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Saturday, April 28, 2007

I Have Met The Mouse!

His name is Mickey. Mickey Mouse. And signs of him appear everywhere IF you know how to look.

I'm just back from a full day in Orlando, courtesy of Maritz, that included a half day session with the Disney Institute -- the whole day chock full of fabulous learnings...

This is the most intimate view of the Disney empire I've ever experienced. I visited Disney World once, as a 10 or so year old, a few years after the resort opened.

Honestly, I don't remember a whole lot. We waited in lines, did a few rides, including a planetarium exhibit that I thought was at Epcot. However, according to the Wikipedia Disney World entry, Epcot didn't open until 1982. I'm relieved as there is no way that we could logically have made it from the Magic Kingdom to Epcot in one day....

To be fair, the early 70s were a very different time: Disney played an important role in my life as it and Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom with Marlin Perkins were the last two TV programs I watched on Sunday evening before going to bed. And, then, no more TV until Friday after school came around.

Today, everywhere we turn we encounter some form of Disney entertainment....

Thanks to Disney, storytelling and make-believe have taken on new dimensions. Not just for kids, but increasingly for adults, and for the kid in all of us! Returning to Disney as an inquisitive adult certainly suggested that there would be potential to this visit. I have gained far more!

Case in point: the Mouse. Do you realize that the Mouse is EVERYWHERE? [Check out the unofficial Mickey Mouse site.]

This picture captures the hallway carpet from my hotel - the Disney's Yacht Club Resort. Notice someone in the corner?

The elevator showcased restaurant recommendations: Mickey appeared as a waffle, a pancake, and probably a sandwich. I looked for him in the steak...

My room wound up being a treasure trove of sightings. Take this framed yacht race image. See anything on the buoy?

Mickey appeared on the cushions in my room amidst various maritime flag patterns.

Now, check out the bedspread.... pretty subtle!

The bathroom was a natural place for sightings: coasters, welcome card... Unfortunately, the soap with Mickey sketched into it didn't photograph too well. But, you can imagine the effect - not to mention the shampoo, conditioner and lotion bottle artwork.

That Mickey motif from the bedspread was repeated in the mirror 'topper'. I never until now appreciated how versatile a design element the Mouse could be.

I started doubting my critical and observational abilities. Notice the wall paper pattern. Might a Mouse be captured therein? Hmmmm.

The power of these details is amazing: they engaged me even before hearing about how Disney creates its magic. They not only captured my imagination, but they brought Mickey to life. They suggested that, if so much attention could be paid to seemingly small insignificant details, then the bigger and more important details would certainly be taken care of. They ensured that the Mickey Mouse brand was rock solid in my mind.

Here, you see Mickey adorning the bus that took us to The Magic Kingdom for our field observations.

Translating Mickey to the retail experience, think about what all of your details communicate about your brand, your store and your experience. Those details absolutely matter to your business and to the impression that your consumers -particularly your women consumers- form about your business.

Look, then, at your experience with a new set of eyes. Look for the Mouse....

And, for the record, there is only ONE Mickey Mouse!

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