See a need—Fill a need—Create a need
I’ve been fortunate to be a student | alumni of the Disney Institute for a number of years and have gain significantly from their curriculum, both in usable tools and practical application. This has made me an astute observer whenever I have the opportunity to a customer of any of the number of Disney companies—parks—retail—on-line—etc. I watch for how they “show” the results of their continued efforts to preserve the vision and each time I come away newly fascinated and inspired.
Recently, as part of their 50-year celebration at Walt Disney World Resort, in the Hollywood Studios park, they incorporated the video “Walt Disney, One Man’s Dream” into one of the attractions. What struck me was not so much his origins of evolving from a paper delivery boy for the Kansas City Star, in Missouri, to the founder of a global empire, but more the simplicity of his approach and holding to the vision.
From a young age, Walt was a “doodler” someone who enjoyed creating cartoons, but that was nothing new or original, in his words. What would be new and original would be mix the animation with live action. So, he experimented by inserting illustrated characters with live actors.
In a world a century younger than we are now, Walt’s ambitions likely seemed like a far-flung fantasy. He needed something with a “novel to it…[to] crack the market”.
Off he went to Los Angeles. Of course, being unemployed, he and brother Roy solved that problem by launching their own business. They may not have had any money, but now they had a job and the first animated cartoon studio in Hollywood.
“I think it’s important to have a good hard failure when you’re young.”
And fail they did—often. We all know the origin story and loss of Oswald and then creation of Mickey Mouse on a train in 1928. The fascination comes from Walt’s understanding that if he wanted to achieve the vision, be more than just a part of theatre openers, he needed to create a character with its own intentional personality—a distinct individual. That was what made Mickey different. His sole purpose was for laughter.
This is, in my opinion, the essence of what made Walt Disney so different. He didn’t just look between the lines to “see a need, fill a need”, he created a need. He established access to the “want”.
He proved this in 1937 with “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” a full-length feature animation, earning more than $8 million from its initial release, being nominated for two Academy Awards.
Obstacles created more opportunities, a chance for diversification, retail and the combination of live action, cartoons, and fantasy all in one with the release of “Mary Poppins” in 1964.
However, never losing site that none of these achievements were Walt’s alone, the culture remained paramount. The staff behind each endeavour, willing to invest themselves, their skills, their “ownership” of the vision. Even today, amongst the crowds attending the parks, people spending thousands of dollars to enjoy moments from the “happiest place on earth” they buy into their own particular ownership of this vision. “Family Friendly Fun” that came from Walt’s understanding that adults don’t want to just sit back at the park and watch their kids on a ride but be a part of the memories at a place “built where the parents and the children could have fun together.”
Hence the dream survives as, “something that will never be finished … something that will keep developing and adding to … even the trees will keep growing and the thing will get more beautiful every year.”
Walt Disney makes other’s see the possibility of their imagination and “want” it for themselves.
“But the basic philosophy of what we are planning for Disney World will remain very much as it is right now. We know what our goals are. We know what we hope to accomplish.”
As was true a hundred years ago, so it is today. “Quality will out.”
We believe in quality in benefits and would be pleased to engage in a meaningful conversation. Give us a call.
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