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Hal Licino

Learning Brand Leadership Lessons… from Disney Movies

Jun 19 2012, 01:40 PM by

Disney is an indelible part of our culture, and most of us are familiar with the entertainment company’s most famous versions of various fairy tales. However, we might not typically consider that throughout each movie there is an underlying motif of leadership. Each motion picture portrays the main character as one who is seeking to understand their purpose and calling in life, and through the process becomes a leader in some way. Doug Rice’s superlative and insightful blog on 12Most entitled 12 Most Magical Leadership Lessons from Disney Animated Movies, explains that animated films released from Disney have become an important part of the lives of children and adults alike for generations - and online marketers can learn lessons about leadership from them as well. Here are some of the more striking, relevant examples:
1. Beauty and the Beast
Winning the affections of both your staff and your customers in what you represent and believe in is a key factor in establishing leadership, but this devotion must be earned through service and, if need be, sacrifice. In Beauty and the Beast, The Beast is true to his form and is initially very harsh spoken and manipulative. Ultimately, The Beast needs Belle to develop a deep love for him so that the spell that keeps him a monster can be broken. The Beast mistakenly believes that he can win Belle’s heart through sheer force, but shows his commitment to her when he nearly dies rescuing Belle from a wild wolf pack. At this point the tables begin to turn. Belle realizes that this Beast has a softer side and begins to fall in love with him of her own free will. He has earned her trust… and eventually her love.
2. Mulan
No brand can compose a winning strategy when they’re pretending that they’re something they’re not, so place stereotypes and expectations aside in order to simply be the very best you that you can be. Mulan isn’t the typical domestic Chinese lady of her age, so she gets stuck in deep contemplation about where she belongs and what her place is in her world. Posing as a man, she takes the place of her father in the war and eventually prevents the successful attack of invaders on her country. Anyone who follows her leadership is rewarded as she has taken on the adventure and discovers who she really is meant to be.
3. Monsters, Inc.
Any brand in a leadership position must possess the courage and imagination to adapt with the swiftly changing times, so be on the lookout for innovative opportunities to gain the necessary to operate within your market while staying flexible and responsive. Monstropolis is a town powered by children’s screams, so the Monster characters are given the task of sneaking into the closets of young children and lying in wait to scare the living daylights out of them. One of the Monsters catches wind that there is a conspiracy going down, resulting in a chain of events that reduces Monstropolis to utter chaos. Through a series of events, the power of a child’s scream dwindles and citizens of Monstropolis realize that they were wrong and it is a child’s laughter that holds real power.
4. Tangled
Leaders don’t take the easy path and stay in their comfort zone but opt to take the path less traveled, thereby pursuing their goals even in the face of opposition and conflict. Little Rapunzel is fascinated by those floating lights on the horizon and has spent her whole life dreaming of leaving her secluded and lonely tower. One day she musters enough courage to take control of her own destiny, and the freedom she experiences in taking control over her own circumstances prompts her to pursue her dreams and make them reality.

Savvy online brand marketers know that leadership is key to establishing a memorable identity among your customers, and since it is such a universal concept we should not be recalcitrant to take our inspirations from whatever source it can come from, including the motion pictures issuing from the home of the world’s most famous mouse!

Posted in Tips & Resources, Online Branding

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