Thursday, March 15, 2007

What's love got to do with it?

Continuing the thoughts about brand/consumer marriages, I just re-discovered Tim Manners thoughts about the "vulnerable soft underbellies" of Apple and NetFlix in a Fast Company article.

"Apple won't let us do what is ultimately the most important thing. It won't let us easily change the damn battery when it dies... This is not the stuff of which undying customer loyalty is made. They have needlessly left themselves vulnerable to any competitor able to design something of comparable aesthetics and smart enough to let the consumer have life-and-death control over its battery.

The famous Netflix promise is that you can rent as many movies as you want each month for a flat fee. Well, not exactly. Netflix recently acknowledged that it slows down the rate at which it fills the orders of its heaviest users, a practice critics call "throttling."... As with Apple, it took a class-action lawsuit before Netflix would publicly acknowledge that it is giving preferential treatment to its newest -- and least loyal -- customers.

A strategy that punishes one's most loyal consumers is hardly sustainable."

Real branding doesn't happen in a fancy agency environment. Real Branding happens when your customers are frustrated, when they ask for your help, when they want cash in on your promise. Rather cut your marketing budget this year and invest in improving all touchpoints. In the end, media dollars don't pay for your services. Customers do.

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