Monday, April 27, 2009

The Magic Kingdom Still Does It Right

This year we're celebrating 3o years in business. To mark the occasion, the president took the staff and their families to Disney World in Florida. The vacation was spectacular. Not only was the weather beautiful but the Disney brand never let me down.

The parks were immaculately clean, the food in Epcot was delicious, and the Tower of Terror was awesome. The Magic Kingdom was the only property that showed a little wear and tear, but you had to look really, really close.

Spending four years in Florida I've been lucky enough to visit Disney many, many times. And with each trip I come to realize how successful companies build powerful brands. Like the McDonald's franchise, where you can expect your burger to taste EXACTLY the same no matter what joint you walk into, Disney has perfected the "magic" that delights children and adults alike so that when ever you visit, you know you're going to have one heck of a time - Ride the Jungle Cruise and you hear the same funny jokes. Get an autograph from Goofy and he signs it the same silly way. Have breakfast at the Polynesian Resort and you'll be greeted by the waitress with a boisterous, "Hey, cousin, it's good to see you again!" It's like your favorite sitcom where you can repeat the lines even before they're spoken. My eight year old son was amazed how I predicted what the cast of characters were about to do at the Hoop Dee Doo Review. "How did you know that?" he blurted out numerous times while BBQ sauce continuously dripped from his lips. I knew the routine all too well and envisioned me asking my dad the same question 36 years ago.

Businesses can learn some valuable lessons from Walt Disney. Specialize - do one thing extremely well. Systematize - make your business work for you even if you were away for an extended period of time. Systematization will also guarantee that your product or service will result in the same end-product each and every time your client makes a purchase. Have Fun - If you're not having fun, you're probably in the wrong business.

It's amazing how much you can learn from a little old mouse. It's a small world after all!

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