Disney the Entertainment Tyrant: Brand Assesment

During my first semester at St Lawrence College, I was given the assignment to do a thorough brand assessment of a major company. I chose the Walt Disney Company.

Company Background:

The company was founded on October 16, 1923, as the Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio, by Walt Disney and his brother, Roy. Three years after the company was founded they had produced two movies and purchased a studio in Hollywood, California. Problems with distribution rights nearly bankrupt Walt and his company, but the creation of Mickey Mouse later changed things. In 1934 they filmed Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs which caused difficulties for the company because of the cost. The Walt Disney company contributed during World War 2 by producing propaganda films for the U.S. government which halted all film productions. After the war was over the company faced difficulties trying to return to movies. The 1950s was a busy decade for the company with the release of their first live action film, Treasure Island, and the release of Cinderella. They also launched multiple television series, one of which was the Micky Mouse Club. Then in 1955, they open the now iconic Disneyland, the first of many Disney theme parks. The company continued to flourish even after Walt Disney’s death in 1966. The company then went to Roy Disney until 1971 when an executive team succeeded him. Control over the company eventually went to people such as Michael D. Eisner, Frank Wells, and the current CEO Bob Iger. Over the years Disney has also expanded by buying multiple companies and studios. They bought Pixar in 2006, Marvel Entertainment in 2009 and then Lucasfilm’s in 2012. They have grown far from their humble beginnings and continue to do so today. After going through hard times, they now have assets of $95.7 billion as of 2017.  (Sanders, 2018)

Consumer Analysis:

Disney has been very successful in acquiring millions of consumers in almost every demographic from family’s, to seniors and many more. Disney’s main demographic is 25-45-year-old Caucasian mothers with an annual income between $100K-125K. The second largest is fathers with the same characteristics. Disney has always targeted family’s and specifically children to sell their products to. (InfoScout, 2015) In 2017 the Disney company spent 2.6 billion dollars on advertising to reach their target markets. (Statista, 2018)

Noteworthy Achievements:

  • Creation of Mickey Mouse which won the company an academy award in 1932
  • In 1929, a series of musical shorts, titled ‘Silly Symphonies,’ which featured Mickey’s friends, Donald Duck, Goofy, Pluto and Mickey’s girlfriend Minnie Mouse was released.
  • In 1938 they released “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” & grossed $8 million
  • They are credited with beginning the Golden Age of Animation.
  • The Walt Disney Studio was opened in 1939
  • The company has won 81 Oscars so far
  • In 1955 they opened Disneyland and now own ten major theme parks
  • In 1961 the company purchased the rights to the “Winnie the Pooh” novels
  • In 1987 the first Disney Store opened
  • In 2006 Disney bought Pixar
  • In 2012 Disney bought Lucasfilms

Industry Disruption:

  • The company loses Oswald series contract
  • In 1941 an animator strike occurred
  • In 1966 the company lost its founder and leader Walt Disney to lung cancer
  • Jim Henson death causes a stall of Disney buying the right to the “Muppets.”
  • Disney loses deal with Netflix, plans to take their movies off the streaming site
  • John Lasseter takes a six-month leave of absence after sexual assault allegations.
  • Over 100 separate lawsuits have been filed against Disney
  • The largest settlement in Disney history was $117 million due to a “pink slime” incident

Marketing Mix:

Disney’s use of the marketing mix expands in multiple different markets. Disney sells hundreds of different products, from movies, to merchandise and to food. They also sell experience using their theme parks. Price wise Disney does not advertise low prices, but they do manipulate the market with their prices. To see a Disney movie or tv show is not generally expensive but the merchandise and individual products attached to them are. It is not expensive to watch Disney, but it is expensive to be a fan of Disney. The Disney company has also done an excellent job at getting their products sold virtually anywhere. You can go almost anywhere in the world and have access to their movies or their merchandise in some way. They have also made it, so other companies are selling their products by allowing other companies to use their images. When it comes to advertising Disney focuses on primarily promoting their movies and occasionally their theme parks. Disney has a genius way of using their products to promote their other ones.

Brand Future:

Considering the way, the Disney company has been conducting business; it can be assumed that Disney will continue to buy more and more companies until eventually, they are the leading provider in the entertainment industry. In the next few decades, Disney could become the only provider of entertainment. The entertainment industry could become a monopoly under Disney.

Another possible direction Disney will go is that they might begin to branch out of the entertainment industry and try to dominate other markets as well. They already have a solid place in the tourism industry, and they have products in food and retail as well. Disney could easily enter new markets and dominate those as they have the entertainment industry.

Bibliography

InfoScout. (2015). Disney Consumer Insights. Retrieved from InfoScout: https://infoscout.co/brand/disney

Sanders, A.-L. (2018). A Brief History of the Walt Disney Company. Livewire.

Statista. (2018). Advertising expense of the Walt Disney Company in the fiscal years 2014 to 2017 (in billion U.S. dollars).

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