Why had The Walt Disney Company been so successful? What specific key success factors did it address for the focal industries in which it operated?
The average lifespan of an S&P 500 company is approximately 15 years. At the time of this article, Disney was approaching 78 years of operations. Although it was not always a smooth ride, The Walt Disney Company has been highly successful at diversifying while maintaining, and capitalizing on, the Disney brand and culture that Walt Disney started when he moved to Hollywood in 1923. While it was not always the primary income stream, the heart and soul of The Walt Disney Company was the studio entertainment business line. Starting as a feature animation studio, Disney evolved and grew into a live-action motion picture, home video, television production, music production, and distribution business. The key success factors in this business line were primarily intangible resources. The brand equity associated with the Disney label became a household name overnight. This, along with a healthy culture, attracted the knowledge and human capital necessary to diversify into further studio entertainment ventures and reinforce their core competency of providing both family and contemporary entertainment at a relatively low cost. In addition to studio entertainment, Walt Disney envisioned destinations that would provide enjoyment for the entire family. This vision materialized into theme parks all around the world. The key success factors to the theme parks and resorts started with entertainment focused around the Disney brand. It also involved tangible resources such as geographic location and land in destinations in Europe, Asia, and both coasts of the United States. By accumulating large plots of land, Disney was able to create an environment that promoted the brand and created additional value to their other business lines creating a competitive advantage over its competitors at other amusement parks. Once Disney became...
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