Every other year for the past 10 years, the entirety of The Walt Disney Company has descended to the Anaheim Convention Center to tout its power. If there’s one thing that people can do to measure the enormity of Disney in the world, it’s measuring the scale and success of the D23 Expo.
It striking to think how large the event and the number of people have grown even these past 10 years. This year’s Expo is breaking records with guests arriving from all 50 states and 47 countries, 1,000,000 square feet of things to do, 200+ presentations, and over 1,000 new digital products and souvenirs.
While the numbers are enough to gawk, it’s important to realize what powers all that. In one word, ‘brand’.
The Disney brand is among the most valuable in the world. Slap the name or logo on any product or service and it is immediately snapped up by generations of Disney fans all around the globe. What they are snapping up has grown exponentially also.
Walt’s original vision of wanting to entertain the world through animated movies has grown to now include theme parks, TV shows, social media, and other big-brand studios that do the same thing.
The 2019 D23 Expo will have pavilions for those studios now within the Disney kingdom of businesses like Lucasfilm, Marvel, and Pixar. With this year’s acquisition of Fox and majority stake in Hulu, you can bet you’ll find all of their stories within the existing Disney ecosystem, including their new streaming service, Disney+.
Altogether, the three-day long event that is basically a flex of brand power to the world and other entertainment companies that are aiming to compete. But the winner this year seems clear.
Earlier this year, a nine-year study by MBLM, a leading brand agency, concluded that Disney is the most “intimate” brand amongst consumers for 2019. In other words, The Walt Disney Company has won over the hearts and minds of people through the last year.
According to a news release posted on Disney’s corporate website announcing the result, “The study was designed primarily to gain insights into consumer relationships with almost 400 brands. Disney’s associations with nostalgia, and the strong bonds it builds with both men and women across a variety of age groups, propelled it to the top of this year’s list. Disney especially resonated with users in younger demographics, and the study found millennials and users aged 35–54 were more intimate with media and entertainment brands.”
When you think about the widespread reach of the Company from male to female and old to young, you can’t help but question why. And you don’t have to look further than how you feel.
“It’s really all about the content, what Disney delivers,” said Mario Natarelli a partner of MBLM who led the study. “We consume their products and services so much because our emotions are telling us to.”
We all ‘feel’ and we all ‘feel’ in different ways. Disney’s stories that we consumer from movies, TV, theme parks, consumer products, digital platforms and more always seem to leave a lasting impression on us. They make us crave more because we relate on a variety of different levels, ways (e.g. synergy across line of businesses and facilitating technology) and seasons in our lives. And like a good friend, we become close.
That’s not to say that Disney is literally forcing their content creators to make us emotional vulnerable to drive business. However, the effects of having their creators understand that their most powerful tool in their storytelling kit is emotion is only driving demand and profits for Disney higher and higher, year after year.
Natarelli continued, “The more intimate a brand is, the better you do financially.”
So once again in Anaheim, right across the street from one of their theme park destinations, thousands of people from all walks of life will come to enjoy what Disney does best: create a branded space where you can come, escape, and ‘feel’ for a while.
Our special thanks to Mario Natarelli and MBLM for contributing to this story! You can read the entire 2019 Brand Intimacy Study here.