data to be an advertising monolith. Question: Will Facebook Watch ever effectively challenge Netflix, even with their resources? Discuss.

Homegrown Vs bought. Their Original Content slate has generally been a smash, but as big a part to play are their acquisitions from producers like the BBC. It’s not an understatement to say that Netflix have and will continue to change the viewing world.

We could rhapsodise all day without really being negative (okay, maybe the logo needs a refresh), but to return to the original idea, how can being more Netflix help any business?

AI & data. It’s not sci-fi anymore. You’ll learn more about your customers and provide better products & services. Nail your brand personality to the mast. Know who you are and stick to it, demonstrate it through your TOV, start conversations & don’t shy away from being bold (13 Reasons Why). Work with and learn from others who can help you grow.

Maybe one day, your brand & business will gain the power to encroach on nearly every industry with scale, artificial intelligence & convenient choice. Until then, maybe be a bit more Netflix, ideas binge and make things happen at your own speed * remote control drop *. Boom. IF out.

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