Intro: Magical customer experiences don't happen by accident. They happen through careful planning and meticulous design. Kevin and Debbie have been engineering, extraordinary customer experiences for over 30 years. Join us as we explore corporate culture, branding, service, excellence, and much more through storytelling, technical curiosity, and friendly conversation. The Disney way for the digital age will be revealed.
[00:00:29] KK: Hey folks, welcome back. We're so glad that you're listening. This is episode four of the Disney Way for the Digital Age. I'm Kevin Kelly and my partner in crime here Debbie Zmorenski. Hey Deb
[00:00:41] Debbie: Hey, good morning. How are you?
[00:00:43] KK: I'm okay. I dunno if you noticed, do you know what this shirt is I got on here?
[00:00:49] Debbie: uh, well, but , I did Rage Against the Machine?
KK: So people I'm gonna say this is, I think it's time. You guys are getting to know us, it’s been four episodes. So maybe, you know, that I'm a, an ex-drummer in kind of a 90’s, uh, heavy Rock guy, but Deb is a Metaler or a head banger. What would you say? You know?
Debbie: Yeah, I guess I'm a, I'm a head banger. I'm I'm a heavy metal fan, deep, deep, deep inside. Believe it or not.
[00:01:24] KK: So you haven't have you been back to any shows since, uh, lockdown is over?
[00:01:30] Debbie: Oh, lockdown has been over and I've been so busy. Um, and they are all out again now and people coming back. Yeah. Yeah. People are coming back and I've missed some of my favorites, which is. Just been heartbreaking. My, my daughter and I are talking about Disturbed as coming back and, uh, Seether. So we're thinking we wanna at least get in a couple concerts this year.
[00:01:53] KK: yeah. Summertime get some summer concerts.
[00:01:54] Debbie: Yeah. It's so good to see 'em back, you know?
[00:01:58] KK: Yeah. It is. Uh, what do I got coming up? Oh, I honestly, I don't, I, I gotta get to some shows. I've been going to Broadway shows lately. Now I sound like an old guy, but,
[00:02:08] Debbie: No, I like to do that. I just haven't had a chance to get to New York city.
[00:02:13] KK: Yeah, we got a great venue here called the Paramount here in Long Island. And uh, I think Goo Goo dolls are coming. Oh, the Black Crows are coming around, so, oh, wow. Yeah. Oh, in Jones beach theater, which is right
Debbie: I haven’t seen the Black Crows in forever.
KK: Oh, my God, love those guys. Yeah. Well, anyway, here we are episode four. Last episode we wrapped up our six questions to honestly assess your culture. And today we're gonna talk a little bit about demystifying brand . Um, and the idea, um, that, you know, brand is complicated. You know, you hear these stories about folks like AT&T and Pepsi spending, you know, a hundred, uh, million dollars to, you know, move the blue and red Stripe, three degrees. And, um, I had a friend that worked on the AT&T account when they worked on the, uh, what they call it, the blue ball of death, the, the globe with the, you know, and that was really all about people, you know, publicly focus on the logo. So I think that's one of the things I'll jump into first, this idea that there there's two elements, two pieces of this, the, you know, the brand identity and the brand image.
People often think about branding as, oh, that's your logo and maybe your tagline. Um, uh, and that is the, the brand image piece of it, right? The, uh, the obvious part of your brand, right? The, the Nike swoosh that allegedly Phil Knight paid 50 bucks for, and that is now worth 50 billion, but it's so much more than that. Um, but those things, yeah, they're, they're integrated and the brand identity is really more about. That emotional connection that a brand can create with folks. So mm-hmm, brands like Apple, um, has a sense of belonging and somewhat a little bit of snobbery at times, right? It's like, oh, I use Apple. I don't mess with those PCs. Um, or Harley Davidson, you know, those folks have a strong sense of belonging; if I ride or Harley Davidson. Um, I would never think of buying another brand.So that's an example of brands that have they've done it. They've they've arrived. They've. That sense of belonging and a strong emotional connection, uh, with their audience. And then that's really what you're, you're looking for.
[00:04:20] Debbie: Well, you know, just to tag on a little bit, Kevin, you want people to have some form of emotional connection to your company. so it isn't just about, are you recognized and known in the marketplace? How do you make your customers feel? And I always refer to Apple as a cult. yeah. You know, a little bit. And you know, and I don't mean that in a negative way. I, a lot of companies would love to be thought of as, you know, a cult with that kind of, that kind of following.
Right. And then I've also heard Disney's a cult. You know, you've got what we call the Disney files out there. Yeah. Um, and that's exactly what you're looking for is people that not only recognize who you are, maybe just by looking at your logo. Um, we used to have a joke at when I worked at Disney that says you draw three circles anywhere people yell out Mickey mouse.
Right. and uh, I mean, that's a beautiful thing, right? So it's not enough though, to be recognized. You have to be growing and nurturing some type of emotional connection right. To your brand because after all you're selling to people.
[00:05:29] KK: Right. Not robots. Right. And there's that recognition. God bless, you know, Disney. Three circles is, is Mickey or is money was called a hidden Mickey that we mm-hmm look for all over the parks. But once there's that recognition, what do I. What do I, how do I feel? How does it make me feel, right. Does it make me feel empowered? Does it make me feel, um, technologically advanced or superior? Does it make me, you know, when I drive a BMW, does it make me feel, uh, strong or proud or, you know, so what are all those things that, those emotions and how do I nurture that sense of belonging?
[00:06:01] Debbie: And the reason, um, that Disney is so successful is because of that emotional connection. And it's also about why people get so upset if they feel like Disney's let them down.If they go into the park and they don't have a magical experience for whatever reason they take it very personally. And you think, well, good grief. It's, you know, just a, a company. Yeah. But. That emotional connection can be positive, but always remember it can also be negative and you can only get away with negative connections just so many times.
Right. Um, but that's why they get so upset and they send letters and, and, you know, And act like it's a, a serious personal offense.
[00:06:47] KK: Mm-hmm, Disney's so fortunate in that they have so many positive touchpoints. I think so many people, um, associate Disney, um, and that emotional connection to the first time in a park.
Yeah, my mom, my mom had this poem, um, about someone describing their first entrance into the park, the smell of the popcorn, the Uhhuh , you know, the vision of the castle. And it's, you know, it's usually with your family, your yeah, eight or 10, it's a formative time of your life. So that is such a, a fortunate piece for Disney to have to have a literal emotional connection about that experience. But that's what we, you know, what, what do we talk about? What do we do today? Um, more than anything, we design customer experience CX design. So if you can. Use customer experiences develop your brand. Maybe you don't have a location that people get to walk through, but these days you've got so many opportunities through technology to integrate people into your brand experiences, right.
That, um, you really need to look at that and, and make that part of, um, your, your roadmap for what your brand's going to mean to, to the folks you're. Uh, you're trying to reach, you talked with about this a lot, Deb. It's like every touchpoint is an opportunity to either, um, reinforce the brand or have a negative experience.
Mm-hmm right. I love the last episode of the concrete company example because so many people think that this is pixie dust stuff. This is what Disney can do. Doesn't apply to my company. Couldn't be more wrong. All these techniques that Disney uses can be applied to your company. So mm-hmm, . Maybe maybe a Disney story about how they've, um, an example of how they've made these connections. I think Deb, you've got something that really touched your heart.
Yes. We, you know, Disney gets thousands of unsolicited communications every year, uh, emails and old fashioned letters. And we used to share these things often and we shared the, those that were not so positive as well as those that were positive.
But I can tell you that for the positive letters and information that Disney received. Like I said, unsolicited, there was always deep emotion involved. And for the negative one, same thing, deep emotions, you know, how could you let us down like this? We saved and saved and we came and then this happened.
But the, the example that I wanted to share was it had us all in tears, in our meeting when we're reading this letter. But apparently the story is, and we. We got this letter from these two sisters or from a sister. And there were two sisters who had been estranged for many years. And then one of the sisters was diagnosed with cancer and they wanted to get back together and they decided to do this at Disney.
And they came to Walt Disney world and apparently had an amazing time and cast members doing just what they do offering to take their pictures so they could their pictures together in front of the castle and at various places in the park. And they completely reconciled and realized that they loved each other and all of this was in the letter.
And then the sister said, I just wanted you to know that... Disney brought us back together and made us realize that we loved each other. My sister passed three months ago and the picture that one of the cast members took for us in front of the castle is the last picture I have of the two of us together.
[00:10:20] Debbie: I mean, there is not a dry eye in the place. Oh. So now we're thinking something as simple as a cast member, seeing a person taking a picture and saying. Let me take that for you two, get in the picture together. So it's often the small things you do that represent your brand growth and how people feel about you. It's often not the big, huge things. It's the small things. And that was just one example. And. I know that whether you're a theme park or a concrete company or whatever, that these stories are out there, you can make your own brand stories just by the way you speak to people on the phone, your employees go the way to help them. Are they empathetic when there's a problem, you don't have to be a Disney to do these things. Uh, so all of those things build on your brand.
[00:11:14] KK: Absolutely. And it is that, uh, that idea that it's, it's a million little things, right? Mm-hmm , I think Walt said it was a infinite attention to detail, attention to detail that was, you know, how they, you know, created the success that they had. Um, and it is everything. And it's saying all the little things, um, that's such a great story. I think, you know, I love to integrate my, you know, business learnings with life learnings and I. Very often with the family. I got my arm out stressed. I'm trying to take a selfie. It's just not working out. Somebody recognizes that and says, Hey, would you like to take that picture? I'll take that picture for you. That is so nice. And it's just something that now I've tried to do. And now wow. With that story. I, um, you never know what a little thing that you do. Yeah. Uh, how it. Positively affect somebody's life. That's incredible.
[00:12:07] Debbie: And we talk about these small things, driving customer loyalty, right? One of the things that we are always talking to our customers about is if you wanna stay on top of the marketplace, you want customers for life. You want to figure out how to get those customers for life. Not only do they forgive you more often when you make mistakes, but. You can charge a little more and they don't care because they know they're going to have that exceptional experience and get their needs and wants taken care of. Right. I also like to remind people that there's a difference between loyalty and commitment. We always use the word loyalty because that's what our clients and what people relate to, but there really is a difference. And I always give this example. I am loyal to Delta Airlines and the reason that I am is because I have hundreds of thousands of airline points, and I'm constantly wanting to build on that because someday, uh, the husband and I are gonna take the whole family to Hawaii, you know, so we're gonna fly for free.
I am. I'm loyal for that, for that perk in particular, I'm not necessarily committed. And the difference is I will defect for a better deal. Mm. So if American Airlines says, Hey, we'll give you a free flight. For whatever reason, well, my next flight's gonna be with American Airlines so you not only want to build the, that loyalty, you want customers for life, but you wanna be sure that you have cemented their commitment in place, right? Not just loyalty. How do you not only create the loyalty and giveaways and so forth are one way to get it there, but then you have to keep them. And that's what commitment is about and you have to keep them no matter what, and that's what commitment is.
[00:13:54] KK: Yeah. We always talk about loyal customers for life and your example of, um, you know, you can raise your prices and people will overlook that. Right. So, so much of. What brands offer and what people buy is becoming more and more commoditized. I got choices. And honestly, yours, yours isn't that much different than theirs. Yes. But, um, you know, I think it was Tony Hsieh, God rest his soul, when he, when he started Zappos, he says, honestly, I didn't really think about what was gonna be in the boxes. I thought about creating a great customer service experience. Mm-hmm . And that's what made Zappos, the shoe juggernaut that it was mm-hmm um, I would just go there. I wouldn't price shop. I knew what I was gonna, I was gonna get a pair of shoes. If it didn't fit, I'd send 'em back and you know, no questions to ask. So if you can create that kind of commitment where I don't start price shopping. Then that is truly commitment, right? Yeah. That is, that is different. And at a higher level than, than loyalty.
[00:14:50] Debbie: I always, I always tell people it's not inexpensive to go to Disney as we know, but people do. The only time that money ever becomes an issue is if they don't feel like they had a magical experience.
Right. If they have a magical experience, if Disney lives up to their even unspoken promise, money's not the issue. Yeah. They save for it, they know it's going to be costly and they come. The only time money is an issue is if they don't feel like they have that magical experience. And that is a trait that follows all businesses. I'll pay a little bit more for exceptional service. If I don't get exceptional service, now I'm upset that you charge me so much.
[00:15:32] KK: right. You know, right. And I, and, and very often I talk to folks that have high level, uh, customer experiences that they're delivering. And we talk about, you know, do we raise our prices at least to cost of living and, you know, the companies I'm on a, a forum of a bunch of digital agencies and we talk about things and, you know, They say things like, oh, I raised my prices, uh, 8% this year and nobody even flinched nobody, nobody asked me, I had maybe one phone call out of, you know, 40 clients um, I think you told a story once that Disney was in a bit of a, you know, pickle about, you know, budgets and things and they raised prices and you know, much to their surprise sales went up. There was, there was no decrease. There were no questions about it, right. So the value of that kind of commitment to your brand is, uh, can't be underestimated
[00:16:22] Debbie: and not at all .It's the, do I feel like I'm getting the value for the money that I'm spending and what you have to understand is what is it that they value?
[00:16:32] KK: Yeah, exactly. So how do we create that kind of brand commitment, that kind of emotional connection. So we've got kind of that six questions that we did to when assessing your culture, but, um, the creative brief is where we always start.
I I've always loved the creative brief. I think it is one of the most powerful problem solving, um, documents. And, and exercises you can go through, typically you go through that with, with a professional. Um, but I, I often send it in advance and I ask, uh, folks at the company to fill it out with what they think. And then we go and we develop together. Mm-hmm . We will post this up on the website, disneywaydigital.com um, so you can get a copy and download and go through the exercise. Quickly to go through this. Um, it is about 10 questions and we walk brands through this. So you start with your objective, right?
What are we trying to achieve? And you know, maybe it is that, uh, lifelong connection or maybe it is we're going through a rebrand. And we were a product focused, you know, now we want to be people focused and, um, we wanna create that attachment. So let's be clear about your objective, what your, what you want your brand to represent.
Then next, we talked a little bit about this in our last exercise, but you need to know your audience. Who are we trying to reach? You know, don't ever mistake the folks in the room for your audience, right? Cause everyone in the room has an opinion they may need. They may look nothing like your audience.
So understand your audience to find who you're trying to reach, and that will play into all how all these pieces fit together. Um, what's the key insight? Right. So what is that key insight or truth about your brand that will drive the campaign that will come out of this? Right? So we're gonna develop this and then you have to go to market with it. So what is that key insight? What is, um, the USP, right? What makes you unique? And again, you know, I think Tony Hsieh that example. I can get shoes anywhere. He was selling Nikes. He was selling, you know, shoes that you could get anywhere else, but it was the experience that he created, um, not only on the website, but if you invariably, you had challenges and needed to contact customer support, either through chat or phone. I remember he had a directive that the customer service representative can never end the call. And I think they had a record that someone was on like four hours. Somebody just wanted to keep chatting. So , um, they were about delivering extraordinary service. Um, and that was their USP. Right. Again, I can get that same pair of shoes up the street at my shoe store or at another dot com but Zappos built their success on service. What's your promise. What's your brand promise. What's the single minded promise or idea that they need to communicate about in the brand. Um, what is your reason to believe? Right. So that's really important. Why should your audience believe it? So many people create a brief and an objective and, and, and thing that is something that's so aspirational and so focused on sometimes fixing their problems that it's not authentic.
And that's a word we use really often. Um, it needs all this needs to be authentic or else. Um, maybe, you know, 20 years ago when, when advertising was a one way street, you know, and we were just putting out messaging, but consumers have a voice now, very loud voice on social media. So if you're inauthentic any piece of this process, it'll shine through and it'll damage your brand.
Well, once we've gone through all these, what is your desired response? Let's let's, you know, what do you want that conversation to be? Um, wow. I, I, I went to the Harley Davidson store and they were fantastic. And when I get on that bike, it did not disappoint. You know, what do you want that conversation to be? What do you want people to say to their friends? What do you want them to think? What do you want them to feel and what do you want them to do? And then go through a little exercise about the brand's personality, you know, is your brand more of a Jerry Seinfeld or Robert de Niro? We go through this exercise often with clients, um, you know, Figure out what that personality is and, and less personified and more, you know, simply using, uh, descriptive words. Um, you know, is it friendly? Is it serious? Is it buttoned up? You know, is it casual? Is it scientific? Is it about innovation and tech forward, we work with our new Hard Rock brand called Reverb hotels. They're all about music. Although they flipped the script a little from the core Hard Rock brand, they're, they're focused on the fan, not the rock stars. Um, and they are tech forward. They know very much who they are, you know, that we're using technology. Your experience at the hotel will be very frictionless and tech driven. So that's an example of somebody really knows their personality and who they are . Um, and then we talk a little bit about what's the creative output. Once we've got all this defined, are we creating a TV commercial, a radio spot, uh, social media content, and where will these communications run? So those are a little less about the brand, a little more about the campaign that will come out of it. And then of course we have down the bottom here, deadlines and budget, but, uh, we don't need to talk about that right now in this context.
But as I said, we will post this up on, on the website, uh, Disney way digital, but this is a fantastic exercise that you can start by yourself, but I encourage you to, to go through this with a professional and with that, Deb, I think we're pretty much out of time for this episode. So hopefully we've demystified brand a bit. There's much, much, much more to come on this topic. Yeah. But this is kind of our first entry into demystifying brand. Well, I think that brings us to the end. So wait, we always have to give the greatest piece of advice you'll ever get this week which this week, right. Which is, you know, we believe you really should hire a professional to examine your brand and your culture. Right. Those two things should be integrated. Um, so this idea of, of, let's say you do go, you take a look at the, the creative brief, and it seems like it's some something you'd like to go through and, um, rethink your brand, your brand position in the market. And, uh, how you'd like to develop the, the emotional connection with your consumer, um, hire a professional. You don't have to spend a gazillion dollars. It could be a one person shop who's just a facilitator and can stand that. Or it could be an agency that you know, is going to develop the brand, develop the campaign and, you know, buy your media and, you know, do the whole, uh, soup to nuts. So, uh, one or another, you should really hire professional to examine your brand and your culture. All right, folks. Thanks so much for listening and we'll see you next week.
[00:23:02] Debbie: Thank you.
[00:23:07] Outro: You've been listening to the Disney Way for the Digital age!
Our producer and engineer is Steven Byrom. Show coordinator is Taranpreet Trehan. And voiceover by Cindy Clifford. Kevin and Debbie can be reached for free advice or paid consulting at [email protected] or [email protected]. A new episode is released each Tuesday morning. We hope you’ll continue to listen!
To leave or reply to comments, please download free Podbean or
To leave or reply to comments, please download free Podbean App.