A couple of days ago, I took my kids to Disneyland. I was hoping that by taking advantage of my kids’ day off from their school’s in-service day, it’d be less crowded. For extra assurance that we’d get a few hours without the long lines, I booked us a room at a hotel for the night before. My plan was to get to the park shortly after it opened and I didn’t want the morning traffic to slow us down. Luckily, my “strategy” worked. It ended up being a relatively un-busy day and we were able to enjoy the magic that the Disney brand promises. Whether you’re a huge Disney fan or not, it’s hard to deny that The Walt Disney Company has done many things right when it comes to their branding strategy. Looking at the key elements of a branding strategy, which was shared in Branding vs. Marketing: Knowing the Difference Can Increase your Bottom Line, it is evident that the brands under the Walt Disney’s Park and Resorts business segment have tackled them all, which has helped make Disney the 11th most valuable brand in the world. Disney’s holds true to its mission. “The mission of The Walt Disney Company is to be one of the world's leading producers and providers of entertainment and information. Using our portfolio of brands to differentiate our content, services and consumer products, we seek to develop the most creative, innovative and profitable entertainment experiences and related products in the world." Disney delivers its mission by having a clearly defined company culture with a set of values that do not waver. They hire employees that are committed to innovation, quality, community, storytelling, optimism and decency. I have never experienced a rude employee at Disneyland. And, while I haven’t yet been on a Disney cruise and it has been years since I visited Walt Disney World, I’m sure the same holds true. This is because Disney understands that branding is about creating actual experiences. I was reminded of this a few weeks ago when I visited Disneyland on a Saturday night (yes, we’re Disney pass holders). We got there at 7:30 PM and it was still 91 degrees outside. It was also an extremely busy night. Yet, we only encountered smiling, happy, helpful Disney employees. I was impressed and reminded of what makes Disney different from other family entertainment brands.
Disney consistently delivers features and attributes that differentiate it from competition. Reliable characteristics of the Disney brand include safe, clean, quality and fun. And, while those may be traits that many brands market, Disney actually delivers it. It’s a reason why so many people visit the parks each year even though they're higher priced than most competition. As of October 2015, a one-day Disneyland ticket for ages 10+ is $99. That’s 25-40% more than other amusement parks. But, Disney’s global recognition and trust keep people going (despite ongoing price increases). What other brands can learn from Disney: 1. Do what you say. Your brand is like a person. If you say you’re going to do something, you better follow through or you won’t be trusted in the future. A branding strategy needs to be marketed and executed. Told and delivered. 2. Value and train your employees. Whether you’re an entrepreneur of a one-person company, a manager that leads a team or a CEO of a multi-billion organization, your brand would not exist if it weren’t for the employees. Set high expectations, but ensure your staff is well trained. Your employees are the ones creating most of the experiences that define your brand. 3. Be consistent. Brand recognition and credibility happen over time - and only after providing consistent experiences. This goes for all aspects that define your brand: visual, personality, features and competitive differentiators. While we can’t all be Disney, we can have successful brands that become recognized and trusted, which lead to growth and customer loyalty. We do this by believing in our brand and delivering on what we promise. Then, others will believe in our brand too. For help developing and executing a winning branding strategy, contact Break Ice Marketing.