Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share
7 October 2014
Anybody surprised by the demise of Verizon’s Redbox Instant?
Redbox Instant goes down without ever putting up a fight.
Copying the market leader never really works, does it?
Such is the case with Verizon and Redbox. In case you are unaware, the two ventured into the world streaming video about a year ago. At that time, the companies merged together to combine the Redbox DVD services with a streaming video selection from Verizon.
Hmm, this sounds familiar to Netflix’s mode of operation.
It was also about a year ago that I wrote that Redbox Instant would never work. Turns out I was right.
In a statement provided by both companies, Redbox Instant said, “The joint venture partners made this decision after careful consideration. The service had not been as successful as either partner hoped it would be.”
“Redbox Instant was just an attempt for Redbox and Verizon to be like Netflix. Truth is, they’ll never be that.”
A Branding Law for Redbox Instant
And so, I am reminded once again of a branding truth. You can never replicate the strategy of the market leader.
Doing so can never amount to an increase in market share or bring about a sea change in preference. At best, you’ll only always be second best.
Copy the Leader and the Leader Wins
If you copy the market leader, the market leader will win because it is always the default choice, all things being equal.
Redbox Instant was just an attempt for Redbox and Verizon to be like Netflix. Truth is, they’ll never be that.
Verizon is a powerhouse in the cellular and cable market, while Redbox owns the video Kiosk category. Neither one of them had a brand promise that enabled them to enter the increasingly crowded streaming market.
It wasn’t just a failure of operations, it was a failure of positioning itself differently from the competition (like Netflix) from an emotional standpoint so it would offer a true choice.
That’s the brand learning from this failure.
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