Welcome back to Marketing Hyperdrive! We missed a week because I was on a magical adventure with my wife and two girls – a road trip from St. Louis, Missouri to Orlando, Florida where we spent four nights at Walt Disney World. We shopped at Disney Springs, swam in three different magnificent pools, and spent entire days at Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom – all to celebrate my youngest’s sixth birthday.
And while I could go on like a Borolean Trader about Galaxy’s Edge, or about how Disney really does create the most magical places on Earth, what I am going to share with you is a little thing… some detail so small as to be easily overlooked (even if you’re a scrupulous Jawa)… yet it had a profoundly positive and personal impact on my family’s enjoyment of all Disney’s properties. And of course we’ll blaze through the story at light speed so that you’ll arrive at your destination, transmission in hand.
So what made me want to drive my family 1,000 miles, during a pandemic, and drop a significant chunk of change, all to celebrate a little padawan’s birthday?
We’ve been to Disney before for my oldest’s birthday and knew just how awesome it was going to be. From meeting their favorite characters to the thrills of incredible rides, my girls adore Disney. (Heck, so do I!!) What’s interesting though is how Walt Disney World makes sure that it’s special for you, particularly if it’s your special day.
As soon as you arrive and check in, if it’s your birthday, you’re given a special pin to wear.
A round disk pinned to your chest that simply says, “Happy Birthday! [Your Name Here] Walt Disney World” – with your name scrawled onto the laminated signage. It seems straightforward enough, and that’s what masks the genius behind what’s written.
If you think about most birthday pins or hats you might have seen, the message is similar, right?
“It’s my birthday” or “Happy birthday to me” all convey the same message – that today is your special day. But Disney wanted to do more than just let other people know that it was your birthday and hope that someone said something. They wanted to issue a First Order-like decree that all cast members need to acknowledge you and celebrate your occasion. So instead of giving you a pin that says, “It’s my birthday!” that someone else would need to read and then decide on their own what to say, you were given a pin that says, “Happy Birthday [Your Name Here]” which anyone in any park or at any resort or restaurant can simply read out loud while looking and smiling at you.
Imagine what it must have been like for my little girl, Emmy. As we strolled into Hollywood Studios one bright morning, crowds around and cast members in white suits from head to toe welcoming guests, first one, then another, and then a dozen all turned to my daughter and said over and over again, “Happy Birthday, Emmy!” Her eyes sparkled and she couldn’t wait to tell her big sis how all these people talked to her, and it warmed her old man’s heart.
Almost as much as seeing the Millennium Falcon up close…
From a business & marketing perspective, what we’re talking about here is personalization at scale. Disney put time and effort into coming up with a clever way to make everyone choosing to celebrate their birthday at a Disney property feel special and welcomed – so much so that they’ll want to experience that again!
While it’s unlikely the nature of your business will allow you to pin badges on your customers just to celebrate their birthday, there are ways that businesses of every size can create personal, 1:1 connections with customers and prospects alike. Determining how to do this successfully and creatively should take time to sort out, so don’t expect any easy solutions from me…
Except I happen to have one for you already. 😉
Despite being touted for years as the tactic businesses need to employ, live video still remains something of a challenge, perhaps even an enigma, to many business owners. Some don’t see the value in taking the time to broadcast a live video, let alone know what they might say. That, plus the uncertainly that comes from trying anything new, creates doubt and anxiety.
Perhaps you can relate to that?
Yet if you were to develop a routine and format for a regular live show, here’s what will happen:
- You will begin to amass a library of video content which can be viewed, searched and consumed on multiple platforms, as well as repurposed into audio and written content for a podcast or blog (here’s how).
- You will allow your fans and followers to see you as an individual rather than a brand, which makes it easier to develop personal connections and relationships.
While I’m sure that sounds great… where’s the one-to-one personalization and connection?
That, my friends, lies in the key difference between broadcasting live and simply sharing a recorded video: audience participation.
When you broadcast a live video to Facebook or YouTube or LinkedIn or Periscope or Instagram or TikTok (notice how virtually every platform now supports live video?), you as the broadcaster can see your viewer’s names and comments. You can address them by name, answer questions, bring comments on the screen and, if you really want to, even bring your viewers onto the broadcast with you.
And when you talk directly to someone in your audience, even if it’s just to say Hi and read their comment out loud, you help establish that personal connection we’ve been talking about. You acknowledge them and literally make eye contact – from their perspective. It’s like you’re saying “Happy Birthday!” to your viewers and making them feel welcome and appreciated.
Meanwhile, I have a ton of other great resources and golden nuggets to share with you: