My fiancé and I just returned from a trip to Disneyland and had a blast exiting the “real world” and spending 4 days in the happiest place on Earth. It’s no secret that Walt Disney created one of the greatest brands in the world. He was a storyteller and to this day, the “story” is the foundation for everything Disney does. It was during this recent trip that I was reminded of many ways retailers could benefit from taking a page from the Disney “story” book.
One of my first takeaways was the absence of what I like to call “brand ugh” moments. Take for example the “cue”. Nothing kills human momentum like a line. At Disneyland the line is anything but a “wait” – it’s actually part of the ride. Once you enter the cue, unexpected reveals, interaction and environments set the stage for the ride to come. They don’t just herd you—they transport you. While waiting for Star Tours ride, you walk through what feels like a spaceport right out of a Star Wars movie. In the Monsters Inc. ride, you walk through the city streets of Monstropolis and experience and added layer of details not seen in the movies. The opportunity for retailers lies in taking a closer look at the shopper journey and identifying those “brand ugh” moments, and turning them into “brand a-ha” moments.
Monsters Inc. Ride takes you on a walk through streets of Monstropolis:
My second takeaway was the idea of “being in character”. It’s the Disney golden rule. You expect characters like Minnie, with whom I had a private meet and greet with, to always be “in character”. But it was the real eople at the front gate, in the attractions and even the man sweeping the street that always delighted me. They deliver that one-to-one brand engagement that makes the overall experience so personal. They are “believers” in the experience they are helping to create. Putting my shopper hat back on, I realize how key the sales associates are to the shopper experience and that they too have to “believe”. Equipping employees with what they need to bring the brand to life and make more human connections should be on the top of every retailers to-do list
Meet and Greet with Minnie:
For thousands of years, we have used stories as vessels for information. Long before writing, we passed along knowledge and experience in the form of storytelling. So it is in our DNA, we are all drawn to a great story. Disney, like all great brands, does more than tell stories, they tell stories people want to be a part of.
Author and images by Eric Ehrlich — VP Executive Creative Director, TPN