Lessons From Netflix: Trusting Your Brand's Value Proposition

News out of Netflix this past week is an instructive reflection on brand value proposition.

Earlier this year, there was an uproar among Netflix subscribers when the company announced it would no longer allow password sharing. The world was angry. Children of parents who were paying the monthly fees were getting kicked off.  

Disaster for Netflix? Many thought so. But a different outcome took hold. Those frustrated audiences, instead of leaving the platform, bought their own subscriptions. Turns out they weren’t alone. In the months after the decision, Netflix subscriptions shot up by nearly 6 million users (adding about twice the population of Arkansas), as reported by CNN. 

What is the bottom-line, upfront lesson? Netflix felt confident in selling its value proposition. It understood without question there would be pushback on the changes to its fee structure , but believed customers’ brand loyalty was strong enough to withstand it.



Netflix trusted that its value proposition -- what it delivered to subscribers each day -- had enough stability and strength to weather the early storms of frustration. And it was right.  

What can we learn from this? There are four distinct lessons about value proposition, and they are: define your brand well; deliver on your brand promise; trust in your brand’s resilience;  and ensure your critical audiences believe in your brand’s value.  

The first step is to have a strong value proposition. How do you establish what unique benefits and differentiators you can bring to your customers? Perhaps it’s a service, perhaps it’s a product, or perhaps it’s a resource. Whatever it is, make sure you understand and communicate what makes your brand special. The more your value proposition offers a unique benefit to your target audience, the more likely your brand is to succeed. 

A brand’s value proposition must deliver on its promise. Do you do what you say you’re going to do? Does the promised value of what you offer get served to your customers each day? A value proposition without the backup of delivery will fail. 

A piece of the value proposition that often gets overlooked is that everyone who represents your brand must trust in the value proposition and live it daily within the organization. Brand value is only as strong as this weakest internal link. Does your team live it every day in how they interact with your stakeholders? Does every action you take, every decision you make, consider your brand value? How do you evolve to continue to deliver value? Living a brand value proposition is a team sport. 

Finally, do your customers recognize your value proposition and believe in your brand? This is the elemental key to brand resilience. In the case of Netflix, the product was strong enough to hold up, even in a storm of initial negativity.

Every time a brand interacts with its customers, that believability must be sustained. If your brand value proposition is not clear and reinforced as you engage your target audiences, at best, there will be brand confusion. At worst, the perception will be that the brand’s value is not worth the cost. 

Was Netflix’s subscription move gutsy? Yes. But if you believe in your product and have effectively communicated your brand’s value to those who interact with it, it’s ultimately not risky at all.

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