Disneyland calls itself "the happiest place on Earth." Presumably, its Orlando, Florida-based sibling park Disney World espouses a similar ethos. It also turns out that the "happiest place on earth" is a revenue-generating machine.
Disney World is made up of four parks which have a combined attendance of 56 million. The parks and resorts had an operating profit of $4.5 billion an increase of 100 percent from five years earlier. Disney just announced that it will pour $24 billion into new attractions, hotels, and ships over the next five years. It's an absolute cash cow, something any entrepreneur or business owner dreams of having.
After years of saying no, I finally succumbed to the consistent pressure of my 6-year-old and 4-year-old and took them to Disney World. While we certainly created some incredible memories, I couldn't help but pull out my phone and jot down five of the great business lessons I learned while I was there:
The Power of Branding
The Disney brand has come to be known for the production of family-friendly content, incredible parks, quality toys and games, and hospitality that is second to none. People blindly expect this and more when they interact with any part of the company.
What Disney offers its consumers is consistency. It's not easy to build a brand like this--Disney has achieved it through persistence and unwavering commitment.
Regardless of your industry, nothing creates brand preference from customers more than providing them with consistent experience every time they interact with you. Don't let a day go by without sharing content in some form that communicates your brand in the light you want.
Create a Memorable Customer Experience
From the moment you arrive, your Disney World experience is carefully thought out. The most minute details are covered from the design of the rides to ease of transportation.
By mapping out any possible scenario a guest may find themselves in, Disney World eliminates the need to overanalyze. This gives way for people to truly soak in and enjoy their time on the property.
When is the last time you analyzed what your customers or clients experience when working with your company? Most likely, the answer is "not often."
Evaluate the experience your customers have with your brand. The more you can create a memorable and enjoyable experience the likelihood of them returning as customers, again and again, goes through the roof.
Sell Right After a Great Experience
As experience focused as they are, there is no denying that Disney is profiting off of your "happiness." Selling is so fully integrated into their model that you often don't have time to realize until after you have purchased the latest stuffed animal character.
While it seems like an obvious act to strike while the iron is hot, most companies don't know how to recognize the right moment to sell. When your company delivers something of value, find a way to give your customers at least one additional thing to buy. It could be as simple as asking or as complicated as a follow-up proposal--as long as it's something.
Play the Waiting Game
Disney isn't afraid to make you wait. There is a creation of value that populates as a result of forcing consumers to be patient. The longer they are able to observe other people eagerly awaiting a product or experience the higher the demand becomes. Despite not wanting to wait, that long line for Space Mountain inevitably has people thinking, "If I don't get in it now, it will become even longer."
Making customers wait is traditionally a bad idea. So instead of being proactive in finding ways to make this a reality, try to find ways to create a sense of urgency.
Getting customers to act is a hard thing to do. Look for ways to make customers play the waiting game so when a product becomes available they jump at the opportunity.
Constantly Reinvent Yourself
Unequivocally, the best lesson to learn from Disney is the importance of reinvention. While there are so many classic rides, characters, and themes throughout the brand, Disney is constantly adding new things to love. It does a masterful job blending the old with the new.
Instead of feeling like your business has to jump into a new industry, reinvent yourself in the industry you're familiar with. It's so common for business leaders to muddy the lines of which industry they belong in.
This only leads to them getting lost in an unfamiliar competitors market. Continue to do what you're good at, but do it differently than you or anyone else has before.