Marketing Doctor John Tantillo’s Winner and Loser of The Week: Netflix and Apple

Marketing Doctor John Tantillo’s Winner and Loser of The Week

Brand Winner… And Loser…


Marketing Doctor John Tantillo’s Winner and Loser of The Week:  



Winner:  Netflix

Loser:  Apple




I’ve written about Netflix before, but it’s high time to do it again.  Today the company has posted revenue that almost doubled from a year ago.  Not only that but it continues to add subscribers at a rapid rate and now boasts a total of 23.6 million subscribers worldwide.


Netflix continues to do everything right in this wild world of new, Internet-streamed entertainment.  It made a deal for the entire “Mad Men” series and another one for “Glee”.  And it’s developing its own content just like a network by buying the rights to “House of Cards”, an original series starring Kevin Spacey.


Bottom line, what we are seeing is the continued evolution of a company that wisely knew what its brand was from the start.  So much so that it’s transition from a mail order business to a deliverer of Internet content didn’t even require a name change –if anything, it’s name suggested that the company knew its destiny from the start.

So hats off to Netflix. In a world where many media companies are struggling to make sense of the landscape, this company, which knew its marketing mission cold from the start, continues to flourish.



This week Apple faced some pretty serious questions about whether its iPhone, and other popular devices, collect and store user’s location information without their knowledge.

The Wall Street Journal has now gone on the record and said that a test it conducted shows that the iPhone does just that.  This backs up the conclusion of two researchers last week and casts a serious pall over the Apple brand.

For one, Apple’s success has been based on the best sort of marketing there is: identifying customer need and then consistently satisfying it.  One important need is the sense that each device is not only personalized but is working for the user, a customized and dynamic tool.  But the revelation that the device might be serving another agenda without the user even knowing that… well, that runs completely counter to the idea that the customer comes first. 

Not only that, but The Wall Street Journal suggests that the Iphone’s location file doesn’t stop working even after the user turns it off.  Last year, after a similar uproar, Apple claimed that the information they received from these devices was anonymous, but the problem with brands is that there is only so much good will to go around.  After a while, the customer has a right to start doubting what a company says about its products. 

For a long time, Apple has been able to roll through problems like the antenna fiasco, Steve Jobs’ email rudeness to a curious customer, et cetera.  It had built serious marketing equity into its products and was at that place coveted by celebrity and corporate brands alike: it could do no wrong. 

But, folks, that’s changed and now brand damage is accumulating.  What Apple needs to say –and more important— do is to reassure its customers that they come first. 

I’m not certain that Steve Jobs is the right guy for this.  His response to this problem is apparently to completely deny that Apple tracks its consumers.  Wow.  That doesn’t sound too smart considering that some pretty serious players are claiming that there is no doubt that Apple does.

Bottom line, there has to be complete transparency.  If people begin to think that when they are buying an Apple product, they are actually buying something that spies on them, then the response must be to immediately apologize for anything that Apple has done and then absolutely vanquish this notion through an active campaign by the company to promote its products as “spy free.”

Such an approach could actually end up being a huge benefit for Apple by putting them in the lead again on an issue that is no doubt going to become huge as more and more consumers become worried about the security of their devices.  Apple could find yet another way to differentiate itself from the competition.

If they don’t do something like this then the company might actually begin to undermine its product lines by being seen as untrustworthy and ultimately not on the consumers’ side. 

And, remember, it’s always easier when you keep marketing and branding in mind.   





If you’re brand is doing something wrong, fix it and find a way to make the fix a competitive advantage.




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