Why Netflixgate Is More Interesting Than Google+ (To Me)
Made you look, didn’t I?
I actually didn’t come up with this title to get clicks. I was feeling genuinely bored of “How to set up your Google+ Circles” and “Whom to follow on Google+” blogposts. I was counting down the days until we have lists of top 10 people to put in your circle. And then Netflixgate happened, at the best possible time. What the heck is Netflixgate? Have a look at this lovely blogpost — apparently our beloved Netflix decided that it loves us so much it will give us the “lowest priced plan ever”.. For streaming.. Double that price for a DVD plan. Needless to say, there are several thousand comments across the blog commenting system and Facebook. Add to that the Twitter avalanche… Yikes, I’d hate to be their social media person right now — trust me, I emphasize as someone who works in this space. However, my pity and understanding only goes so far, since Netflix committed some pretty obvious faux-pas, at least to a trained eye.
Before I go into an obligatory list of “what went wrong”, I’d like to explain the title of this blog. I do think that how businesses act in a situation like Netflixgate is actually much more impactful to the future of this whole social thing. Google+ is a tool. Tools are operated by people. When people from a company tweet and blog, they engage with people, regardless of the tools they use. As a social business, your job is to build an organization-wide process that allows and empowers these people to act in a way that adds value all around. This kind of business wouldn’t let Netflixgate happen. It is painfully obvious to a trained eye that social isn’t part of the business fabric at Netflix. It’s an afterthought and a silo that happily tweets at people.
Ok, now time for the obligatory list of what went wrong:
No crisis response:
Let’s start with the low-hanging fruit. It’s very clear that Netflix wasn’t prepared to handle what just happened. Unfortunately, things like these happen time and time again to companies large and small. Fortunately, things like these happen, so the next companies can watch and learn and think through a crisis response. For some reason, Netflix did not learn from the likes of Nestle, BP, Marc Jacobs and others that came before it. A crisis response doesn’t mean that the poor social media person is running around crying and dusting off the good ole’ resume. A crisis response plan has to be truly cross-functional, where the right people are alerted, and up to the highest ranks. Then they get together and think through a response — and a fast one! As of the time of this writing, the last tweet from @netflix and @netflixhelps is from 6 hours ago and happens to be the actual announcement of the price hike.