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All You Need to Know about Branding...From Disney Movies
By: Jennifer Graber
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As adults we can recall a particular Disney movie that touched our lives. The movie likely created profound, magical adventures in far-off lands by stretching our imaginations. Perhaps you wanted to be rescued like Aurora in Sleeping Beauty, or maybe you even wanted to create your own destiny like Wart (Arthur) in Sword in the Stone. Now, as adults, we have left the imagined world behind for one far less magical.
But let us not be fully ready to dismiss the value of a Disney movie both as grown ups and marketing professionals. Disney movies harbor many valuable lessons to be gleaned; lessons that positively shape and build a brand and its strength.
Be Part of Their World (The Little Mermaid)
It is all about perspective in this instance. From the inside out, customers and employees alike seek brands that are compassionate. Brands should not be afraid to get down in the trenches and understand what it is like to work for the company or what it is like to purchase the product or service. Consumers and employees want to feel as if a brand understands. In fact, with specific regard, research has found that employees are happier and more productive with "emphatic leaders." So, as a brand, do not be apprehensive to submerse yourself with the consumers and your employees — they will likely appreciate it.
Dig A Little Deeper (The Princess and the Frog)
A brand should go far beyond a product or service. In fact, brands should aim to dig deep beneath the surface and be socially and corporately responsible. Consumers and employees are in search of brands that care about others. One does not want to feel as if a brand is me-centric. A great example of a brand that digs deeper is Target. The brand recently partnered with Lauren Bush’s FEED Project to provide donations, towards hunger, through specific product purchases. Additionally, Target has the following areas of commitment:
  • Education
  • Environment
  • Health & Well Being
  • Team Members
  • Responsible Sourcing
  • Safety & Preparedness
  • Volunteerism
Let them know You’ve Got a Friend in Me (Toy Story)
Related to digging deeper, a brand should also be a friend to those in need — specifically customers and employees. Brands want to create connections and lifelong loyalty. And consumers and employees want a brand that is cultivating more than a one-way relationship. Brands need to "ask not what our stakeholders can do for us, but what can we do for our stakeholders." Thus, brands should strive to be friends and help when the time is right. For example, Tide’s Loads of Hope is a mobile laundry unit that is launched following natural disasters. Can you just imagine the brand friends that Tide has made during the floods in North Dakota and Iowa, or the hurricanes in Louisiana and Texas, or the wildfires in California?
Listen to Your Jiminy Cricket (Pinocchio)
Nobody likes a Pinocchio — at least the one that lied. This is especially true for a brand. Nothing is more disappointing than being brand loyal, as a consumer or employee, and then discovering that the brand was deceptive in its practices. Therefore, brands should embrace having a conscience — listen to your Jiminy Cricket. Do not be scared of the vulnerability of being open, honest, and transparent. Let your employees and customers know the truth let them know about all the nitty-gritty details. Honesty is held in high esteem.
Change Your Fate (Brave)
Lastly, be brave and bold like Princess Merida. Recognition and recall is paramount to a brand’s success. If you are not remembered or known then how will consumers and employees know to seek you out? Brand wallflowers remain distant and faint memories in the minds of stakeholders. Brands that are daring and diverse, like Converse and Vevo at SXSW, are far more likely to be recalled. So brands should not be anxious about changing their fate by creating a unique destiny full of wonders and thought-provoking brand strategies.
The magic of the adventures and movies of our youth can be carried forward into our adult professional lives. We cannot forget to seek brand lessons and inspirations from the unlikeliest of places — even Disney movies.


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About the Author
Jennifer Graber is a Business Development Manager and marketing enthusiast. Her specific interests include branding, consumer behavior, development, integrated marketing communications, and new & social media.
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