Earlier this month I came across an article that I keep thinking back to. Written by the former VP at Netflix, Gibson Biddle, the article dives in to the brand of the now popular streaming service, and how it wasn’t always a household name. How Netflix went from its humble beginnings selling DVDs to streaming content to millions of users. How over the course of 20 years, Netflix went from a no-name to the name in entertainment content.


Netflix's Homepage from 1999.
Netflix’s Homepage from 1999.


In the article, Branding for Builders, Biddle describes the evolution that Netflix underwent: from selling DVDs, to renting DVDs, to streaming content, to producing content. With all of these changes along the way, the Netflix brand had to adapt, but the foundation of the brand remained: “Movie Enjoyment Made Easy.”

Biddle sprinkles in loads of useful knowledge as he talks about his time at Netflix, knowledge that’s transferable to any company who is looking to understand their core, their essence, their brand.


Get in Position

What do people think of when they hear your company’s name? For example, when someone mentions “Volvo” the first thought that pops into a most people’s head is “safety.” Volvo has built their brand around safety and communicates that message in everything they do. Being known for safety is Volvo’s position. Biddle describes the positioning of a company as how that company places an idea in the mind of a consumer. To help define your own position, there are three questions to answer:

  1. How do you describe your company?
  2. How does it benefit customers?
  3. How do you define its personality?

Answering these questions authentically about your business with help give you the guiding light for your brand.


All of the Feels

One part of branding that is often overlooked is the emotional aspect. Emotion creates memories. In the words of Maya Angelou, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Determining and understanding how your product or service makes customers feel is a big advantage in crafting a clear brand for yourself.


Work Together

The task of building and implementing a brand shouldn’t be handled solely by one department. By hearing from all sides of the organization, concepts will be unearthed that otherwise wouldn’t have been.  For Netflix, the marketing department worked closely with the product department to iterate and implement the Netflix brand. As Biddle puts it, marketing defines the brand and product brings the brand to life by building a great product.


Netflix's Homepage Today.
Netflix’s Homepage Today.



If you’re a business owner looking to position yourself amongst the competition, or if you just enjoyed these bits and pieces of Branding for Builders, take an extra 15 minutes and read through the rest of the article!