Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The dreamer... The realist... The critic... And then there was Mickey Mouse!

With a whopping 400 movies under its belly, some of the world's best amusement parks, and assets in film, television and the internet, the Walt Disney Company is the world's largest media conglomerate with a net income of $5 billion and a revenue of $41 billion easily outpacing its competitors Time Warner, Viacom and News Corp. 
Known internationally for the iconic Mickey Mouse, the Barbie Doll, The Pirates of the Caribbean and the legendary Disney World this company goes way beyond -- incorporating the ABC television network and other stations, The Disney Channel, ESPN, Marvel Comics and the Pixar Studio among others.
So, why Disney? What is it about this supremely successful company that I want to talk about today? While researching Disney's strategy I realized that it ties in with all the various aspects that we have learned and studied so far in class. I was wondering if I should highlight the way Disney strategically first partnered with and then acquired Pixar Studios to enhance its creative engine and drive growth across all its segments? Or talk about Disney's 5 Strategic Business Units [SBUs] -- Media Networks, Parks and Resorts, Studio Entertainment, Consumer Products, and Interactive Media that each contribute to the Disney empire by forging new paths. How Disney strategically uses each BU to complement the other? Disney's marketing and branding strategy is also a very interesting area. It's exciting to see that just before the release of a major feature film Disney goes all out to include and position any major animated character in Disney World, on the small screen and in various merchandise to entice and enamor its young wide-eyed audience. 
But, No! I do not want to blog about any of these. I would like to talk about the 'stuff' that is at the crux of Disney's strategy. Sort of, like the birthplace of its strategy. The kind of stuff that made Walt Disney create 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs' in 1937 - the first fully animated feature film in the history of motion pictures named the greatest American animated films of all time. Every single screen of Snow White was first enacted, then hand drawn, painted and then processed on film. The film was estimated to cost $250,000 but eventually cost $1.5 million. Disney had to mortgage his house and endure taunts from everyone who dubbed it as Disney's folly. At the end the movie received a standing ovation and garnered $8 million ending with a historic run. 
I believe, it is such passion, such desire and commitment to create and innovate something great that forms the strategy for great companies. It originates as a single idea that is set as a vision by a company's executive. When successful, this vision then becomes a company's mindset and its strategy. For instance, ever since its first leap, Disney has never looked back and continued to foster an environment of thorough innovation giving us some of the world's best movies in The Little Mermaid, The Lion King and The Beauty and the Beast. Disney's corporate strategy involves a person playing 3 roles: the dreamer (who goes for disruptive innovation), the realist (who knows what can be done) and the thinker (who cares about the risks). With this philosophy at its heart Disney has given us some ground breaking technological innovations such as the first multi-plane camera that re-invented animation, audio-animatrics that was a breakthrough in theme-park entertainment and several others. This vision to innovate and break all barriers lies at the heart of Disney and is what guides all its strategies. 
So, I think that one great idea followed by true commitment is enough to create a great company. The  other 'strategies' just fall in place. Other companies that embody this philosophy that I can think of is Apple with its 'Think Different' strategy -- such a great company. Google with its mind-blowing products designed to keep it simple and useful -- another great company. What other companies are there that you know of that have crafted strategies based on ideas, disruptive innovations and the 'We can do anything' philosophy?


1 comment:

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