5 Lessons Disney Teaches Startups about building a Business Brand
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Who would have thought that a clear purpose & set of values on how to do business & work with their people would lead to success. Disney’s brand value increases 14% to a whopping $39.5 Billion. For those of you who do not know Disney is an American Institution. The brand marketing seems to be so simple, yet so effective. They have multiple business lines: movie studios, PC Games, TV brands, consumer goods (toys, clothing, accessories), retail stores, and theme parks. They also have multiple major brands within the Disney family: Disney itself, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, and ESPN.

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Lesson #1: People and customer experiences matter

Disney has tapped into the concept that customer participation breeds commitment. Good user experience and service is implemented at the bottom of their organization. Mr. Walt Disney just had good horse sense. Not to mention his superior way of communicating with people by reaching their hearts and getting to the heart of matters. It is such a shame that Michael Eisner allowed the filth, greed and immorality of his true essence spill over into his role of CEO for the highly moral, honest and clean, Walt Disney Company. It meant so much to Walt that the wholesome image be upheld that Annette Funicello once stated in a 1987 interview, “Mr. Disney said to me one day, ‘Annette, I have a favor to ask of you. I know all the girls are wearing bikinis, but you have an image to uphold. I would appreciate it if you would wear a one-piece suit.’ I did, and I never regretted it.” His honesty, creativity, innovation and good sense won him the loyalty of millions.

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Lesson #2: Produce Memoirs

The management is very successful, their employees/members working in the theme park are unfailingly supportive/helpful/friendly. Disney engages and empowers cast members to create memorable moments for their guests. You don’t have to be memorable like Disney, you have to be memorable compared to your competitors. Build something that a small number of users love. Lukewarm reception is a business/product killer. Products that people “like well enough” can give a false sense of optimism and leave a team in the land of the walking dead. Unless your users, no matter how many of them there are, are totally delighted by your product, you aren’t there yet.

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Lesson #3: It’s all about experience

Don’t cause your customers to pause! Relevance, seamlessness and share-ability, all traits we think about when tackling business challenges. If your customers pause because something feels out of place, the magic of your brand is lost. It is becoming a rare commodity to deliver on promises, and by doing just that you can already score high. Being able to deliver outstanding results adds even more value. Being fanatical about Customer Experience is the throttle to push over the limits, at least for startups like  — Zorays Solar — customers are the reason we exists and being close to them is not just a choice but a need to innovate.

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Lesson #4: Be the Pioneer in diversity

Are you making an investment in yourself that makes people talk about you? Differentiation is often a zero sum game. Painful as it is to admit, your customers don’t live and breathe your company – you do. So is the Amazon’s vision statement — Become earths most customer centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.

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Lesson #5: Build on Success

Among many lessons Walt Disney has told us as an institution staying optimistic during the setbacks. You may find your greatest breakthrough when times seem the toughest. Sure, other businesses grow and develop new offerings or locations. But Disney didn’t do that – nothing feels cookie cutter. Each new offering is unique and arguably better. In 1928, Disney caught his first big break. He created a memorable character called Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, who would later inspire the character of Bugs Bunny. Disney’s Oswald series debuted in theaters and became a mainstream hit, and Disney could see his fortune starting to turn around. Disney soon started losing money trail as he lost his source of funding for his studio, and more importantly, he lost his rights to use the Oswald character. Without Oswald, Disney no longer had any way to generate income, but he still had expenses and debts to pay for his studio. And Mickey Mouse was born. As the author Napoleon Hill once wrote:

“Most great people have attained their greatest success just one step beyond their greatest failure.”

Disney are definitely one of the best example of relentless innovation and pursuit of excellence. The clear, simple vision at the core appears to be key. If you have that, you always have true north in sight — however you expand and diversify.

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