May 29, 2021 5 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
My name is Devan Leos. I started working with Disney in 2010 when I was just a child. In 2013, I got signed on to work for a large production, which allowed me to work with the marketing, PR and executive divisions of Disney. While doing so, I learned some precious lessons that would change my life in business forever.
1. Complete brand awareness
While this seems like a no-brainer for any business or brand, sometimes it isn’t. Disney is extremely conscious of its brand. It knows what type of people they are looking to target. It knows the exact audience it has, which includes age groups and gender groups. It knows what kind of audience it will entertain, and it knows exactly what type of brand it has.
Sometimes many businesses and brands get lost in the marketing element, not knowing who will respond to their product or who their audience is. But that leads us to our next point.
2. Expertly-branded and crafted marketing and PR campaigns
With complete brand awareness comes the knowledge of what your clients might expect from you. For instance, you will probably never see Disney advertising with adult film celebrities because its audience is primarily kids and teenagers. If we take a closer look, Disney is constantly working with various charities, education programs and the like, which coincides with the family-friendly brand it has established.
When it comes to its movies or shows, Disney finds clever ways to engage family audiences with its content, having themes that are not inappropriate but serious. Soul is an excellent example because the film deals with life, death and existential themes. However, it is still geared towards a family-friendly audience.
If you’re trying to establish a brand for all ages, or targeted ages, it is imperative to know what relation your customers/audience will have with the type of PR or marketing strategies you use.
3. Militant reputation management
Your brand’s reputation is your lifeforce. If your brand gets a bad reputation for any reason, it can mean plummeting numbers, or even worse, the death of your brand. This is why Disney employs militant reputation management.
During my time with Disney, I was able to see the inner workings and truly awe-inspiring levels of serious care put into all the divisions of Disney. The brand does not play games. Disney’s team constantly monitors the media, social media, online forums and any source of information regarding their brand (emails, comments, letters.) They figure out what issues people might have before people even have them. Diney’s employees (including talent) are thoroughly screened and monitored. Talent is given strict instructions regarding their online presence, as well as other employees.
As someone who is trying to have a strong brand, you must make sure everything you do and say is professional and in line with what your brand stands for. When working with others, you must be aware that how they operate and what they are doing affects your brand. The best way to control fire is to prevent it from ever happening, so hyper-awareness regarding your brand is vital.
4. Multi-market branding
Disney is the master of having its brand everywhere. Theme parks, movies, TV shows, toys, books, music, the list goes on — you name a market, and Disney is probably in there somewhere.
Let’s say you operate a fitness brand. All the essential fitness stuff make sense: bottles, protein mixes, gym stuff, etc. However, getting creative with products you can stamp your brand on is key. Get creative with your brand, utilize brand awareness and find creative ways to brand things in markets that go beyond the tradition. But don’t just slap a logo on a bunch of random stuff. Instead, figure out things that could be used by your brand’s audience that fall outside of the traditional cradle that your brand exists in.
Disney helped me understand that details are everything. Whether you’re starting or assisting a brand, the strength lies within the details. Many businesses do not know or do not care about the most delicate details and bits of information regarding their brands. Sitting down and thinking about all of your brand’s facets will seriously improve your brand’s authority. Get creative, and do not be afraid to innovate. Trial and error will always prove to be one of the most effective methods to achieve success, but modeling your brand principles after a power brand like Disney will undoubtedly help.