Walt Disney Company
The Walt Disney Company is the largest media conglomerate in the world that has holdings in publishing, online media, music, radio, theater, traveling, television, and film. Thus, it is the owner of publishing companies, theaters, record labels, theme parks, TV networks, and production companies. The mission of the Walt Disney Company is to be the leading provider and producer of information and entertainment. The function of this company is to diversify international media enterprise and family entertainment. The values of the Walt Disney Company are innovation, integrity, diversity, and creativity. Thus, the company has a unique marketing performance that can be regarded as exemplary. Therefore, this paper intends to analyze the peculiarities of the Walt Disney Company marketing strategies and understand the factors contributing to its competitive advantage.
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A Brief Description
The Walt Disney Company was founded in 1923 by Walt and Roy Disney (The Walt Disney Company 1). At first, the company produced only silent films and was known as the Disney Brothers Studio. However, they got an absolute success in 1928 with Mickey Mouse debut, which has become the icon of cartoons (The Walt Disney Company 1). In 1932, they produced the first full-color cartoon and became the first Academy Award winner (The Walt Disney Company 1). The main Disney locations are Paris, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Florida, and California. The main company divisions are the following: media networks, parks and resorts, the Walt-Disney Studios, Disney Consumer Products, and Disney Interactive Media Group (The Walt Disney Company 1). The strengths of the Walt Disney Company include a strong brand image, wide and unique portfolio, quality customer service, and a variety of services. Consequently, the company offers the best entertainment services in the world that are based on innovation, creativity, and reliance on childhood experiences and memories.
Segmentation, Targeting, and Positioning
Market segmentation is used by the Disney Company to define customers’ needs and desires. Thus, the company uses psychographic, demographic, and geographic segmentation to locate their target market. Geographic segmentation is related to climatic conditions, market density, market size, and a region of the country. It was used for the location of theme parks Disney World and Disneyland in the USA, India, Japan, and Europe (The Walt Disney 1). Demographic segmentation presupposes taking into consideration a family life cycle, ethnic background, income, gender, and age. This type of market segmentation helps to determine what movies they should create and where to distribute them. Psychographic segmentation includes the lifestyles, motives, and personalities of customers to define those who will be interested in their products and services.
The Walt Disney Company targets its brands on such market segments as families and children. It is obvious that the company has chosen the target audience of all ages (child, teen, and parents). Thus, Disney brands suggest ‘Playhouse Disney’ that includes toys and animation films for children. It provides the Radio Disney and the Disney Channel that include entertaining shows and live-action films for teenagers. However, the company does not limit its products and services to one target age group; thus, action films such as Pirates of the Caribbean are attractive not only for teens but also for adults (The Walt Disney 2). The Disney Company targets adults using a ‘family approach.’ It means that Disney theme parks are appointed for the whole families as they provide products and services that will be interesting to the customers of all age categories. Thus, diversification of products and services is a must for the Walt Disney Company.
The positioning strategy of the Walt Disney Company is realized according to the following questions: what, how, to whom, where, why, and when. Thus, the company is the only entertainment and media organization, which benefits their position in the global market. The organization refers to its brand to products and services from many areas targeted at families, both children, and their parents. The positioning strategy of the Walt Disney Company is favorable as it operates worldwide, pursuing the noble mission to preserve the magic of childhood. Furthermore, the company operates in an era of social disparity and high stress; therefore, Disney provides services that benefit human psychological health (Mannheim 99). The company’s positioning strategy is well-developed since it has chosen a narrow audience comparing to its competitors, and consistent innovation reinforces its position among the rivals. The positioning strategy should also be reinforced in its sales locations. Therefore, the Walt Disney Company uses both traditional direct marketing and digital ones.
Disney Products, Services, and Branding Strategies
Disney products and services are diverse, and they can be divided into the following categories: media networks, parks and resorts, entertainment studios, and consumer products. Media network presupposes Internet operations, television production and distribution, and a domestic broadcasting television network. The company works in two divisions: ESPN, Inc., and ABC Television Group. Consumer products include the Disney Store, books, magazines, Buena Vista Games, and Disney catalog. Studio entertainment presupposes such services as music and audio products publishing, television distribution, and theatrical distribution. Parks and resorts include Hong Kong Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, Disney Engineering, and Zone Disneyland Resort. Thus, Disney has 43 resorts and 11 theme parks (Mannheim 105). It is obvious that the product strategy of the Disney Company is well-developed as the number of products and services is increasing constantly.
Branding strategies of Disney are based on an extension of its brand image worldwide. Thus, the company uses innovative opportunities to change customers’ behaviors and attitudes toward lifestyle and entertainment. Consequently, the Disney Company uses reality TV, live mobile, merchandising standards, communication systems, and employee training. Another branding strategy of the Disney Company is the creation of a powerful image to influence and attract customers’ attention. It means that Disney revitalizes adults’ memories from childhood and creates children’s ones. Moreover, the company uses the strategy of brand extension, namely by engaging in charity, pet care services, casino industry, family fitness, banking industry, and pediatric healthcare. Such an approach makes Disney brand more recognized as it increases customer awareness, identity, and loyalty. Thus, the brand benefits refer to associations with customers’ dreams and fantastic stories. The brand personalities of Disney are based on such features as creativity, imagination, laughter, fun, and loyalty.
Pricing Strategies of the Disney Company
As to pricing strategies, Disney Company a demand-based pricing strategy. It means that tickets at entertainment parks cost more during holidays, and the company increases its prices on weekends to 20%. During other periods, the prices decrease as the demand is low. It is obvious that the Disney Company takes into consideration seasonal changes while establishing prices on services and products. Currently, a single-day ticket costs $99. However, this price also depends on the day of the week. Thus, peak tickets or weekend tickets cost $119. Regular tickets cost $105. Value tickets drop to $95 (The Walt Disney Company 2).
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It is evident that the pricing strategies of the Walt Disney Company are flexible and preconditioned by the demand for their products and services. It is necessary to mention that such an approach to prices faces much criticism as most companies practice the opposite strategy. However, as the Disney Company provides unique products and services, it can use this pricing strategy. The demand for media and entertainment products and services is high, but the proposition is also high as Warner Bros and Universal are the main competitors of the Disney Company. As a result, it should take into consideration customers’ sensitivity to prices and their buying power to decrease in their prices and focus on sales rather than the introduction of new services. The Disney Company should also be more cooperative and collaborative in the relationships with the customers.
The Channels of Distribution
Disney’s distribution objectives presuppose defining the target segments and the best distribution channels for them and minimizing the total distribution costs. The Disney Company has a variety of distribution channels as it owns a large number of TV stations and media organizations. As it operates globally, it should have a particular distribution strategy. Thus, the Disney Company sells its videos through Disney’s retail stores, movie rental stores, and such retailers as Best Buy, online retailers such as Amazon, Disney’s own catalogs, and own online stores. One should mention that Disney enters into exclusive distribution agreements with Wal-Mart. Such an approach to distribution empowers the company to sell its products more effectively and achieve maximum market coverage, taking into consideration the geographic location and market segment. Disney is free to arrange its distribution channel. However, it should take care of its ethical practice as distribution agreements with such companies as McDonald’s can damage its reputation and pay attention to such aspects as child health and safety. As the Disney Company has the most extensive distribution channel in the entertainment area, it should constantly improve as it determines how the customer will get the product or service.
Marketing Communication Strategy
Marketing communication strategy of the Disney Company is used to promote their products and services effectively. Thus, its marketing communication strategy is based on a combination of personal selling, sales promotion, public relations, and advertising. It means that the company communicates and influences the customer directly and indirectly. The promotional message of the Disney Company is the AIDA concept, which stands for attention, interest, desire, and actions (Latshaw 15). It is evident that the company catches customers’ attention with the help of the Internet, transit cards, billboards, magazines, newspapers, radio, and television. Moreover, a strong brand image is another way to catch attention. The Disney Company creates interest in their products and services through public relations and involvement of educational, environmental, safety, and public health issues. Another way of communication with the customers includes enticing a desire for the product with the help of animation films that intend to create a beautiful picture and provoke feelings and emotions (Latshaw 10). The final step is associated with actions. It means that Disney uses mass communication with customers through websites, e-mailing, and asking for feedback. Disney’s communication with customers is based on push and pulls tactics. The push tactics include personal interaction with the customer with the help of e-mail, messages, and websites. The pull tactics presuppose public relations, sales promotion and discounts, mass media promotion, and advertising campaigns.
Even such a powerful company as Disney has competitors. These are Universal and Warner Bros. However, the company has a competitive advantage, including advertising, financial position, management, global expansion, customers’ loyalty, brand awareness, and creativity, which differentiate it from other media and entertainment organizations. Consequently, the Disney Company uses its competitive advantage to influence and manipulate customers’ feelings and emotions. Thus, the company has a unique ability to capture the audience’s hearts and generate profits at the same time. This aspect differentiates the Disney Company from its competitors, who are less thrilling and emotional. Furthermore, the company uses its competitive advantage in the establishment of personal strategies in promotion and pricing. For example, the value-based pricing strategy does not deter customers from buying Disney’s products and services since the company’s brand image and reputation are strong (The Walt Disney Company 2). It is necessary to mention that Disney’s competitiveness helps them in the development and growth of product and distribution strategies. The competitive position has helped Disney to achieve global recognition, increase its market share, penetration in new markets, and strengthen its brand image.
Successes, Failures, and Recommendations
The company’s successes are obvious. First, they are related to its world recognition and strong brand image. Second, the company has achieved success in children’s film-related products. Third, the Disney Company has developed a variety of companies, thus showing its innovation, creativity, and value. Another success of Disney is innovation in the entertainment business. Disney’s success is related to the implementation of such strategic practices as the development of a positive image in the community, variety in their portfolio, maintenance of transparent communication, and offering diverse employment opportunities. Brand recognition is another achievement of the Disney Company that distinguishes it from its competitors (The Walt Disney Company 2).
Thus, the Disney Company should continue to work for the sake of their customers, astonishing them with the best quality products and services. It is also recommended to target new customer groups as Disney’s products can win their attention. Moreover, investment in theme parks is a must to promote theme park attendance and hotel occupancy. The Disney Company should also look for new locations for their theme parks.
The failures of Disney are related to the problems with child safety. It means that the company should prioritize this aspect to avoid ethical issues. Another weakness of the Disney Company is high employee turnover and poor factory conditions. It is obvious that the company has problems with HRM that should be solved immediately to avoid the harmful impact on the corporate image.
Moreover, there is the thought that the Disney Company has a corrupt impact on children. Thus, the company should develop more educational services that will benefit children’s growth. Another failure of the Disney Company is that it depicts its characters in the negative light. For example, Disney’s Pinocchio is a liar, Robin Hood is a thief, and Tarzan walks without clothes (The Walt Disney Company 1). Therefore, Disney’s producers should take into consideration the fact that they create products for children. It is recommended to provide a positive corporate image and ethical decisions as Disney targets children and reminds adults about their childhood. However, currently, there are some cases that prove that Disney is looking for profitability, thus ignoring children’s interests.
In conclusion, it is necessary to point out that the Walt Disney Company is an exemplary organization that excites with its history, inspires with its success, and makes competitors copy its marketing strategies. The company segments, targets, and positions its key products through strictly determined approaches and practices. It means that the Disney Company is strategic, and all its actions and steps are well-planned and organized. Product and branding strategies reinforce their brand image and position in the market. The pricing strategy proves that the Disney Company has loyal customers who are ready to pay even for their brand. The distribution channel is extensive and differs from its competitors by its complex structure. The competitive advantage of Disney helps it increase its market share and the number of customers and promote its products and services. The Walt Disney Company has its strengths and weaknesses. However, it remains unique and exemplary because its marketing is based on responsibility, integrity, innovation, and diversity. Moreover, the value of the Disney Company is that it develops the most profitable, innovative, and creative entertainment services.