The Controversy of Change: Netflix, Facebook, and Chameleons

Many people freaked over Facebook’s face lift and Netflix’s reorganization. Yes, these changes are inconvenient. Some may break your routine or even damage your business. But what would you prefer instead? For the company or service to stay exactly the same?

Companies that fail to change fall prey to the market evolving around them. Inevitably, they are slain by the next best thing. By asking them to stay the same, you are asking them to fail. You are condemning the brand you embraced for so long to a slow death.

No, change may not always be good or necessary. But you cannot know until after you try. And neither can brands. No one has a crystal ball. Not even Steve Jobs. Smart leaders fail more often than lesser leaders and learn from their mistakes. They know that the biggest risk is avoiding risk altogether. You deserve to be eaten if you sit still in the savanna.

Like puberty, change may always be an ugly process. Some coast through it smoother than others. Those who make it out clean never forget who they are or what they believe in. A strong brand transforms with the market, but keeps its core mission at heart.

Embrace the chameleon business. Invest in progressive brands with solid foundation, not products destined for revision or absolution. If you truly believe in a brand, you should trust in change. Forgive the minor transgressions and take pleasure in discovering the next step along the way.

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2 thoughts on “The Controversy of Change: Netflix, Facebook, and Chameleons

  1. I completely understand why Netflix made the changes they did, but they went about it all wrong. Their fee increase was huge (unheard of) and happened at the same time they reduced their service. A couple of weeks later they lost their largest movie provider. This left their customers angry and distrusting. The problem there wasn’t with change, but rather bad P.R.

    • Christie, I completely agree. While I support Netflix’s attempt to lean out of their DVD business, I cannot support the execution of their major transition. It was sloppy, impersonal, cryptic, dishonest, expensive, and far too sudden. I hope they learn their lessons here and correct course. I believe in the technology they offer, as well as their aggressive attempts at moving the entertainment business forward. I hope their terrible mistakes don’t kill them longterm; Hollywood needs a major private distribution player to tell them how to do their job.

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