Branding for Builders

Today, Netflix is recognized by the simple letter “N.”
Netflix Positioning Model
  • Use clear, precise sixth-grade language. Consumers are busy and don’t have time to parse complicated ideas.
  • Be brief. Most teams begin with lots of complicated ideas. The key is to simplify and focus on a few, easy-to-communicate ideas.
  • In answering the “personality” question, ask yourself, “If someone met my company or product at a cocktail party, how would I like folks to describe him or her?” Defining the personality of your product describes how you want your brand to relate to customers.
The Brand Pyramid
Apple Brand Pyramid
Freedom and creative expression were brought to life in Apple’s iPod ad.
The Apple “Think Different” campaign featuring four revolutionary leaders.
Netflix Brand Pyramid
  • Product attributes. What are your product's features or components that consumers buy or use to enjoy the benefit of your product? In the early days of Netflix, it was 100,000 movies on DVD, with one-day delivery, no late fees, and a website where you built your queue. Today, it’s tens of thousands of streaming movies & TV shows and, increasingly, original content. Product attributes can and will change over time — that’s where the innovation happens. The other levels of the pyramid, however, stay relatively constant.
  • Product benefits. These are the same benefits from the first positioning model. Just make sure that the product attributes enable the product benefits.
  • Emotional benefits. If you built a world-class product that delivers the benefits you describe but ultimately exceeds customers’ expectations, how would customers feel? Make sure the words describe feelings.
  • Something bigger. Many teams struggle with this part of the exercise. My coaching: Think Big. Apple delivers revolutionary innovation, Nike enables customers to fulfill their full human potential, and SpaceX is working to save the human race by colonizing Mars. The “something bigger” is meant to inspire your team to build a great product and company over fifty years.
  • The headline. It took Apple tens of millions of dollars to create their “Think Different” campaign. So don’t expect a few hours of work to be as impactful. In the case of Netflix, “Movie Enjoyment Made Easy” was not intended to be seen by customers, but the headline summarized the brand pyramid in a way that I can still remember.
The Netflix non-member page today. Its job is to convert non-members who visit the site into a free trial.
Netflix in 1999


Over the last twenty years, Netflix has evolved from a DVD e-commerce site to a worldwide Internet TV company. The dance between product, marketing, and consumers continues as teams work to define and deliver both a brand and a product that delight customers in hard-to-copy, margin-enhancing ways. Today, Netflix is a world-class company with a distinct advantage in its hard-to-copy brand.



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Gibson Biddle

Gibson Biddle

Former VP/CPO at Netflix/Chegg. Now speaker, teacher, & workshop host. Learn more here: or here: