Diana Freeman is a blogger specializing in social media and other related topics. I really like her stuff; if you have a chance to do so, bookmark her site.
She recently returned from a Walt Disney World vacation and wrote an interesting piece entitled DISNEY: A MODEL OF SUCCESS FOR YOUR PRODUCT OR WEBSITE, where she analyzes all the things that Disney does well, and how you can apply those techniques to your own business or website.
Here are the high points of what she talks about, and my brief interpretation:
- Be a great storyteller
No matter what you’re trying to do, somebody has probably already done it. Your job is to offer your own perspective as to why your version is better. Walt Disney then, and John Lasseter at Pixar today, always put story before everything. Without a story, a Disney film is merely average at best. But with a great story, a Disney or Pixar film transcends and becomes a classic that will be heralded for years to come.If you’re a fan of The Next Food Network Star, you should already be familiar with this mantra, as the network brass continually tell the contestants that the need to engage the audience by telling a story about what the food means to them. You’ll often hear Giada De Laurentiis telling stories about growing up in her grandmother’s kitchen and helping her cook family meals. The story itself doesn’t lend itself to how to make spaghetti, but it draws the audience in and tells them why you’re making it.
- Have quality content
People go to Walt Disney World, or watch The Lion King or Finding Nemo over and over again because it’s not just good, it’s the best it can be. The Disney name is equated with quality family entertainment. As Walt famously said, “Quality will out.”.
- Keep your customers happy
Disney employees (cast members) go out of their way to ensure that every Disney guest has an incomparable experience, whether it be the housekeeping staff making bath towel animals in the Disney property hotels, to giving a young child an extra spin around on Dumbo as a surprise treat. I’ve seen front-of-line passes passed out for no reason at all, as well as spontaneous singing and dancing by cast members who are tasked to merely hold the crowd back before a parade starts. Making people happy can be inexpensive, but the payoff can be great.
- Be consistent
McDonald’s restaurants is a model of success at this, in that every burger at every restaurant is expected to be the exact same no matter where you order it. Disney is the same way, in that every show is going to be the same, high quality presentation that you expect. Disney, as McDonald’s, doesn’t want to offer any bad surprises to their customers (good surprises, on the other hand, are almost always welcome).
- Mind the little details
Walt Disney and the Imagineers designed the parks down to the tiniest detail. I’ve spent literally hours just on Main Street U.S.A. admiring the fine attention to the littlest things — because nothing was put in the parks without a reason for being there. Most people consider Main Street U.S.A. as an obstacle to quickly reaching Space Mountain or the Haunted Mansion. But if those guests took the time to really, really experience Main Street U.S.A. and see how it was designed the way it was, they would have a new appreciation for how brilliant those Imagineers were. For example, next time you stay at a Disney hotel, take a good look at the carpeting in the lobby or the bedspreads in the hotel rooms. You’ll see tiny Mickey Mouse icons or figures hidden throughout the fabric. Disney could have gone the less-expensive route and selected off-the-shelf furnishings, but they knew that if they added that little detail into the print, it would make their resorts a little more special.
- Leverage the newest platforms and technologies
Walt Disney has a number of film-related patents to his name. He was the first to use sound in a cartoon. First to use color. First to make a full-length animated film. The Disney parks were the first to use a steel coaster track, which has become commonplace at amusement parks today. Disney stayed on top of the trends (and even set a few themselves), and it has paid off in spades for them.
Now that you’ve seen my summary, go read Diane’s article for her version and see what inspired her to write it in the first place.