I recently took my five-year-old daughter to Disney World for what she now refers to as “the best day of my life.” As a mom, I can’t say enough about how much fun we had. As a marketer, I have to wonder how the Magic Kingdom continues to demand, and get, the prices they charge. Ticket prices recently went up (again) to $129 per adult, a $5 increase. Parking is now $22 a day.
The answer is smart, consistent storytelling that creates Mickey fanatics of all ages. So, sprinkle some pixie dust and get ready to increase your profits, Disney style.
The Power of Personalization
The magic begins at the gate when you get your ticket and magic band. Both are scan-able, allowing you to activate personalized “magic windows” strategically situated around park. The mere fact that the magic windows use your name is exciting and makes you want to visit them all. Of course this helps prolong your stay and increase your daily spend.
How can you use stories to captivate your customers? What can you do to make your brand’s customer experience more personalized?
A trip to Disneyland is as Disney as it gets, but you don’t need billions to achieve that level of authenticity. As an Italian-American, I know from family and comfort food and I wanted to share that with my clients. I asked my mother, Lorraine Gambardella, to come to my business and make us a home-made Italian dinner. We call the event Mamma G, Meatballs and More Visibility. This will be the fifth year I put on my customers-only Italian feast and there’s a waiting list! Thanks to Mom and her meatballs, I have created a unique experience for my clients that they talk about throughout the year.
What authentic experience can you create that ties back to your brand?
Time as a commodity
A Disney Fast Pass gets you onto rides without the wait, which can be over an hour and cause an impatient child to have a major meltdown. A fast pass is the only way to get through the day. To get fast passes, you have to download the Disney Experience App and book your passes for rides in advance.
Not only is the park’s marketing team brilliant about getting more downloads and consumer information, they are using time as a premium. Is there a way you can use time and the speed of service as a business differentiator? It’s a smart way to get people to value the speed of service, production or response.
Disney World takes repurposing content to a new level by turning Disney films into immersive experiences. In Disney Hollywood Studios, there’s a Frozen experience where two characters get the audience to relive the movie through clips and songs. Spoiler alert – it literally snows in the theater! Similar ‘experiences’ for Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast make you fall in love with the stories all over again. I thought my five-year old daughter was over princesses, but she begged for a different princess dress after each show. Well-played Disney, well-played.
As a business owner myself, I like to turn my successful case studies into engaging storylines. For example, my company made Georgetown Cupcake a national sensation by promoting their long line as an “experience,” (a tactic I would not recommend for Disney). We secured media placements on the Today Show, Good Morning America and Oprah, and helped secure their reality show on TLC. This fun case study has become part of my marketing agency’s story. What success stories can you tell in a fun and engaging way?
For my little princess, the ultimate experience was the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. As you walk in, you are greeted by women dressed like Cinderella’s fairy godmother. They call your little girl “princess,” dress her for “the princess ball”, and stay in character throughout the experience. At one point my daughter, who chose to be Snow White, was grumpy. One of the fairy godmothers got her smiling again by pointing out that she couldn’t be grumpy since one of her 7 dwarfs already had that role. To complete the experience, you can get your child’s picture taken with Cinderella’s Carriage. From start to finish, we were transported.
When you’re trying to win sales, maintaining the right persona is half the battle. Are you saying the things your prospect expects you to say? Do all your employees and sales representatives stay on message and in character? The Disney’s experience demonstrates the persuasive power of memorable lines and stories.
Secret Mickey’s, VIP Tours and Cinderella’s Castle Suite
Nothing catches your attention like a whisper. Disney uses scarcity and secrecy to create word of mouth. Disney fanatics can’t get enough of the secret Mickey’s located throughout the park. And nothing makes you feel special like getting a personal invitation into the castle! What insider menu, service or opportunity can you tout to your customers? Take a page from Walt Disney. The more unavailable something is, the discussion and interest it inspires.
By Adele Cehrs