A Branding Experience from the Master
And how providing a strong emotional experience can build a stronger brand.
When it comes to building a successful brand, it’s important to never forget the experience you provide. Whether you’re a small business or a giant corporation, if you fail to provide a positive user experience for your audience from beginning to end, then no amount of money or marketing will change the how the public views and values your brand. A good example of this can be seen first hand at Disney World, one of the biggest and most successful theme parks in the world.
What I discovered at one of my first trips to Disney was both about what I expected and also what I could not have imagined. From a branding standpoint, it was like seeing the Mona Lisa for the first time – knowing that a true master’s hand was at work.
Yes, the Disney brand was demonstrated throughout hundreds of unified touchpoints, but deep down, there was so much more that made it a true brand experience.
The most remarkable thing I experienced that established Disney as the da Vinci of branding was their ability to not only understand their consumer, but also themselves.
I am unsure of what they call it within their corporate structure, but I like to refer to it as “the turn” – the strategy of accepting the imperfections within the experience, while at the same time, putting devices in place to overcome them. Unfortunately, I was able to experience these imperfections first hand, and trust me, there are many.
To begin, Disney World is expensive. The only thing you don’t pay for at Disney is the air, and I am sure they are working on a way to charge for that as well. In addition, there are the large crowds. Everywhere you turn there are lines: lines for parking, lines for food, lines for restrooms and yes, lines for rides. Then, after hours of waiting, the payoff lasts only 2 to 3 minutes. But in those 2-3 minutes is where the real magic happens, making you forget about every obstacle that came before.
It’s like this at every junction: aggravation followed by reward. You end up leaving the park on the high of your last memory, which seems to always be a positive one.
This positive experience leads to what all businesses want – consumer loyalty and advocacy. It comes from a clear understanding of their promise, and how to deliver an experience that supports that promise consistently.
The moral of this story is this: you don’t have to be Disney to utilize the same branding philosophy. All you really need is the ability to take a good hard look at your business, understand your strengths and weaknesses, and be able to capitalize on the positive experience you provide.
It’s not easy, and it takes courage to see yourself as your audience does. If there are deficiencies in your service or product, find ways to implement your own “turn”. Often, this is as easy as ensuring that you are delivering your brand promise at all times.
The goal is to always have your consumers leave with a positive experience. When you can do this consistently, they will then become your advocates, helping to spread the good word to others.
Remember, successful branding isn’t magical, but the results can be.
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