5 Tips to Bring Magic to Your Social: Walt Disney World Culture and How You Can Copy It
I visited with Mickey and friends this week and I loved, loved, loved it! I was awe-struck at the way the Disney culture permeates everything that you see in the parks. We visited Animal Kingdom, Magic Kingdom, and Epcot and each park had its own unique features. I was inspired to talk about brand culture today from my experience.
Magical Tip #1 – Live It, Breathe It, Be It
When we spoke with cast members (no one is an “employee”), they all said the same thing – they live in a Disney bubble. They work together, play together, often living in apartments together. When we asked them why, and didn’t they get sick of all that togetherness, they (to a person) answered the same way. They like the kindness, fun, and positivity of the Disney environment and they no longer enjoy the “real world” hustle, bustle, dog eat dog feel of many non-Disney environments. Their devotion to the values of Disney was unfaltering.
How to Do It With Social: Demonstrating consistency, respect, fairness, and kindness are key. Be a good company and live (and talk about) your values at the highest level. Disney managers walked around with trash pick-up tools just like nearly all of the other crew members. Walk your walk.
Magical Tip #2 – Appearances Matter
The Disney parks are spotlessly clean. And, strangely, I rarely saw anyone cleaning up. I also didn’t witness any of the park guests littering. I am sure some must have, but most did not. When a place is spotless, you feel especially bad to muck it up, so you don’t. You don’t want to be “That guy.”
How to Do It With Social: Engagement begets engagement, meaningful engagement begets meaningful engagement. Avoid social media noise/trash and you will experience less of it done to you. Bring value rather than focus purely on “brand awareness” and the value will come back to you.
Every single detail was attended to, from music, to smells, to lettering, to costumes, to food, to drink, to flowers, to park benches, and more. Going from resort to park to restaurant to rides to entry/exit was all one homogeneous, flowing experience. There was no herky-jerky anywhere to be found.
How to Do It With Social: Make sure the look and feel of the hand-offs between your social media staff and your sales or support team are seamless. When a customer is jerked from engaged listening that is sweet and helpful to aggressive close push that is pitchy and forceful, they really notice. It’s like a blast of unwelcomed cold water in your face. Don’t do that.
Magical Tip #4 – Complete Immersion Works
Walt Disney stated that it was his goal that the visitors to Disney would be completely transported from their worlds to one of magical adventure. The vacation packages are all better (more affordable and logistically easier) to pre-buy than to pay as you go. Because of this, most people pre-arrange so very little money or credit cards are ever even brought out once you’re in the park.
You also can pre-designate your credit card to be charged for gift store purchases so you don’t even have to bring your credit card with you to the park. Very few brand name logos were in the park, so the standard blast of placement advertising was nearly non-existent. It all made for a very relaxed experience. Nothing distracted you from your magical experience.
How to Do It With Social: Always, always, always stay aware of the customer experience with your brand. Do all you can to make it appear effortless, magical, and flowing to work with you. Take out the speed bumps and unnecessary gatekeepers and make it easy to talk with you, do business with you, and to get social with you. Make it easy for your cast members to be social too – great social media policy is about doing the right thing not preventing the wrong thing. Make it easy to do the right thing.
Most theme parks (I’ve been to tons!) kind of force you to buy stuff. It’s hard to find a free water fountain because they are pushing so hard for you to buy their high priced drinks. Not so at Disney. You could have easily had a water fountain whenever you needed it and never had to have bought any other drinks. That is so cool and it took some of the worry and anxiety out of overspending.
How to Do It With Social: Holding your customers hostage to you is not kind and it’s not good business. Have easy refund policies, have generous return policies, and give choices rather than ultimatums. Talk about your policies on social, and help your satisfied customers talk about them (which is even MORE believable than you bragging about how great you are!).
There is no denying that Disney is a for-profit venture. No disguise or magic of any sort could cover that up. The sheer amount of resources needed to keep the parks going is astronomical so I am not arguing that, to have a great brand, you need to give away the farm. I am suggesting that generosity and consistency will make you more money.
Ultimately, what worked best for me was the grace and beauty of the Disney brand. It’s a DNA thing and it encourages rabid fans. Entire armies of pin traders stopped to engage with each other to trade character pins amongst themselves and with cast members. Survey takers were at the exits to ask your opinion of your day.
The cloth costumes on all the animatronic ride characters were pristine, clean, and in excellent shape. The ride and show sets were high quality in design and materials (not some plastic-y put put golf course feel). For the wear and tear of millions of people going through day after day, there was nothing in disrepair. Everything looked freshly cleaned, dusted, and cared for. I confess that I secretly ended up wanting to work at Disney by the time it was all over with!
I did not expect to be so impressed, but I was. And, I intend to review my own social media and make sure I am doing all I can to make the people who come in contact with me have a magical experience too.
What about you? Anything you can tweak to make it all more magical? Do tell! *she twinkles away, fairy dust cloud behind her*
Til next time!
Vicki @Smartwoman Flaugher