Are you minding your packaging?

The smartest brands know that having an awesome product/service is important but how you present that awesome product or service matters too.  Yes, it probably costs more. And yes, it means you have to keep upping your game. So there’s risk and cost in making that choice. But it’s what separates the premium brands from their competitors.

Here are two of the world’s best brands and example of how seriously they take the simple presentation of their product.  Check out how Disney presents their MagicBands and Apple is sending out its new Apple Watch.

This is how Disney mails out their MagicBands.

This is how Disney mails out their MagicBands.


Inside the box is your personalized MagicBand -- in the color you selected and with your name printed on the inside of the band.

Inside the box is your personalized MagicBand — in the color you selected and with your name printed on the inside of the band.


This is the packaging for the Apple Watch.

This is the packaging for the Apple Watch.


And finally, you get to your new watch.

And finally, you get to your new watch.


In every case — the anticipation of actually getting to the product (and keep in mind with the Disney MagicBands — the bands are simply the access point to getting into Disney) heightens the experience of getting the actual item.

They don’t have to go to the extra lengths — but they do. Which triggers even more buzz and loyalty for their brand.

So — how can you, no matter what you sell, use anticipation and packaging to elevate your brand and create more buzz?

Actually, it’s isn’t all about you

Gaston2At a recent jaunt to Disney World*, I found a great marketing reminder for us all.   Right in front of the brand new Gaston’s Tavern in Fantasyland, there’s a huge statue of…no shocker, Gaston. (For those of you unfamiliar with Beauty and the Beast — shame on you!).

In front of the statue is this plaque that reads:

Tribute to Gaston

An extravagantly generous gift to the humble people of my village.

From Me, Gaston

Of course…Gaston is the buffoon in the movie but all too often brands and companies get their Gaston on.  They behave as though it’s all about them.  They talk about themselves incessantly (go on…look at your website — who do you talk about?) and they behave as though they are a gift to the people they’re supposed to serve.

We laugh at the behavior when Gaston does it in the movie.  We shake our head when we talk about how “other” companies market this way -but when was the last time you did an honest gut check of your own marketing materials?

If you aren’t talking about what really matters to your potential customers and customers — odds are, you’re talking about yourself.

So a little message from Gaston and me — get over yourself and start focusing on sharing what you know/do in a way that actually helps and serves your clientele.


*Note:  Yes, I know I start a lot of posts with this sentence.  I’m a 12 year old boy trapped in a grown up’s body.  I can’t help it.

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How badly do you want it?

There’s a remarkable difference between wishing for something and the relentless pursuit of a dream.

On this, the 65th anniversary of when they broke ground on Walt Disney World… I ask you this:

What do you want so badly that you’d ignore all the nay sayers, tune out all of negativity, keep getting up every time you get knocked down and when you close your eyes… you don’t see what might be, you see what WILL be?

And… when are you going to start making it a reality?  Walt Disney faced bankruptcy, professional ruin, and more “no’s” than you or I could ever imagine hearing.  But the vision was so strong, so real and so non-negotiable – he simply kept at it.

There’s a famous story that I love.  On the opening day of Walt Disney World, Walt’s brother Roy was being interviewed.  The reporter commented that it was a shame that Walt did not live to see it.  Roy quietly replied, “if Walt hadn’t seen it first, we wouldn’t be seeing it today.”

When you let yourself close your eyes and see the most audacious, crazy but spectacular thing in the world… what do you see and what are you doing to create it?

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How Disney says "I'm sorry"

Disneysorry_drewmclellanIt's inevitable…we're going to make a mistake or disappoint a customer.  And while Love Story might have told us that "love means never having to say you're sorry" I'm pretty sure that if we really want to create a love affair with our customers — we do on occasion, have to apologize.

The brilliant marketers at Disney know that for many, a trip to one of their resorts is a once in a lifetime event for a family.  So if they mess up, they'd better apologize in a big way.

Like most hotels, check in at Disney's Boardwalk is 4 pm.  But our room wasn't ready until around 6 pm.  Oops.

How did Disney handle their error?  First, we got a $200 credit on our room tab.  And then, there was a knock at the door and room service presented us with this beautiful (and delicious) 8" white chocolate Mickey and four tuxedo'd chocolate covered strawberries.

Do you suppose that right after we finally checked in, someone scrambled to figure out how to make things right with us?  Of course not.  Disney had a plan in place and all the cast member had to do was put it into action.

How about you — what's your white chocolate Mickey?  Don't wait until after you've disappointed a customer to figure out how to apologize.  


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Are you evolving with your marketplace?

One of the challenges for any mature business to to balance the two ideals — staying true to your brand's core and yet still being nimble enough to evolve with your marketplace.

As you may know, I am a bonafide Disneyophile.  I have been to Walt Disney World at least once a year since it opened in 1971.  Back in the late 70's and 80's, the only real competition to Disney was SeaWorld in Orlando and if you wanted to make the drive, Busch Gardens in Tampa.

I can remember leaving Disney property to head to SeaWorld as a kid.  It was a great day — Shamu the whale, feeding the dolphins the dead fish and watching a water skiing show.  There were many things to see and watch, but there wasn't a lot to do.  As a pre-teen boy, I was full of energy and loved thrill rides, like roller coasters.  So after our initial SeaWorld visit, my parents couldn't convince me that going back was worth losing a day of Disney's rides.

In the late 90's, Universal Studios added to the market by building two theme parks, packed with thrill rides.  Which I'm sure added even more pressure to Sea World.  They had two choices.  Stick with just Shamu & gang or branch out and add a thrill ride or two.  They opted for #2 and just last week opened The Manta.

Want to see how it might feel to ride the Manta?  Check out this POV animation of what the ride will be like.

What do you think?  I'm a little torn.  They did a good job of keeping the ride tied to their brand.  And I'm sure it will help them attract more young families, whose kids want thrill rides.

But on the flip side, their brand is about learning more about sea life and getting up close and personal.  Did Orlando really need another roller coaster?

If you were on the planning team at Sea World, would you have recommended the thrill ride or something different to keep up with the marketplace?

Check out Sea World's new Manta roller coaster!

P.S.  The logo below tells you that I heard about the Manta from IZEA and because I'm using their link, I'll get paid a whopping 50 cents per click.  I use that sort of money to pay for mailing out the free books etc. that we do here on the blog.  Pretty sure I'll never break even but you never know! ;-}

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It was inevitable, really.

I will probably be posting quite a bit less often with this latest development.  I wanted to share the news with you as soon as it was made public.  (feed and e-mail readers, please click on the headline to see the video)

You know there are very few things that would take me away from the blog….but come on!

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