What The Mouse Knows


It sells happiness.

It sells magic.

It sells families.

It sells memories.

We were discussing Disney today during our first class of Advertising this semester. Our topic was “positioning.” How does one position a company? How does one position himself?

Positioning began as a phrase and notion that came along in the 1970s by a pair of marketing and advertising gurus name Al Ries and Jack Trout. Together, they wrote the book my classes use as their text entitled: “Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind.” Despite the fact that this book has aged, the concept the two developed of positioning has stuck. Companies position their brands; celebrities position themselves; the government positions its politics.

As an independent author, I had to use the techniques (along with my public relations skills acquired over the years) to position my novel. It’s funny how life can all roll together: the skills you have or teach become the skills you need to accomplish a task.

Companies, writers, singers, actors, small businesses, non-profits, you name it: we’re all playing at the game of positioning. It’s just that some do it better than others.

And yet my very favorite company to watch as it continues to solidify who it is as a brand is Disney. Walt Disney was truly a visionary, and the ultimate creative person. He could see down the pike, understand human nature, tap into humor and love and loss, and ultimately entertain people in a way that ensured Disney would always be positioned as the frontrunner to “magical happiness.”

Disney was positioning itself before it was called positioning. It was selling. It was selling happiness. And consumers were (and are) buying it.

At the root of it, Walt Disney said, was the notion of curiosity. How sad we can become when we lose our sense of curiosity. Being curious can lead us down strange, new, and exciting paths.

So don’t. Don’t lose it.

Stay curious.

It’s amazing what the mouse knows.

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