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What can businesses learn from the "Disney way"?

By Nicole Guedes   

Editorial Assistant at Essence Branding  


It’s common knowledge that Disney is one of the best-known and most recognized companies in the world. Through elements that convey the brand’s essence and transform the customer experience, the company has stood out in the market for years. But how can we learn from Disney’s expertise and improve our own business, whatever it may be?   


To better understand how the company builds such a captivating atmosphere, let’s divide our conversation into two main spheres: customer experience and employee training and experience.   

Customer experience  


From immersive settings to impeccable service, Disney thinks of everything when it comes to creating an enchanting environment! To do this, the brand has based itself on five keys that govern the behaviour and attitudes of employees, or “cast members”, to guarantee a standardized treatment of the so-called “guests”. These are  

  1. Safety  
  2. Courtesy  
  3. Inclusion  
  4. Show  
  5. Efficiency   

In order, they should be used to ensure that guests have the best possible experience. The keys can be worked on separately, depending on the situation, but the more keys the cast member can honor in their service, the better the interaction provided.   


When we talk about Safety, Disney’s priority key, we include the safety of customers, but also that of employees. This point must never be sacrificed for the others. In Courtesy, we encompass the aspects of kindness, happiness, good humor and empathy to serve customers in an unforgettable way. Inclusion, a key that was added at the end of 2020, aims to create an inclusive environment where diversity is respected and valued. The Show, meanwhile, is the premise that seeks to ensure that the “Disney magic” is always present, in other words, that guests always feel immersed in this unique atmosphere. Last but not least, there’s Efficiency, which ensures that both employees and infrastructure aim to optimize service time and resolve issues whenever possible.   


Together, the five keys are used to ensure that the customer has the best possible experience, whether they’re shopping in a store, meeting a character, or even seeking help to solve a problem. Cast members are trained to be agile, problem-solving and very empathetic, which ensures that they can always contribute to maintaining a “magical” atmosphere for guests. 


 Employee training and experience  


One of the most important aspects of creating and maintaining a company’s positioning and reputation is coherence and consistency, i.e. ensuring that the brand’s visual identity, language and attitudes all match and remain the same at all times. This way, the company can be easily recognized by its constant aspects.   


In order for a brand to communicate coherently and consistently, good training for employees is essential. This is when they come to understand and embrace all the company’s beliefs, values and positions. Providing this is essential in order to create, right from the start of the employee’s journey, a genuine connection and identification with the brand’s precepts.  


In the case of Disney, there is Traditions, an immersion course in the history and fundamental elements that make up the company. All cast members, regardless of their role, take these classes as the first step in their training.   


In addition to lectures that explain and deepen the team’s knowledge of the five keys, cast members are also trained to engage with the brand and carry the “Disney way” throughout their work. To this end, one of the strategies encouraged by the company is the so-called “Magical Moments”. Cast members are free to provide a “magical” moment for a guest, whether it’s a bucket of popcorn as a gift, a phone conversation with a character or a cupcake for their birthday. Creativity can run wild: the idea is to identify a situation in which you can make someone’s day better and do it! This is just one of the ways Disney positively surprises its customers, always exceeding expectations.   


Allowing your company’s employees to exercise their creativity, within the limits of the service they perform, to provide unforgettable exchanges for your customers strengthens the positive vision built up about the brand. Will Guidara, in his TED Talk “The secret ingredients of exceptional hospitality,” conceptualizes the idea of transforming your work into something memorable and exceptional for your customers, giving them something they never expected or imagined. According to him, this is “unbridled hospitality.”   


The fact is that in everything Disney does, this treatment is always present, which makes the customer experience even more enchanting and endowed with emotional connections. In this sense, guaranteeing your employees the freedom to provide moments like these, as well as knowledge of and genuine identification with the brand’s history, values and beliefs, is essential to ensuring the standardization of an unparalleled reputation for the company!   




Although Disney has countless resources and an established reputation, it is in the small details that the brand manages to exceed expectations and maintain its high standards. In this sense, companies of any size offering any product or service can learn from the “Disney way”. Always being aware of other brands, looking for inspiration and keeping up to date with news and innovations is essential to guaranteeing differentiation and standing out in today’s market. What about you? How have you worked on the experience of your customers and employees? Have you nurtured an environment of growth and engagement with your brand?   


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