Disney vs. Universal

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Case Study 1: The Magic of Harry Potter Mystifies Universal Theme Parks Janaki Kannan
University of Miami

1) Universal studios tends to mimic the strategies of Walt Disney World. Please take the time to study some of World Disney World’s branding, entrepreneurial, and new product development strategies and demonstrate them in a short paper (4-5 Pages) Walt Disney World – these are three words that anybody and everybody can relate to no matter where they come from, the language they speak, or the culture they belong to. Every child grows up in the midst of Disney characters, animation movies, and cartoons. It is almost like the first word out of a child’s mouth is Disney. On the other hand, it is not only kids, but also adults who enjoy visiting Disney parks and riding all the rides they offer. So what has Disney done to create such a strong impression in the minds of both adults and kids? Let us take a look at the different approaches and strategies Disney uses not only to gain customer loyalty but also to retain existing customers. To begin with, in the year 1928, Walt Disney gave birth to an unforgettable character with huge black ears, memorable red shorts, and giant white-gloved hands – Mickey Mouse (Robertson, 2008). Mickey is a character people can immediately identify that has invaded our television screens for the past 80 years. Mickey has become one of the most recognizable symbols in the world, thanks to Walt Disney’s branding strategies (Suddath, 2008). Like most companies, Disney uses a variety of integrated marketing communication strategies - radio, television, outdoor media, direct mail as well as online advertising and promotions. In order to maintain the magic and fantasy behind the Disney brand, the company believes that direct marketing is essential to maintain a dialogue between themselves and potential customers (Robertson, 2008). Disney has three essential “pillars” it focuses on to build its branding strategy. “One, to invest in quality content using your strongest brands; and two, leverage new platforms and technologies to deliver this product; and three, better exploit international opportunities” (Gunelius, 2007). Upon the customer’s request, DVD mail packs are sent to individual households. The DVD arrives in a jewel-incrusted case with bright illustrations stimulating individuals to tune into the wonderful world of Disney. The DVD is directed and designed in such a way that individuals become hyped up about Disneyworld as well as enticing people to watch the DVD over and over again. The clubhouse CD included in this package is a fun and educational game for children. This CD attracts young individuals as well as their parents to the Disney experience at Disney World, this essentially building on the Disney Brand (Negus Viveiros, 2006). In addition, Disney has started using another interesting branding strategy. The Brand Disney already has high consumer awareness and so instead of using characters, they have come out with a line of clothing where “what you’ll see is a comprehensive line covering everything from outerwear to hosiery and featuring the Disney logo, but no characters” (Castleman, 2004). Moreover, while competing with someone like Universal Studios, it is important for Disney to maintain a strong and dependable entrepreneurial and new product development strategy. This is crucial if they are to remain the market leaders. It is also believed that companies in their industry make up to fifty percent of their revenue due to products developed within the last five years (Robertson, 2008). A great reference for entrepreneurs within Disney is their notorious vault, which holds the company’s video releases on moratorium (Facenda, 2009). In 2007 the Disney vault was accessed and their innovators drew inspiration from some of Disney’s most loved characters, themes, and images to break into the luxury market. The line began with soaps inspired by Alice in Wonderland. After the success,...
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