A Lesson In Branding

  • Feb 14, 2018

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a bit about who appealing to as many senses as possible reinforces your brand. Here's a great example of one company that does it amazingly well:

Anyone who has known me for more than an hour knows that I’m an avid Disney fan. What many people don’t realize is that my appreciation of Disney is not just on a personal level, but on a professional level as well.

In my opinion, Disney is the ultimate example of branding. Depending on how you experience them (theme park, movie, store, cruise, etc….), they have captured the ability to imprint on one or more of your senses and give you an experience that makes you smile and maybe even believe in fairy tales again.

I was at Disneyland last week and realized that every one of my senses was engaged at one point or another:

Sight: the most obvious – from the castle to the fireworks to the shows to the characters.

Sound: every “land” and every ride has a soundtrack that is highly identifiable. Ever try to get Small World out of your head? (Try being stuck in one of those boats for ten minutes just barely out of the building, but close enough to hear the song and be in the sun on a hot summer day.)

Smell: the ice cream shop on Main St. emits the wonderful smell of fresh waffle cones; popcorn and churros from vending carts; the unique scent of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride.

Taste: for me, the ultimate Disney taste is the fried chicken at the Plaza Inn. My family thinks it’s the best fried chicken we’ve ever tasted and is at least a once-per-visit meal for us. But let's not forget those inimitable churros and popcorn appearing in this category, too!

Touch: the feel of Mickey ears on your head or a pin lanyard around your neck. Of course, the emotional touch (see "Experience" below) is what gives Disney the extra punch that other theme parks can’t replicate.

Experience: a place that can make most adults feel like little kids again and that can bring out the sense of wonder, excitement and belief that anything is possible in actual kids.

Of course the ultimate branding test is stores full of promotional products that people are waiting in line to buy. Yep, folks, every time you buy a piece of Disney memorabilia, whether online, in a Disney Store, or in a theme park, you’re buying a promotional item! Now that’s successful branding!