New brand

“Qwikster” – is that the new naming behind a merger between Napster and Friendster?

No – maybe it’s the name of the Nestle Quik rabbit.

Actually, it’s Netflix’s new name for their DVD rent-by-mail business. Announced via the CEO’s blog post last Monday, Netflix will continue to exist as the online movie streaming business, while the DVD rentals will operate as a separate company – Qwikster – with a separate website.

Follow the trends on Twitter and you can tell there is great criticism against the recent moves by Netflix. When Netflix announced changes to its pricing and business model, more than 1 million subscribers dropped the service, causing NFLX stock price to plummet.

But Qwikster is not necessarily destined to fail. Renaming a company is always a very difficult and subjective process. Everyone always has an opinion, and it’s almost never positive. But with every new name, there’s a right way and a wrong way to introduce it to the public if you want maximum buy-in from your customers.

Something as major as a new company should be treated like a big deal – it should be introduced proudly and in the context of a supportive brand, imagery and messaging. Netflix really tried to hide this move by launching Qwikster via a blog post.

Qwikster was never given a real launch – it was passively mentioned with the hope that no one would notice. There was no real customer explanation and no proposed value proposition to encourage customer support. It’s hard for customers to get excited about a company they know nothing about

Netflix should have held their cards closer to their chest and saved the news for a legitimate launch, paired with appropriate imagery and a focused messaging strategy. Right now, “Qwikster” is only letters on a page with no known value and brand credibility.

So, how could Netflix fix the situation? At this point, the best course of action is to follow through and act quickly. Unless they go for a GAP-style cover up and completely nix the project, Qwikster needs to prove its value, and fast.

Just a tip: Maybe Netflix should have done more name research on multiple channels. Looks like they may have to cough up some cash to purchase @Qwikster from its current owner – apparently a drug-using Elmo.

What do you think? Is Qwikster doomed to fail or can it save itself?

Learn more about the author of this blog post, , by visiting her page at RiechesBaird.