I can’t help it. Ever since I can remember, I’ve been in awe of the Disney brand and how Disney manages to stick to their brand when it comes to their parks and resorts. The Disney brand delivers a family-friendly magical experience. That’s what keeps you loyal and their brand strong. Every ounce of the Disney parks and resorts focus on creating that magical experience for its guests.
Your blog’s brand should work the same way. When people visit your blog, they should “hear” your voice and feel the experience you’re trying to create. No matter what you blog about, you have a brand. Your brand, whether created intentionally or not, is what you’re known for.
Disney has taught me a lot of branding over the years. Some lessons I learned long ago and others I experienced for the first time during our recent trip to Disney World for the Disney Social Media Mom Celebration. Read on to see what I mean.
Keep Clutter Away: The Clean Parks
If you’ve ever been to a Disney park, you’ve probably noticed how brand-spanking clean it is. In my recent trip, I never remember having to stuff a drink cup into a trash can or seeing candy wrappers laying on the ground. That’s because every cast member (any Disney park employee) keeps the park clean. If any cast member sees trash, they pick it up regardless of whether they’re a high-ranking manager or a concession worker. Disney knows that magical, fantastical places don’t involve litter.
Blogging Takeaway: Keep your blog free of clutter. A cluttered blog is less enjoyable and more distracting. Continually look at your overall design (especially those sidebars) to ensure clutter doesn’t keep your readers from focusing on your great content.
Make Something Easier: The Magical Express
Before this trip to Disney World, I hadn’t been to any of the parks in ages. In many ways, this trip was like going for the first time. I tell you what – I don’t think I’ll ever stay anywhere else but a Disney resort. One reason is the Magical Express. With reservations, this free service takes you from the airport to the resort. Best part is they’ll haul your luggage baggage claim and deliver it to your room. On the return trip, they take your luggage at the resort (you actually check into your flight at the resort) and you don’t see it until it’s popping out of luggage claim at home sweet home. Hauling luggage around can be unwieldy and frustrating, especially with young kids, so this service is priceless.
Blogging Takeaway: Eliminate points of possible frustration for your reader. This could mean adding more images to your step-by-step craft tutorial so someone doesn’t get frustrated with not “getting” a certain step. It could also mean putting your social media buttons in plain sight so your readers don’t have to dig for them.
Pay Attention to Details: Artwork at Art of Animation
Disney is the king of infusing their brand into just about everything. While you may only notice the more obvious details at first, they take branding many levels deeper so that details permeate even the most seemingly innocuous parts of the parks and resorts. One example is the artwork inside the Resort Airline Check-in at the Art of Animation resort.
You wouldn’t think the decor would be all business. After all, this area is the place you go when you’re leaving the resort and checking your bags for your flight home. Yet Disney still manages to make you smile with nods to two beloved Disney characters.
Blogging Takeaway: Think about places on your blog you can infuse some branding. Could you change “Leave a Comment” to something that’s truer to your voice? Could you add a design element from your header to your sidebar? Use aspects of your brand to bring a little more you into the details.
Solve a Problem: The FASTPASS
When you think about going to Disney World, you can’t help but dread the long waits on some of the best rides. Disney knows no one enjoys long wait times so they came out with a way to solve that problem. Many rides offer a FASTPASSES. Instead of waiting in line, you just insert your park ticket into a FASTPASS machine and receive a ticket with a return time. You have a one-hour window to return to the ride, bypassing the regular line for a much, much shorter FASTPASS line.
Blogging Takeaway: Use your blog’s content to solve problems. For a food blogger, maybe you’re trying to solve the reader’s problem of needing quick, healthy weekday meals. For a lifestyle blogger, perhaps you solve the reader’s problem of needing an escape from daily life. Your blog makes them laugh hysterically, forgetting their crazy life for a few minutes.
Design Intuitively: Test Track’s Design Studio
The most anticipated attraction for my oldest son Noah was Test Track. It’s a little car-lover’s dream because you get to design your own car then test its performance on the test track. I admit – I was a little nervous about Noah designing a car. I hoped that it wasn’t too difficult for him (and me) to figure out. I was more than pleasantly surprised when we got to the design studio. The software to design your own car was simply amazing. To make part of the car larger, just touch the circles and drag them out to create a larger body. To change the color, play around with the color wheel by sliding your finger onto any color you want. Disney and Chevrolet made the entire experience not only look cool but made it easy to use too: design perfection.
You can visit the Disney blog to see some cool pictures of the attraction and see what I mean.
Blogging Takeaway: A pretty blog with no sensible navigation or logical flow isn’t really all that pretty. Design is also about how things work. While your first thought about a brand may be your logo, tagline or colors, don’t forget that branding is also about the experience. Give your readers a great one.
Be Considerate of Your Audience: Pointing with Two Fingers
Not sure if you’ve ever noticed this, but Disney cast members point with two fingers. If you ask where the bathroom is, two fingers gently point you to the closest one. The Disney parks are full of people from a mix of countries and cultures. In some cultures, pointing with one finger is considered extremely rude (you may think it’s rude too). So cast members use two fingers to point (and they really are consistent with this one).
Blogging Takeaway: Don’t offend your audience or scare them away. Know who you audience is (and isn’t) then make sure your blog brand (content, look, feel and so on) aligns to the readers you want to attract.
Give Your Readers Some Ooh-Ahh: The Rock at Under the Sea
One of Disney’s classic attractions was 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. During one of our events, someone from Disney showed us a picture of a Nautilus submarine impression in the rocks at the new Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid. A little ode to a classic attraction weaved into a new attraction.
Another example is the pool at the Art of Animation resort. Stick your head underwater and listen to sounds you’ll only hear from the underwater speakers. Talk about ooh-ahh! I actually saw the reaction on people’s faces when they figured it out.
When it comes to designing attractions at Disney World, just about everything has meaning. The Disney brand is about giving guests some ooh-ahh moments that provide something totally unexpected and magical.
Blogging Takeaway: Give your readers something to make them run and tell their friends. A bonus this, a surprise that, an extra thing. It could something completely new or taking something you already do taken one step further. Make them say ooh-ahh.
Which lesson resonates with you the most?
Disclosure: I attended the Disney Social Media Moms Conference and received discounted rates and tickets to various events and attractions. Any opinions are entirely my own.