Caitlin Bowen

Public Relations Specialist

Story First, Product Second: The Walt Disney Company

The Walt Disney Company is one of my favorite brands – for reasons that I will illuminate in this short essay. If I were describing Disney to a friend, I would say that it is a global entertainment corporation that attracts and retains customers through its brand storytelling; its numerous subdivisions; and its ability to evoke positive emotions in its audience.

Disney has done a remarkable job in its branding department. In 2019 alone, Disney’s brand value grew by a whopping 11% (Khan, 2019). The company has done this through its ability to sell dreams to people: dreams in the form of movies, television shows, theme parks, and recently, real estate.

One of the homes from Disney’s “Golden Oak” Community in Florida.

For me, Disney sells the feeling of nostalgia; childhood memories of family vacations, trips to the movies, and fangirling over Disney princesses with my friends. While the look and feel of Disney parks and movies have changed, I reminisce on simpler times when I visit Disneyland or re-watch Sleeping Beauty on Disney+. I’m reminded of a younger age, when life had no limitations, and I feel a desire to return to this mindset through the company’s offerings. These feelings compel me to invest my time, energy, and money in Disney.

As a far-reaching, diversified conglomerate, Disney has several competitors in a variety of industries. ViacomCBS, Sony, Six Flags Entertainment, and Universal Studios are just a few that present steep competition for the company. Despite having powerful competitors, Disney stands out – the company’s commitment to storytelling is unparalleled. Unlike its competitors, who build stories around their existing products, Disney follows the formula, “story first, product second;” a novel approach that distinguishes the company from others.

Disney’s messaging mixes information with personality in an attempt to promote its products and create a connection with the audience. Social media posts often include emojis, which remind me of my mother’s sweet morning messages. Emojis also help promotional information feel less like advertising and more like a conversation. Additionally, Disney includes fun facts and clips from beloved movies in posts, which help the social media accounts avoid marketing overload. They also create a connection to the audience, as followers can view clips from their favorite movies and television shows or learn fun facts about their favorite characters – experiences given to the audience by Disney accounts.

This brand works with all celebrities and influencers, ranging from Beyoncé and Zac Efron to Emily Sims, a rising Disney influencer on Instagram. However, Disney has a reputation to maintain. As such, the company tends to promote celebrities that have a clean (and Disney-friendly) record. The company recently created the ‘Disney Creators Lab,’ which brings together influencers and creators for an online program on how to promote the brand’s content. These invitations are exclusive, contingent upon public behavior, and life-changing for those chosen.

My significant other and I at Disneyland.

As mentioned in the title, Disney is the storytelling company. I was nine months old for my first Disneyland trip, and each subsequent one has been just as magical, story-filled, and exciting as the first. The company will always have a special place in my heart as the focal point for countless unforgettable experiences, memories, and stories – making it one of my favorite brands.

Works Cited:

Khan, Y. (2019). These are the top 10 brands in the world in 2019. Facebook isn’t one of them. Markets Insider.

Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with The Walt Disney Company or any of its affiliated brands. This webpage and the included content are only for a class project.