Where other companies have come, gone, and faded away, as a brand, The Walt Disney Company is a phenom.
Time has only strengthened the Disney brand, and it is continually ranked amongst the best, most powerful, and most recognisable brands in the world.
But that’s not to say that Disney hasn’t had its dark times, where the creative vision and innovation of those leading the charge were sapped, leaving them unsure of which direction to go in next. The most poignant example of this was when Walt Disney himself passed away at the end of 1966, leaving hundreds, if not thousands, of employed creatives without their visionary leader.
After Walt’s death, the board of directors were left not quite sure where they were going. When faced with big decisions and future plans, they kept asking, “What would Walt do?” and the fear/possible misunderstanding of Walt’s vision resulted in many great projects and ideas being killed because they weren’t sure which direction to take.
Enter Marty Sklar.
Marty Sklar was the first editor of the newspaper produced for Mainstreet USA, but also became known as Walt’s favourite script writer. Throughout the last decade or so of Walt’s life, Marty’s words became Walt’s voice.
As the arbiter of Walt’s principles, a few years after Walt’s death, Marty compiled a blue booklet that preserved Disney’s core design philosophies. It was a bible of sorts that would guide future generations of Disney imagineers and board members on what to do and (possibly more importantly) what not to do when faced with future decision making.
Knowing your brand’s moral code_
The core philosophies and values of any business can be viewed as a set of train tracks, and the business itself is the train. If the tracks aren’t placed as the most important aspect of the railroad system, then your train will become derailed – and fast.
When a whole team is aligned on your brand’s moral code, the subsequent behaviours, decisions, and actions will always be heavily guided, ensuring that the integrity of the brand remains untouched and the solid foundation of the brand becomes all the more rooted and recognisable to your customer.
Refining and articulating your moral code is the first, most important, and biggest part of creating a brand strategy that will keep your brand magic alive for generations to come (provided you stick to it and don’t go off piste like Disney must’ve done when deciding to release The Home on The Range – absolute 1 out of 10).
- Don’t make business decision-making harder than it needs to be by not having a robust set of core values that underpin you and your team’s behaviours, decisions, and actions.
- Don’t jump on trends or skip to marketing tactics without first putting in the strategic groundwork – they may seem bright and shiny but will they answer the problem you’re trying to solve for your customer?
- Not knowing or being able to articulate your brand’s moral code will affect the culture within your team. As Kevin Rose, Partner at Google, once said: “A team aligned behind a vision will move mountains. Sell them on your roadmap and don’t compromise—care about the details, the fit and finish.”
Align your business behaviours, decisions, and actions.
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