Disneyland Knows Branding

Just got back from Disneyland this week, and if there’s one thing the Disney Parks people know, it’s branding. When I say, “branding” I don’t mean signs and logos, either. Sure, you see a lot of those about. But those are just creatives – they aren’t “brand.”

Buzz Lightyear 2009

Me and my Girlfriend on Buzz Lightyear Astro Blaster

What’s brand? In Disneyland’s case, it’s being “The Happiest Place on Earth.” Just saying it doesn’t make it so. To make that true, the people who come there have to experience it for themselves. When they innovate new ideas for engaging their customers, it comes from an understanding of what they think would be fun, and therefore what would be the most fun to a visitor.

That’s why everyone who works at Disneyland is a “cast member” – calling to attention the fact that these people are more than simply watching a line or selling you candy. They’re part of an overall experience devoted to making you happy, and having fun.

If you’re a cynic, you won’t get it. I don’t blame you if you are, and there’s no shame in that. It isn’t for everyone. The point is the people there don’t just say, “Happiest Place on Earth” and hope enough people get suckered into coming.

It’s about believing in your product. Everyone I have ever met who worked at Disneyland has said it was the greatest job they ever had, because they had fun being there too. Similarly, if you want people to enjoy what you have to sell them, you need to believe in it.  You have to tell them about it from a place of awe. You have to be so into what you are selling, you exude that kind of enjoyment in it yourself.

In short, it takes a whole lot more personal investment than simply saying your stuff doesn’t have any trans fats.

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