Brand Therapy Newsletter: What Netflix, Don Draper and a Danish Philosopher Can Teach Us

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“Life can only be understood backwards,
but it must be lived forwards.”
Soren Kierkegaard

Sometimes only the words of an existential Danish philosopher will do and now is one of them.

It’s 11 a.m. on Sunday as I write this. I’m taking a ricotta pancake break from working on mastering the art of landing pages (aka lead magnets) that will help me grow my clients’ email lists.

Of course my web team could do this. They’ve even told me how. I know I am almost 80 percent there. I am just missing one last step (there are about 10) that will probably be very obvious once Monday comes and they tell me … again. But still, it’s important, so it’s worth the struggle on my own.

Change is never easy. Yet as we push ourselves to learn new ways of doing business, of attracting clients, and simply communicating in new ways online (think Slack, Discord, Tik Tok and more), it becomes easier.

And so it was with interest that I read an article about the new Netflix show, The Politician, and how its veteran producer Ryan Murphy is also having to relearn the ways he has been creating television shows.

Gone is the excuse “this is how we’ve always done it” as Netflix and other streaming channels have changed the television industry in a few short years. Murphy noted how he had built each episode of “The Politician” specifically for the Netflix platform, hoping to create something that would induce binge-watching.

“You have someone lying in bed, they just watched it, and they look at the clock, and they’re thinking, ‘I really have to go to sleep, but let me just watch five minutes of the next one to see what happens next,'” he said. “You have to structure the storytelling so that the end always gives them the need to keep watching.”

Netflix, the producer said, was clear what their interests are, the new construction of shows, and their model of success:

“They’re in the bingeing business,” Murphy concluded.

As things change, so should we. It’s not always pretty, or easy, but it keeps us relevant.

And it applies across the board … even to our Danish friend Kierkegaard and his 19th century quote got an update, fittingly from a TV character …

“I have a life and it only moves in one direction. Forward.”
Don Draper, Mad Men

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