The Disney Effect

For most brand strategists, Disney is one of a handful of companies touted for their strategic brand management. The Disney brand is a thing of beauty and magic. Looking for the same kind of charm, many companies want each and every customer interaction and communication to be cast with a smile. Call it the “Disney Effect.”

Executives are painting everything with the same brush and trying to script happy endings. Forget the use of negatives. Words such as wouldn’t or don’t and messaging outside popular conceptions or political correctness are being banned in this new homogeneous marketing communications strategy. Forget an alternative path for differentiation. Forget effective and successful marketing campaigns that might be off-center and make marketers nervous. Forget taking a hard or controversial position. Forget getting customers attention. Be safe. Stay neutral. Keep everyone happy.

Someone once said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Someone may also say that’s short sided because it sidelines creativity as a company’s most powerful marketing weapon. Not something the creator of the imagineers, wicked witches, poison apples and a grumpy dwarf would ever want to hear or see. Wouldn’t Walt want us to open up our minds and celebrate the yen and yang of human life, much like he did? Embrace the good, bad and indifferent. Create brand messaging and campaigns that reflect real life and resonate with customers without doing any harm to the company’s or product’s brand reputation and brand equity. For example, take a hard look at the memorable “Mayhem” campaign for Allstate.

Go ahead and sprinkle a little negative prose in your direct mail campaigns and with your social media marketing campaign or in your broadcast campaigns. It might deliver some surprisingly positive results.

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