All right, Netflix has apologized to me, not just once, three times. Reed Hastings told me he “messed up” in an email last week, he also repeated himself in long form on the Netflix blog, then went on to deliver it face-to-face with colleague Andy Rendich on YouTube with a trashcan and service entrance in the background.
Being a customer, I wasn’t impressed, not because I believe Netflix has its strategy all wrong, but because they’ve missed a great opportunity. People pay attention to contrarian messages, but instead of delivering a brave statement about the future of media Netflix made many confusing statements. Saying something confusing in three different places won’t make it clearer.
If only this is a Netflix problem.
While you may not be communicating strategy and insights to the layman like Netflix, it is the same lesson for dialogues within the company. Channel, again, is the easiest thing to change when communication turns ineffective (You didn’t read my email? Try this powerpoint presentation), but this effort is largely wasted. So what does get us listened to? Our analysis on information consumption reveals two lessons:
- Relevance is Key: Other members of your company pay attention to relevant information that is targeted, accessible and field-tested. Sending irrelevant information in any channel is useless.
- Give them Value: People pay attention to valuable information that is targeted, gives clear recommendation, and stays unbiased and accessible. Sending low-value information in any channel is equally useless.
Knowing this, I’d start by making sure that the information I communicate is targeted and accessible. You say that different people have different definitions of relevance and value? Here’re two things you can do to solve that problem:
- Reach the right people. Don’t try to be all things to all people. Instead Market researchers at Nokia maximize their communication impact using a “power/attitude matrix” to map the power structure which allows them to identify and target company leaders.
- Work with instead of against human nature, take them through your thought process and show how your vision/insight benefits them. Wellpoint’s Internal Knowledge Marketing Plan path business partners by showing them the gap between current and desired understanding of customers and links research insight to strategic direction. Finding it hard for employees to selflessly help each other on a regular basis, Sabre Holdings built “Sabre Town”, a knowledge transfer network which increases relevance to each individual by allowing self-grouping based on common interest.
For Netflix, this teddy bear version of events is sadly accurate:
Customer intercepted by Reed Hastings: Have you interacted with an actual human being before?
Reed Hastings: 010001011101011…………
I guess that’s a no.