Why Disney “Must” Nurture Trust

More than just co-creation for the benefit of the brand, co-creation for the immediate benefit of families has become a compelling force in nurturing brand loyalty. The ability to shape a brand’s image, within real-life experiences, creates a personalized extension of the brand.

Brand personalization isn’t new, but is occurring more frequently and is now far more social…with or without brand encouragement.  Coca-Cola has more than five million fans on Facebook, each more enthusiastic than the next.  Just a brief look through thousands of fan images, reflects a strong connection to Coca-Cola and extreme instances of personalization.

Companies are learning the value of entrusting their prize possession, the brand image, in the hands of people.  Exploring what’s behind this repositioning; technology is certainly the instrument of change, but the adoption of social connections is the motivation.

Technology allows people to make the brand their own; access to content can easily facilitate creativity at every turn. Families that bring the brand into their lives through personal events are certainly attached to the brand at a personal level to begin with, but the relationship doesn’t have to end here.

People love to create original content to fit within their distinct objectives. Brands that create flexible content, products and services are in fact helping People to mass-personalize. It is important to identify these naturally enthusiastic advocates and their behavior.  Understanding and nurturing their actions offers a sustainable source of insight, TRUST and resilient connections.

Case Study: The Co-creation of “My” Content

Maggie’s little boy was turning three and all that he wanted for his birthday was to be on a team.

Mission: “I’m on a team” themed birthday party

Disney should be thrilled to be a part of this experience.  Maggie is creative, a resourceful Mom, and a huge Disney advocate; but the selection of items to purchase were limited and not really what Maggie was looking for.

It would be easy to search online and say “okay, I’ll use the Toy Story plates”, but to this type of  Mom being “real” is important…Authenticity


“Some of the items you can purchase are honestly corny”

“Every single person uses these items”

Maggie set out to create a baseball themed birthday party that included her little boy’s favorite characters… Woody and Buzz Lightyear.

–          Teams were created – Space Rangers and Deputies

  • shhhh…downloaded images were reformatted to offer the desired look for team t-shirts

–          Pizza boxes fitted with Pizza Planet logos

–          Water bottles with personalized labels.

–          Cupcakes and decorations

“Oh that’s cool”

Maggie knew that an original look and feel of the party was important. Knowing that she actually took time to plan and offer party goers a great experience was rewarding to Maggie, her little boy and to family and friends.

ADAPTABILITY Encourage families to share their ideas and experiences

Creative families need the tools to make something cool on their own.   Simply having the chance to download several different Toy Story images would have been a welcome time-saver.

Disney could look down upon these efforts, stating copyright infringement etc… or they could applaud and spotlight the ingenuity, perhaps also creating similar products for the families of other three-year olds that love Toy Story and just want to be on a team.

A Swish, a Swirl or a Buzz Lightyear…

Brands need to worry less about the trademark and more about the experience. Given the need for all-things-me, controlling the use of brand images can be perceived as domineering.

By allowing families to create and share their ideal version of the brand, people are likely to shape more loyal connections.  And while yes, we understand that disappointing circumstances could come about, ultimately the good experiences will overshadow the bad.


Kindle a treasure in Ghana Classrooms

Kindle brings knowledge to a place where Books are a treasured gift.

Recently highlighted in Wired…

Worldreader.org has been testing the impact of Kindle and e-readers at OrphanAid, Africa’s Primary School in the village of Ayenyah, Ghana. For children in developing countries, using e-reader technology is an exciting and inspiring knowledge source.  Perhaps the most astonishing benefit is how quickly student’s learning ability has improved and their adoption of reading outside of the classroom…reading has become a preferred pastime.

The immediate benefits of e-readers devices in developing countries:

  • Fast content downloads compared to the time element for replacing textbooks
  • · Cost – extreme savings and access to more relevant content
  • Take it with you – Light weight and ease of use
  • Built in dictionary and text-to-speech technology tackles the challenges of learning

Clever use of solar technology

A good problem to have…batteries quickly run out of power.

Solution: A windmill, powers solar cells that supply a set of 12-volt car batteries.  Students have been taught to conserve battery power by turning off the Kindles wireless GSM radio connection when they don’t need it.

For more details please read the Worldreader.org blog

With more than five million fans on Facebook and thousands of interactions on other social media platforms every day, Coca-Cola has become a natural part of the conversation, learning to trust people with the Coca-Cola brand and their image.

Coca-Cola has challenged traditional business models, adopting the advantages of real connections and intuitive response to build sustainable relationships.  By leveraging the unique aspects of every interaction, Coca-Cola engages people naturally… encouraging fans to become friends.

“If you drink anything besides Coca Cola at my house it is because you brought it with you

More than 5000 fan photos on facebookSource: http://www.facebook.com/cocacola

“Allow dialogues to run a natural course”

Coca Cola doesn’t have to seed content on a regular basis; simply enabling authenticity to thrive within social environments is perhaps the most important aspect of their social strength. For instance, Coca-Cola communication with fans on Facebook is non-intrusive, authentic, entertaining and informative.

Social media effectiveness depends on brands becoming a natural part of the conversation and understanding “this” process of influence.

Germany’s Brands4friends brings discounts to UK, Austria and now Japan via Brands4Friends.jp

Brands4Friends has the opportunity to move far beyond the idea that brand affinity sways purchases.  Bringing social influence into the mix could add a deeper level of individual passion and influence that would truly provoke friend-based behavior. Sustainable consumer occasions are built on emotional ties with friends and thento the brand.  Here, consumer engagement establishes trust and lasting connections.

The Center for Marketing Research at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth recently looked in on the Fortune 500’s adoption of social media. The study demonstrates the need for transparency and the use of blogs and twitter, along with a strong understanding of the importance of social media, but we remain curious to see just how often and how intently the F500 are listening.

Adopting social media is only the beginning. Companies have to be willing to expand the brand experience by trusting people with the brand’s image and message.

Listening & learning are critical techniques, essential to the CoC (consumer occasion cycle)

The Fortune 500 and Social Media: A Longitudinal Study of Blogging and Twitter Usage by America’s Largest Companies

Twitter users not so social after all

Twitter users not so social after all

Points to consider:

  • Twitter is likely to reinvent their offering over and over again, but will always be a trusted tool for connecting.
  • People will consistently  look to Twitter as a real-time and on “my-demand” source of information and entertainment.
  • The opportunity for brands to use Twitter as a connection tool is certain.
    • Twitter offers the mobile advantages of built-in relevance and opt-in connections

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From McKinsey “60 of China’s largest cities spend 70 % of their free time online”

The rapid and increasing adoption of the internet in China will advance the digital marketplace with an even greater period of trial and error.

Not to worry, everyone will be making mistakes, but those open to the journey, along with the challenges certain to be experienced with mobile convergence, will gain wisdom and emerge with a strong perspective and a healthier business model.

McKinsey Quarterly: China’s Internet Obsession