The beginning of a romantic relationship with a new partner is an incredibly exciting time in a persons’ life. You can feel infatuation, giddiness, nervousness… all at the same time as you transition from a first date to a more long-term commitment.

The dynamic between an OTT service and its customers is very similar to that of the desires, stages and shifts in a typical, modern relationship. Therefore, brands must recognise that signing up to a new OTT subscription is about more than just a service; it is an important new commitment in a subscriber’s lives which can ultimately succeed or fail.

To establish a happy ‘marriage’ with your customers and avoid a dreaded ‘divorce’, we have put together some best practice advice to help OTT brands establish and maintain healthy relationships right from the start.

Join – The First Date

A subscriber-brand relationship starts as many modern relationships do, with an attraction and first date. Subscribers are often on the lookout for something new and start to admire brands, based on promises of a great experience. But if a brand comes on too strong; doubt may start to kick in, and subscribers can be pushed away due to the fear of handing over details too quickly. You’d never take an engagement ring to a first date… so why do you expect subscribers to hand over their payment details before they’re ready to commit?

Best Practice: At this stage, brands need to establish trust and develop an empathetic approach towards their subscribers. You need to navigate the fine line between asking questions and ensuring subscribers never feel invaded. Don’t push them to reveal personal information too quickly and make the sign-up process as simple as possible, only getting the details you truly need.

Trial – The Dating Phase

So, now a subscriber has signed up. The excitement has kicked in and at this point OTT brands have so much to offer. But this is where things can start to go wrong. One minute, brands are all over the subscriber showing them the great things on offer if they sign up and next, they’re nowhere to be seen. At the beginning of a trial, subscribers often feel they are abandoned with no clear guidance on how to use the service and no checking-in to see how they are getting on.

Best Practice: It’s important to interact with subscribers to learn about their values and interests, putting them at the heart of creating an intelligent service. Don’t ghost them after registration and ensure that they know where support and technical help is available 24/7.

Consume – The Commitment Phase

The free trial is over and now marriage is on the cards. If your subscriber has made it here, they are full of enthusiasm and happy with how things are going. But this also is the stage where they are out of pocket for the first time, so brands must continue to ‘woo’ subscribers, to keep them on the right track. Unfortunately, many OTT brands unconsciously begin to show narcissistic tendencies and are blinded by the belief that they have the customer committed, so their hard work is done. This assumption is a mistake.

Best Practice: OTT services must take advantage of the subscriber enthusiasm at this stage, finding ways to engage with them on a regular basis. Enable clear signposting and intelligent search filters to make things as simple as possible. Don’t just assume everyone wants the popular content, and don’t be fooled into thinking a ‘look at me, I’m amazing’ approach is enough to build trust.

Download the research

To find out more about the phases of the subscriber-brand relationship and for more tips and advice, download a copy of our latest research into the ‘Psychology of a Subscriber’ here.