Monday, June 18, 2007

Disneyland: Welcome to Marketing 101

The moment you cross the threshold into the Magic Kingdom, you enter a world that is the apex in execution of what marketers refer to as "brand experience." Of course visitors to the park expect to see Walt's vision play out in every piece of gingerbread Victoriana on Main Street; in the elegant simplicity of Alice's tea cup ride; in the bawdy playfulness of his Caribbean Pirates and come to full blossom in the Small World utopia that we all yearn to experience. Yet what is truly remarkable is the combined effect these world famous attractions have when orchestrated in combination with a total brand experience.

While the attractions are plainly visible, what may not be as apparent, but no less essential to every guests' enjoyment of the Disney experience, is the artistry that goes on behind the scenes: the "cast members" (aka Disneyland employees) play their roles to a tee and no operational detail is left to chance. Eg:

- The ice cream shop floor sweeper, who jubilantly informs you, in spite of just having pulled a 24 hour shift, after 35 years of service he measures job satisfaction knowing that whatever task he completes he contributes to making a guest "feel happier than before they entered".

- The actors who patiently play musical chairs with a group of young guests and as each child is eliminated from the round, happily announce that they are "UN-WINNERS!!!" (No one could ever be called a "loser" in Disneyland.)

- The crews who are constantly emptying trash cans and cleaning the park throughout the day and evening to insure that not a scrap of paper is ever underfoot-- this in a park teeming with nearly 100K visitors daily.

- The ride operators, who after serving 1000's of customers each day, still greet your arrival with an earnest smile and genuine appreciation as if you were the first customer of the day--- and offer a high five to celebrate your successful completion of the ride.

- The waits in line: yes, the eventual long wait in lines are made far more bearable and dare I say, almost entertaining, since most of the featured attractions have waiting areas designed to be part of the ride experience and in fact help to add to the excitement and anticipation as you wait to officially start the ride.

- The Park Photographers strategically stationed in prime photo spots throughout the park, armed with the latest digital camera and strobe set-up, that just "happen to be waiting for you" when you want to capture that memorable group portrait that even the family's photographer (aka Mom or Dad) gets to appear in.

- The photo kiosks that display your action photo "magically" captured while riding the log flume on Splash Mountain and is available for print--with frame or without-- as you come walking out of the ride.

- The snack stands that not only sell cotton candy, soda and ice cream, but also give families the option to buy fresh cut pineapple spears, watermelon and bottled water.

Looking for a lesson in executing on total brand experience that your company can learn from? Just head to Disneyland.