11 March 2022 | 5 Minute(s) to read
If you were lucky enough to be around in the seventies, you might remember Sunday evenings, getting into your pyjamas, switching on the TV (allowing enough time for it to warm up), wiggling the bunny ears, and sitting back to the delights of The Wonderful World of Disney. What started out as a film studio in the 1920s has grown into a worldwide phenomenon and is stronger than ever nearly 100 years later.
There’s certainly nothing Mickey Mouse about Disney’s brand reputation, no one can deny that they know their market, their product, and brand messaging. If you are looking to take your brand to market, here are some points that you can learn from this iconic brand.
1. Know your market
It may seem obvious but sometimes it isn’t. Disney knows who they are trying to reach, what they like, and what they don’t like. It is aware of age groups and gender groups and it caters to them. (That’s why there are adult jokes in the kids’ movies).
Sometimes many businesses and brands get lost in the marketing element, not knowing who will respond to their product or who their audience is. Sometimes it is not who you expect, and the longer you are in the game, the better you can know your audience. Rather than trying to reach as many people as possible with your marketing try a smaller, more clearly defined target market and then develop excellent content to speak to them. But that leads us to our next point.
2. Quality marketing and branding
When you know your audience well, you can begin to understand what your clients might expect from you. You will never see Disney associated with anything that might taint their brand or is incongruent with their messages. They know their market is children and families, so everything associated with the Wonderful World of Disney needs to reflect that.
Instead, Disney is constantly working with various charities and education programs, which are synergistic with the family-friendly brand. When it comes to its movies or shows, Disney finds meaningful ways to engage family audiences with its content, having themes that are positive and affirming.
If you're trying to establish a brand for all ages, or targeted ages, it is imperative to know what relation your customers/audience will have with the type of PR or marketing strategies you use. Tailor your content and the expression of your brand to fit your audience.
Coupled with that, the quality of your marketing and branding will give people a perception of your brand. Badly designed logos, poorly functioning websites, slipshod content, a cheap flier all send the message of a weak brand that a potential customer won’t have confidence in.
3. Managing Reputation
Your brand can live or die on your reputation. A bad standing can lead to loss of sales and ultimately crush you. This is why Disney employs militant reputation management. They are diligent and focused on protecting what they have built. Their team constantly monitors media, social content, online forums, and any source of information that might mention their brand. They do not play games — they know what is at stake. All employees and talent must adhere to strict guidelines regarding their online presence.
If you are trying to build a strong brand, you must make sure you not only present a professional brand but live it. Don’t let unguarded comments or errors affect your brand. Don’t have your brand associated with something that can be damaging. I once worked in the environmental sector. It is always in need of funding, at one point one of the few options was tobacco money. Despite the good the money could have done, they had to turn it down, simply because of the damage it would cause.
4. Market everywhere
Disney is the master of having its brand everywhere. Theme parks, movies, TV shows, toys, books, music, the list goes on — you name a market, and Disney is probably in there somewhere.
Every avenue is an opportunity to get in front of a market, to keep driving home a message. Modern society is so bombarded with information that it takes time to get through. People need to see your brand and message multiple times before it will register, and preferably in different places. You know how you never noticed all the Volkswagens on the road until you’ve bought one? They were there all along, and while your brand message may be in front of people, it takes time to find the reason to make it register with them.
5. Don’t give up
Marketing is not all fairies and pixie dust. There were times that Disney’s founder was down to his last two pennies, but he didn’t give up. Marketing is a marathon and not a sprint, in other words, it is a process, not an event. What people hear about your brand today may result in a purchase in a year’s time, or even longer.
Walt Disney said, "I suppose my formula might be: Dream, diversify and never miss an angle." Be prepared for the angle and ready to strike while the iron is hot. Managing your brand is a never-completed task.
You can achieve success through making mistakes and overcoming them, but modelling your brand principles from an enduring and much-loved brand like Disney will undoubtedly help.
Whether you have a team or you are on your own, a monster budget, or just a mouse-like one, it is always helpful to get outside input and advice. Don’t be afraid to call the experts, whether you need a new logo, website, marketing plan, or help with social media, we all need a fairy godmother and we are here to help put some magic into your marketing.