Disney's Branding Approach

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Disney/Marvel’s critical analysis of approach to branding and marketing communications using concepts from B825 units five (branding) and six (communications) based on Apple Case Question A.

Q. A: Critically analyse Apple’s approach to branding and marketing communications using concepts from B825 units five (branding) and six (communications). (20 marks)

The case talks about two brands Disney and Marvel in the light of the recent acquisition of Marvel by Disney. Hence not only Disney’s and Marvel’s approached to branding and marketing communications will be analysed, but also the effects of the above merge to these processes.

De Chernatony and Mcdonald define brand as an identifiable product, service, person or place augmented in such a way that the buyer or user perceives relevant unique sustainable added values that match their needs most closely

Perrier argues that ‘depending on the market up to 70% of the earning can be attributed to brand’, and John Stuart from Quaker Oats reinforces this assertion by saying that he will quite happy to be left with brands, trademarks and goodwill if his business were to be split up.

Assuming that we are clear on the importance of brands in value generation for an organisation and its stakeholders including consumers it is then of crucial importance to understand how organisations manage their branding processes and if there is any room for improvement.

The process of building and sustaining brands is a perfect model to start with for analysing Disney’s and Marvel’s approach to branding as it talks about such essential elements of branding as

- Brand vision

- Brand objective

- Brand audit

- Brand essence

- Brand resources

- Brand evaluation

As we all know Disney’s brand is underpinned by a collection of characters from classic Disney films embodying Disney’s storytelling heritage and the emotional connection that parents have with their childhood moments (brand vision). Disney’s brand core values are built on

- guiding principles of clean, safe and wholesome of fun & entertainment for all ages - it attracts people who share traditional family values. Adult Disney fans would like their children to adopt Disney’s brand promise. - Disney differentiates its brand by not promoting violence and sex in its books, movies and theme parks. Disney brand also offers such added values as toys modeled after popular Disney characters, clothes, mobiles with Disney logos, etc.

Brand objectives translate brand vision into long-term and short-term objectives. On the one hand Disney is planning to continue the sustainable development of its classic portfolio. On another hand with purchasing of Marvel it has already rebranded its Disney XD (digital TV) to focus more on boys’ audience. It includes adding more of Marvel content, which is in contradiction of with Disney brand vision. One can say that rebranding of the TV Channel does not mean rebranding of Disney content; it would have been true if the channel had not carried a Disney name and have association with other core Disney products. So it tells us that from the current short-term objectives perspective of Disney brand it is boys’ audience which is meant to benefit. But the recent Twitter battles tell us that some of Marvel-lovers are not going to enjoy this benefit. And it is only the retention of Disney and Marvel characters will motivate the least resentful customers to continue buying the brand.

Besides Disney has recently changed its Corporate Objective that proclaims that it is now aimed to be one of the world's leading producers and providers of entertainment and information, using its portfolio of brands to differentiate its content, services and consumer products. The company's primary financial goals are to maximize earnings and cash flow, and to allocate capital toward growth initiatives that will drive long-term shareholder value...
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