Pixie Dust & Profits | Small Business Podcast for Disney Lovers

Episode 73: Disney Business: Bob Iger is Back in Charge! (Transcript)

Nov 29, 2022

Speaker 1 (00:01):
Pixie Dust & Profits is a podcast for small business owners who love Disney and want to sprinkle some of that magic onto their own businesses. Join your host, Nicole Boucher and Yasmine Spencer as they explore the Mouse’s 12.6 billion operation and break down exactly how you can apply these big scale concepts to your own business.

Yasmine (00:26):
Holy wow. Okay. I wanna die straight into this episode cuz Nicole and I have just been talking before we started recording about the big Disney news that just happened in like the past 48 hours. Uh, but before I get into that, hi, I’m Yasmin and welcome to Pixie Dust & Profits, and I have my wonderful co-host Nicole here. Hello. And the big news that we are talking about is the fact that Bob Chapek has been ousted by the Disney Board and our, our Brain crush. I’d call him her brain crush, right? Nicole, Bob o is back a CEO of Disney after he had retired, after he had sort of stepped down and, you know, sort of wa you know, was retained on the board for a little bit longer to oversee things. He is back and I think Disney fans are rejoicing everywhere.

Nicole (01:23):
Yeah. Um, so this news broke Sunday evening and it actually was in a communication to cast members, it sounds like, before the media found out. So Bob Iger, who, uh, you know, we’ve talked about many times over the course of this podcast, um, sent a email to cast members letting them know that he was taking over a CEO again. And I, I’ve heard reports from every ounce of the Disney sphere that I’m in on the internet where cast members were just rejoicing and happy. And, you know, that’s, that’s kind of a sign that it was the right decision. Um, I don’t even know where to start with this discussion, but let’s give a little bit of background in case you’re not into the Disney leadership team like we are. Um, so Bob Chopek, I think it’s, I’ve heard both Chap and Chap. So, um, we’re talking about a Bob .

Nicole (02:16):
He was the CEO of Disney for the last 999 days. We’ll get to an inside joke about that later. But he took over from Bob Iger, who had been the CEO for 15 years and he had also worked for Disney for many, many decades before that. Um, so Bob Chopek, along with him came managing during the Pandemic and a lot of changes. And actually if you listen back a couple of episodes, we were talking, I think it was episode 70 where we were just talking about things we’ve been unhappy with as long time Disney consumers and how things just don’t feel as magical as they used to. I actually remember about two weeks ago telling Yasmin like, you know, I kind of feel like I should sell my dvc and that is never a thought that has crossed my mind before. Um, and so anyway, that’s a lot of the sentiment that I think cast members and other, you know, affixes have been feeling cast members, especially, you know, we’ve heard reports about how they were treated not so well during the pandemic.

Nicole (03:17):
They, you know, were laid off in droves and also when they, things started opening back up, they, you know, made them reapply for jobs they already had. And so it was making it difficult for them to even come back to work the magic. And having been to Disney a couple times during the pandemic, it’s still very significantly understaffed. Parks are closing at seven or 8:00 PM Um, there’s just not a presence that I remember there being before, especially when it comes to the cast members. And some of this definitely feels like Disney trying to cut corners on expenses as they’re, you know, raking in profits from nickel and diamond, everyone on things like Genie Plus and Park reservations. And, you know, it’s a lot. And this is just the parks side of the business. Disney’s obviously a much bigger company, it’s a media company, but I think people have also noticed the significant lack of movies coming out, like animated movies in particular.

Nicole (04:16):
Um, Disney plus, I remember last year when my subscription renewed, it was like double what I had initially paid for it. And you know, I don’t watch a lot on Disney Plus because they don’t have as many content releases as Netflix, but I do enjoy the things that I get from there. And so, you know, I justify paying for it because it’s nice to be able to download a couple of movies or watch some of the behind the scenes things, but it is a little bit pricey for a streaming platform that isn’t constantly putting out new content. So anyway, a lot of people associate these ideas and these implementations and rollouts with Bob Chopik who was CEO at the time. And, you know, I’ve, I’ve kind of given him the benefit of the doubt throughout, you know, I, I really thought early on that he was chosen as CEO to do some, implement some of the things that were probably ideas of other leadership teams because these things are never decided in silos.

Nicole (05:12):
Um, and, you know, kind of let him fall on the sword, right? You know, he’s like a sacrificial lamb, let’s get some of these, you know, unpopular things rolled out. Um, and we have, you know, one kind of interim CEO to blame for before we bring in someone new. So that was kind of my theory a few years ago. Um, of course the pandemic hit, so it definitely I think allowed Disney to fast track , intentionally punned, um, some of these changes. And what really was interesting to me, and I know I’m talking a lot here, but Yasmin and I were talking about this this summer, Chex, um, contract was up for a renewal and they renewed him. And I remember seeing the news come out and, you know, sending a, a sad message over to Yassin saying, you know, I really thought that he was just gonna be like the interim CEO and they were gonna get these changes in the door and then change him back to someone who could really make things feel magical again. So I was really sad that day. Um, and now here we are.

Yasmine (06:15):
What, one thing I’ll say, it’s like we’ve noticed a definite shift in how things have been performing at Disney over, I would even say the last couple of weeks. One factor I think that plays into it is, at least with the park side of the business, a lot of these pandemic changes seem like they’re here to stay. Things like park reservations, which kind of makes it difficult to go with the flow and, okay, let me backtrack here. Like, Disney’s never a go with the flow of vacation. You have to like do your meal planning in advance, your dining reservations, you kind of need to know which parks you’re going to in order to do that. But the requirement of Park reservations made it difficult for, you know, families who may have wanted to play it a little bit more loosey goosey maybe like DVC members like us who have annual passes that don’t necessarily, um, need to map out what we’re doing every second. We just kind of wanna go to the parks to relax and, um, play it by ear sometimes that has completely got out the window and the park reservations has made it really difficult for anyone to plan a last minute trip to Disney World. The other thing is, oh my goodness, prices have been insane. Let’s just talk about ticket prices. Oh yeah, I know we voiced this in previous episodes, but they’re going up again as of December 8th and I, which,

Nicole (07:34):
Which you know, is a whole different thing than they, they used to always do price increases around February or March. I remember because I would always be like right after Christmas is when I need to like pull the money together from hopefully if my spouse gets a bonus at work to buy our tickets for our next trip. Like that’s been such a routine of mine for years. And now they go ahead and they announce a price increase for like December 8th or something. Like, they know, they know that we are used to these things happening at a certain time of year and I’m just blaming Eck, it’s probably not him, but, you know, Ecks out here, like, let’s increase the ticket prices just before Christmas. Like, you know, now I’m actually debating not going in April. Like my original plans were because I, I don’t wanna drop the money on tickets right now, not before, right before Christmas when like I’ve got oil bills that are, you know, piling up and everything. So it just, it feels like such a money grab.

Yasmine (08:29):
It definitely does. And I was looking at a post in a Facebook group that I’m in again, as a Canadian in the past, we would occasionally get the offer to get like a slightly discounted multi-day pass in order to incentivize this to come. It was like a 20% savings. So this one woman was comparing the cost of her like discounted six day trip compared to booking a six day ticket. Now, and again, I know the discount factors in, but the price difference was 800 US dollars for the exact same timeframe, exact same ticket, $800. Like that’s, that’s a couple days at the park, you know what I mean? And if you’re extending your, um, trip to like, you know, 10, 15, 14 days, like that was the equivalent of what that ticket would’ve cost if she had stayed for like 12 days versus six. So they are definitely increasing prices across the board and we have heard from many people who want to go to Disney, who used to love going to Disney, that it’s getting harder and harder to afford.

Yasmine (09:36):
And I think they’re seeing the upper limit of what they can charge because we’re getting negative sentiment from customers who just can’t go to Disney and are stating that Disney is no longer a place for like middle class families to go. You kind of have to have a love disposable income to go there. Too. Big attractions like the Star Wars Galactic Cruiser that they have invested hundreds of millions, probably let’s be real millions into building, is closing in March of next year. We have recently learned that they cannot basically fill the ship. I’m using air quotes. You can’t see that, um, sufficiently to justify running this experience. When they at first opened it was like packed full, but they’re seeing an upper limit on how many people are willing to spend about five grand on a two day experience. It’s kind of a one and done these days.

Yasmine (10:30):
The ships are a maximum of 50% full and it’s an expensive experience to run because there are cast members who are actors in there. Um, you know, the building itself was ridiculously expensive and this looks like a negative return experience for Disney. And knowing how popular anything Disney has put out, as of light has been, I think we are starting to see the upper limit on a consumer’s willingness to pay for the Disney experience. And that pushback and that negative sentiment and frankly the hate, um, that has been put towards Bob Eck has been a deciding factor in them deciding to bring back the beloved Bob Iger. But there’s more to it. Nicole, have we talked about the media side of the

Nicole (11:18):
Business? Yeah, so on the media side of the business, um, you know, Disney Plus launched two years ago, three years ago. It was just before the pandemic hit and it was like 6 99 a month. And the entire plan was, you know, get a ton of subscribers, sell them on how good the content is. Cuz I will tell you like you can open up Netflix and you can choose something to watch and you might end up watching something and that’s pretty terrible and you back out of it right? On Disney plus, I don’t have that feeling. I can open up anything, even things I’m not interested in and I know it’s gonna be good quality content and, you know, that was always the intention for the platform and they were gonna slowly raise prices over time. Right. You know, most of us don’t notice when things go up a dollar a

Yasmine (11:59):
Dollar two,

Nicole (12:00):
You know, especially when you get the yearly promotions or the discounts for signing up for a year instead of monthly. We’re used to that. But at earlier this year, I, I can’t remember when exactly they announced there’s gonna be 10 99 a month. That’s, you know, it’s not double, but it’s, it’s a pretty significant increase for something that, you know, doesn’t have constant content coming out. And I’m not as well versed in the media side of the company, however, you know, when Disney Plus came out a 6 99 a month, and we don’t tend to notice when things increase, you know, a dollar a year, especially when we’re choosing pay yearly instead of pay monthly. And I think the intention was always to like slowly increase pricing to get to a point where you break. Even with Netflix, they never went into the Disney Plus, um, model with the intention of it being profitable right away. They knew that this was a gamble, they knew it was an investment, they knew it would be incurring losses. However, what’s happened recently is it went from, I think it was 600 million in losses to 1.5 billion in losses in a quarter. Um, that’s a, it’s

Yasmine (13:13):
A significant

Nicole (13:14):
Difference in, in just one quarter. Um, and, and it came after price increases were announced, right? So they, they changed the price to 10 99 a month, which is not double, but pretty close to double. Um, and it’s also a different platform. You know, there isn’t content coming out every week on Netflix. You can go to the What’s new section and then see six new things you didn’t see like the next from one Friday to the next. And so Disney Plus was kind of built as this platform where content releases come out a lot slower, but it’s very good content, it’s quality level. You could open up Netflix and try to watch a movie and get 10 minutes in and decide, you know, this isn’t for me. But in Disney plus I don’t feel that way. Even if it’s something I’m not completely interested in, I will get sucked in because Disney knows how to tell a story and you get sucked in so easily. So it’s a different type of platform and it can’t be priced the same way as Netflix. I mean, Netflix didn’t raise places prices for how many years. Right. Um,

Yasmine (14:13):
And even when they did, they got a loss of subscribers as well.

Nicole (14:17):
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. There’s definitely a limit to how much you can, um, squeeze out of people, especially, especially, and they know this because they have parks and they know people are traveling right now, this isn’t the time where people are sitting at home watching streaming services because we’re all excited to be back out of our houses and we’re traveling. So definitely an interesting time to try to raise the prices. But, you know, going from a 600 million deficit, which again, Disney knew Disney Plus was going to take years to be profitable, they did not anticipate that this would be an operation that would be, you know, in the black from the beginning. They knew that they would have to wait a while, a few years for it to get profitable. But when you’re going from a 600 million loss on the books to 1.5 billion, um, in a very short timeframe, that’s just showing that something is not working, that was previously working.

Nicole (15:13):
And what has changed in the last quarter for this to have, you know, happened. And I think there’s also reports about the last quarterly earnings call mm-hmm. where earnings were not so great to the point that the stock dropped 11% the next day, which is unheard of with Disney’s stock. An 11% drop is about how much it dropped the day after nine 11 mm-hmm. , which is when people knew no one would be traveling the same way again. And so if that gives you an idea of the magnitude of how bad this earnings call was. But the weird thing was that Bob Chopek was so just, he wasn’t portraying it as if it was bad. He was trying to give it this light that like, you know, this is a really good thing for us. And if you’ve ever sat in a meeting where someone’s trying to deliver bad news by making it sound really positive, you’re just feeling very gaslit and like mm-hmm. ,

Nicole (16:11):
Am I just not understanding like, am I reading things differently than this person is telling it to me? Um, and I think there were probably already cracks in the foundation, but I think this call really spurred the board on to have to figure out what’s going on with their leadership and what they can do. So if you don’t know how, um, a business like this typically runs, there’s usually a board of directors that, um, you know, could be some people who have significant shareholders in the company, also people that are elected. There’s a chairman, you know, I don’t know how many people are on Disney’s board, but typically this is around seven to nine people. And the board is the one that chooses who the CEO is. Basically, if a CEO is getting hired, they report to the board of directors. And so they’re JPEG’s boss.

Nicole (17:02):
So after this quarterly results call, not only did they already have a couple cracks in the foundation, but they started hearing from senior leaders at Disney who were just completely beside themselves and started talking openly, not just like to their best friends behind closed doors, started talking openly about resigning if Jpx stayed a ceo. And that is such a red flag. I, you know, this is a shocking development. Like CEOs don’t tend to just disappear overnight without some big scandal. Um, and, and there’s no indication here that there’s a scandal. This is just Disney making a really effective quick decision based on what they needed to do. And so I I I wanna reiterate, there’s no signs of a scandal or anything, anything, but this is really effective leadership at work because you could hem and haw and sit on decisions for a really long time.

Nicole (17:56):
You can say, oh, let’s give it another quarter. Bob Chap’s contract was actually just renewed in July on unanimous vote. And so what does that say when the board four months later decides, oh, we need to fire him. Like that’s, that also hits your own reputation because you voted four months ago to keep this guy in place. And so I, I just wanna highlight the leadership and the level of in intelligence and, and business acumen that has gone into this decision because, um, from what we’re hearing, they started talking about this seriously on Friday night, came to a decision by Sunday afternoon and, um, somehow convinced Bob Iger to come back. Bob Iger had been in the public eye multiple times over the last year saying he had no intention of returning to Disney. And

Yasmine (18:48):
He’s also 71 years old. So like that man, he, he looks like a

Nicole (18:52):
Younger 71 young, but he is not a spring ticket.

Yasmine (18:56):
It must be all that charisma keeps him young, but he, he’s ready to retire, you know what I mean? Like, you know, do things here and there. But he’s, he’s done his service to Disney. He’s coming back through the end of December, 2024. So this is a limited return while Disney figures out who the next CEO is going to be. Um, but one of the interesting things that Bob had said in, um, an interview is that he thinks it was just talking about the media side of the issue. It was, um, chap x’s lack of like, empathy and just like char kind of, he didn’t say charisma, but basically charisma, um, as his reason of not being able to relate with the creative community at Disney and the Hollywood creatives. And that’s one of the things that caused such a huge rift in the relationships on the media side, the chair of the board, I think it was Susan Arnold had said that Bob Iger was uniquely positioned to help Disney, um, turn things around. And we know that he is responsible for the massive creative boom and the resurgence and revival of Disney animation and Disney’s movies. So, um, that, that big loss was probably a massive factor in them realizing they needed to bring Bob Iger back before they continued to hemorrhage money.

Nicole (20:22):
I think what’s really interesting about this too is that stocks immediately went up 6% the next day. Mm-hmm. on a day that the stock market was going down. Yep. Um, and so that really shows the confidence level that people have in Bob Iger. And, and I’m so glad you mentioned the emotional intelligence part of this because we have both read Bob Agers book. I have actually watched the, I can’t re I think it was on Master Class. Master Class. Yeah. He, he, it was basically just a video retelling of his book. It, it wasn’t, there was nothing there that wasn’t in the book. So if you’ve read one, don’t feel like you need to watch the other. But it was obviously very interesting to see his own face delivering his own words. And I think emotional intelligence is something that is often overlooked in leadership positions.

Nicole (21:11):
Mm-hmm. , and I’ve talked about this before, female business owners tend to perform better to their goals to male business owners. And, and I think so much of that comes down to that emotional intelligence piece when you are a relationship based person or understand how relationships work, even if you’re looking at it from a very like, technical point of view of like, oh, I need to make sure I nurture this because I need to get this output out of it. You know, even if you break it down to something that feels very clinical, it’s such an important piece. And PIC constantly felt like he was at odds with cast members who, you know, are your biggest fans. Mm-hmm. , um, imagineers who, you know, echoed so much of the story before, um, Bob Iger days where imagineers kind of got iced out of things and guess what the creativity suffered and the company suffered mm-hmm.

Nicole (22:06):
Because the entire company’s based on Disney magic. Mm-hmm. . And I just think that emotional intelligence is something that really can’t be taught there. Obviously you can take classes and you can kind of become more aware and work on it, but Chopik was constantly at odds, not only with employees, but also with with fans. You know, um, I, I have played World of Warcraft in my day and there was a developer at one point who people said, we want the old game back. Bring the old game back. And he very famously said, you don’t actually want that. Nobody would play it. And then they launched, um, what they call Warcraft Classic, uh, three, four years ago now. And it had a huge fan base. It’s still running today. And it’s, it’s become this meme in the community of someone telling you like, you don’t actually want that.

Nicole (22:57):
You don’t know what you want. And I felt that way with Eck all the time. He actually said in an interview back in September or something, like, adults don’t watch animated films, they’re just made for kids. Talk about being out of touch with your audience. I mean, just some of these comments, I mean, he flat out said, and I know that we have talked about this on the show, DVC members don’t make them enough money mm-hmm. , and he said that it’s in quotes and no, maybe we don’t pay for our hotel rooms, but I can guarantee you the only reason I have an annual pass or I buy merchandise is because I’m not paying for my hotel room. Mm-hmm. , um, I, the, the years before I was a vacation club member, when I would go to Disney, I would try to get the most budget friendly room, and I would never buy any, any merchandise. It was too expensive.

Yasmine (23:49):

Nicole (23:50):
She just felt totally outta touch with, with every relationship.

Yasmine (23:53):
Yeah. I routinely drop like a hotel reservations worth of cash on merch when I go Disney, Nicole’s witnessed it. She sees my like frantic run-ins into like the emporium where I spent like 15 minutes, like buying all the things that I had my eye on during the day checkout and then go, um, and it’s because I’m a DVC member and I sort of like prepaid for that portion. So I’m Will, I’m able to, you know, allocate budget to, to Disney merch. And I know I’m not the only one. Like Nicole definitely does it. DVC members are amongst the most fanatic about Disney merch that I’ve seen at least. So

Nicole (24:31):
I’m also willing to go to restaurants, um, that I wouldn’t have gone to

Yasmine (24:36):
More expensive, like sit down experiences versus just like having a quick service thing or bring your lunch. Yeah,

Nicole (24:42):
Absolutely. So, you know, emotional intelligence and leadership very important. And I think that it’s the soft side of business that often gets overlooked, but clearly has an impact. The other thing I wanna mention is turning to people for help when you need help. Mm-hmm. , just because you’re the CEO does not mean that you have every answer or know what path forward to take or what to prioritize next. And the advisors that you keep around you are just as important as the decisions that you make. Um, and it was routinely said throughout all of Jpx tenure, there was some ice between him and Bob Iger. And I know, um, Bob Eger had stepped down as ceo, but he was still the chairman of the board for a while. So he was still technically chap’s boss and should still, you know, be reported to or have communications with or, you know, he was there to be available. And so when you stumble into situations like the Scarlet Johansen and the, uh, don’t say gay rules in Florida, like some of these really big things that happened in the last two years in the Disney world, especially politically, PAC never turned to Iger for any insight into how he should respond to these situations. And so I I think it’s like a humbling lesson.

Yasmine (26:04):
Yeah. And that didn’t really sit well with, um, Bob, who basically saw, um, PAC take control away from creatives to, aside from like these decisions and put ’em in the hands of like MBAs, which I know we are, we’re MBAs, but like there ha we also acknowledge the fact that like business decisions are more nuanced than just numbers, right? The human element, the creative element. And I do wanna add that, um, Bob Chek had put, um, someone in re, sorry, let me rephrase that. Bob Chek had put, um, an executive in charge of Disney streaming who didn’t have a ton of experience and is also being blamed as one of the reasons why they had that 1.5 billion loss. And on Monday morning, so we’re recording this on Tuesday, November 22nd, this was yesterday morning, Bob Iger out said that executive and put the p and l and just all the decisions back in the hands of creatives in the company.

Nicole (27:08):
And if you read, uh, Bob Bagger’s book or you look into the movie with him, um, he talks about how creatives are like the backbone of the Disney brand. And if you have good content, you can do so much with it. So I, I think like the couple of lessons here, whether you’re looking at it from the perspective of just like, this is some Disney shocking news, or if you’re actually trying to get some business lessons out of this, and we talk about leadership, have some emotional intelligence surround yourself and utilize the people around you for making decisions and for finding clarity of your path forward. Survey your customers, we talk about this so much, but survey them and actually do something actionable with what they’re saying. I mean, especially the ones that have been around the longest, you know, um, people will always complain and I, Bob Iger didn’t have glowing reviews the entire time he was ceo, and I think he was on the decline as he was leaving. He definitely put Disney in some debt buying Star Wars, you know? Mm-hmm. , it’s not everything wasn’t amazing, but when people start feeling like the essence of who you are is gone, that’s a problem. Um, make quick decisions, that’s another good one. You know, sometimes you can really think about things for a really long time and sometimes you just need to kind of pull off that bandaid and, and get that decision moving. Um, gosh, I can’t even, there are so many lessons I think we can pull

Yasmine (28:42):
From here. I think one big one that I would just wanna add, Nicole, is look back on past successes. You don’t always have to reinvent the wheel If something is not working, go back and see what did work and how you can continue to implement those strategies or incorporate them into your newer strategy. I think we, in our industry as like online business owners are so obsessed with what is new, what like this guru is telling us to do right now. Because it’s like the hot thing that we look away from our uniquely you business or I guess in my case, uniquely me business, um, and lose the essence that of who we are and what basically attracted our audience and brought us to the position that we are right now. So it’s okay to maintain something, look back and repeat things that have worked while trying to grow, but going from one direction, doing complete 180 to another because that’s what you think people expect of you, can basically blow up your business as we’ve, um, saw things might go up for a while, but it’s not sustainable. So I really, really, really wanna encourage any business owner who’s listening, um, that while change is good, changes don’t always need to be big, little subtle changes can grow your business in a sustainable way that maintains that brand sentiment and maintains that unique element of who you are.

Nicole (30:13):
All right. So thanks for joining us for this kind of off the cuff episode because we’re just rolling with the Disney news as it comes in, um, when this errors, I’m sure Bob Iger will have made some more decisions in the meantime. So definitely go take a look at some of the news articles about what happened in the last two weeks because I’m sure that we’re gonna hear more and more and plans for the future. So a couple of things to wrap up this episode. First of all, follow us on Instagram at Pixie Dust & Profits. If you are interested in reading or audio books or anything like that, we highly recommend getting Bob Iger’s book. Even if you’re not a Disney fan, it is such an amazing story of how to be a leader in your company. Mm-hmm. . And so I cannot recommend that book enough.

Nicole (30:59):
And my favorite part is that all of the best takeaways that I remember underlining while reading are actually in the back of the book already ready for you to, um, read through. So, um, go get that book. And then lastly, if you’re looking for some business partners who can advise you about things going on in your business, or you need a sounding board because you feel like you’re a solo CEO doing it alone, check out the profitable and productive party. It’s at pixiedustandprofits.com/party. It’s, you know, coaching with me and Yasmine. Every month you get two sessions where we just get to work and two sessions where we can actually talk through the different things that you, you know, want advice on. And there’s also an online forum where you can leave notes and thoughts and other people can get back to you on super small group. We love, you know, supporting all these business owners and we’d love to see you there too. So thanks so much and we’ll see you real soon.

Yasmine (31:52):

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Episode 73: Disney Business: Bob Iger is Back in Charge!

Nov 29, 2022

We never thought we’d write these words but… 

Bob Iger is back.

We know Disney fans worldwide (ourselves included) are completely freaking out over this totally unexpected news. The Disney board just ousted Bob Chapek, and our brain crush, Mr. Iger, is making a triumphant return to the tune of screaming excitement. 

This news was dropped to cast members first, with Bob Iger sending a personal email to let them know he was returning. And the celebration that met his announcement is a tip-off to just how much impact he has had. 

How did all this happen? 

After a disastrous quarterly finance meeting, the board started looking into the reasons behind Disney’s financial failings. During this meeting, senior leadership within the company started to become more and more honest. Allegedly, there were even conversations about some of the most senior members resigning, all due to Chapek’s leadership. 

Between Friday evening and Sunday, the board had gone into such heavy discussions that they both voted to oust Chapek and convinced Iger to come back. 

So… what can we learn from this? The biggest takeaway is that creativity is going to be the backbone of your business. Listen to and survey your customers — and take action on what they say! 

Also, sometimes, quick decisions are the best ones. 

If you’re looking for a sounding board to help you make these decisions (because they can be hard to make alone), check out Profitable & Productive Party, filled with entrepreneurs who support each other, give advice, and lean on each other in hard times. 

We’ll see you next week! 

Download Episode 73 transcript right here

Text us! 207-203-6769 

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Episode 72: Magical Onboarding Experiences: Client Gifts & Small Touches They’ll Remember (Transcript)

Nov 15, 2022

Intro (00:01):
Pixie Dust and Profits is a podcast for small business owners who love Disney and want to sprinkle some of that magic onto their own businesses. Join your host, Nicole Boucher and Yasmine Spencer as they explore the Mouse’s 12.6 billion operation and break down exactly how you can apply these big scale concepts to your own business.

Nicole (00:26):
Hi everyone. Welcome to this week’s episode of Pixie Dust and Profits. I’m Nicole.

Yasmine (00:30):
And I’m Yasmin.

Nicole (00:31):
And today we’re talking about onboarding experiences, which is something I know we’ve talked about before, but the inspiration behind this episode is very specific. I recently signed up for a Disney Rewards Visa card. You get a couple of perks with that and it just kind of worked out that I really needed to have that at the time that I took that out. But what really impressed me was that I got that welcome pack in. If you have ever opened a new bank account or a credit card or anything like that, you know what I’m talking about. You get the letter in the mail that has your card in it and it just tells you go to this website to activate it. And you get pages and pages of disclosures that are on those little pamphlet papers with, you know, size eight font that you probably don’t even look at.

Nicole (01:18):
Um, and so that’s the typical experience when you open a new account. And this is not the experience I had because of course Disney has to mag Gify everything. So I got this package in the mail, it had my disclosure information, but it also had, you know, this laminated sheet colorful, magical with, with all of my Disney parks. It talked about how as a Visa card holder you could go to special meet and greet events with the characters. You had, you know, 0% interest on vacation packages for six months and a couple of other little things just, you know, making some of these parks that I already knew about. It was the reason I signed up for the card reminding me of them making it seem more magical like I made a good choice. But that is not all. They also gave four little postcards that were all different designs.

Nicole (02:13):
Um, they were beautiful, they were cute. There was one with the castle with like magical stars around it. I think there was one with Dumbo. Um, just really adorable postcards and it was so unexpected. Um, of course I could send a letter to someone on those postcards, but I opted to keep them and hang them around my office cuz they were so adorable. They were nice art prints almost, even though they were, you know, designed to be used as a postcard. So it was just something that really stuck with me when this happened that I took all the notes on it and I was like, this is gonna be a pixie dust episode.

Yasmine (02:46):
You know, I love Disney and how they take a very like boring, mundane and frankly kind of like stressful experience. Cause like when you get that pamphlet with all of that like legalese, it’s just, it’s a little overwhelming. And I’m one of the people who goes through like all the benefits and you know, elements of, uh, features that come with my credit card because I like to know what I can benefit from but also like what I need to be aware of. And I love that Disney really does magic that unfortunately as a Canadian, I’m not eligible to sign up for that credit card. Otherwise that would be like my daily personal um, card cuz who doesnt love Disney Rewards? Right?

Nicole (03:28):
It’s, it’s wonderful because we were just at Disney for Pixie Dust Live. Mm-hmm . And when I was going around the world in Epcot for food and wine, I used my rewards points. I had $200 in rewards that had been saved up over probably the last two years because during Covid we didn’t go to Disney. So it had built up and I just, you know, went around the world eating and got a couple of souvenirs for my family while I was out all on those rewards.

Yasmine (03:56):
$200 gets you a lot of Mickey pretzels.

Nicole (03:59):
It does. I did have a Mickey Pretzel

Yasmine (04:02):
And beer cheese if you get it in Germany, . So we obviously want to talk about what you can do in your business and what we can learn from that. And one of the things that Nicole and I were just talking about as we were playing this episode is how gifting as part of the onboarding experience just has such a positive impact on the brand and also the experience. One way that we actually applied this at Pixie Dust and Profits live was when we had people register. We actually sent them little, um, luggage tags.

Nicole (04:37):
I love our luggage tags.

Yasmine (04:38):
They’re so cute. They’re so cute. I have them on my suitcases and like, you know, if you have sort of like a common colored black standard issue suitcase, if you’re checking your luggage, a bright pretty luggage tag definitely makes it easier to pull it off of the carousel when it comes out. But we sent it out because we wanted to have a touchpoint in between people signing up for the retreat and the actual retreat to get excited and to hear from us in advance of us all getting together. And I would say like more than half the ladies showed up with the little luggage tag on their luggage.

Nicole (05:16):
It’s so fun. It says, I bring the magic. I love it. It’s my favorite.

Yasmine (05:20):
Other ways you can apply gifting into your business is sending something out with your orders if you have a physical product based business. So I see this all the time. If I order something from a shop, often a small shop on Etsy or online, they’ll send stickers, um, along with their order. And again, you know, I may not have ordered those stickers, but they’re just like a f fun, cute thing that I will hold onto. And like, I maybe unfortunately am in the camp where I just like hoard my stickers cause I’m afraid of like sticking them on

Nicole (05:51):
Things. I am the same. I am the same. I do not put my stickers on things because I I just don’t wanna not use that thing anymore. And then I don’t have my sticker

Yasmine (05:59):
exactly. Or like, I’m worried that I place it on the wrong thing. So like, I have this like one Disney sticker that I put on my iPad. Cause I’m like, okay, this, this is the one thing I’m gonna stick on. And you know, it was beautiful, but like I used my iPad every single day and after about a year it started to fade and I had to peel it off and I was just like sad at the loss of that like totally free but cute sticker that I got. Uh, so instead what I do is I just hoard them in an envelope in a drawer and I just look at them, uh, from time to time. I, I was, while

Nicole (06:27):
We’re talking about stickers, this episode comes out just before Black Friday. So if you have ever seen our t-shirts on our website, they say pixie dust and profits. I bring, I make small business magic. They are the most comfortable t-shirts I’ve ever worn. Those will be on sale. And hint, hint, you might get some stickers if you order them. So take a look at the website over Black Friday. We have some deals for you.

Yasmine (06:53):
Yeah, we had some cute ideas as we were planning it out so you don’t wanna miss out.

Nicole (06:59):
All right, so we talked a little bit about product based businesses, um, and sending something along with your order, but I also wanna talk about service based businesses or even coaching businesses like agencies where there might be multiple people working with a client. So of course the onboarding experience we’ve talked about this before, is so important. And that could include sending a gift. Thank you for working together. Um, I personally like to send gifts maybe toward the end of a project saying like, Look how hard you worked. So I don’t always send a gift right on onboarding. I, it’s kind of personalized to what the situation is or what the project we’re working on together. So that’s how I like to gift my clients. Um, but there’s also the gift of being responsive available and interested and engaged in their business. These are things that are soft skills, but so important.

Nicole (07:50):
Especially when someone has just invested in you. This might have been a scary investment for them. Mm-hmm. , it might have felt risky. Especially right now with the way the economy is having your own business and keeping it running can feel a little bit scary or isolating. And so being available and even if you’re not available to be available, you can say, Hey, I will be out of the office for pixie dust live during these dates. If you have an emergency, this is how you get in touch with me. Those proactive, and I hate that word, but those proactive steps can really mean a lot to the relationship. And that’s what we’re talking about with onboarding experience. Knowing going into Black Friday, who is taking time off, who isn’t, who’s available? If there’s something that’s gonna go down on the site, I know who I can turn to.

Nicole (08:38):
I know who’s moving during that weekend and who not to bother. Those things are so important. And so I want you to keep in mind that gifting and experience doesn’t have to be a physical item. It doesn’t have to be a huge package. It could literally just be remembering a conversation you had during your consulting call and moving on from there to say, Okay, we talked about this, let’s make sure that we address that and we don’t lose sight of it. So taking something traditionally boring, jazzing it up, like your credit card disclosure statements, um, there’s some other things too. So, um, I talked a little bit about how I like to gift my clients. So whether you’re work project based or you have like a certain engagement that you do with people or someone says, you know, I’m moving in this other direction and it’s like an offboarding process.

Nicole (09:29):
You can also gift then, so I, you can call them parting gifts. Um, and so what I like to do is just at the end of a project, I helped someone do a summit last year for example. And as we got close to the date, I know how stressful that is when you’re trying to field emails from 30 different speakers and in your head you’re thinking about, how am I gonna do this? It’s, it’s like a live event. What’s going on? Getting that gift in the mail of, Hey, you’ve got this, look how far you’ve come, this student exists four months ago and look all of you’ve done. So, um, it’s election day here. I’m really involved with my local community and so I am looking for that gift tomorrow, . So, you know, it’s, it goes a long way to recognize that someone’s worked really hard, even if the results may not have been what they expected, good or bad. It’s, it’s an acknowledgement that you were here, you were present, you worked hard. We see you.

Yasmine (10:22):
I love the acknowledgement of the progress and the work that you’ve done together. Cuz again, you typically see gifts in the onboarding process for, um, contractors that I worked with for a really long time. I, you know, I’ll get a little holiday gift. I send out holiday gifts to my clients. Um, but just to acknowledge the end of a big project I think is such a nice touch.

Nicole (10:45):
I think we can also go beyond just the clients that you’re working with or the customer who purchases from you. And I am really big on this. We’ll have some upcoming episodes about leadership and team building mm-hmm. . And so if you have questions on that realm, please dms s on Instagram, send us an email, whatever it may be. But this also extends far beyond just the customer and client. It also extends to your team. Recognizing when they’ve gone above and beyond. The onboarding experience for a new team member can mean so much to their success on your team. Letting them know exactly what you expect from them, what their daily tasks are, what their weekly tasks are. Having regular check-ins and expectations. It goes such a long way versus the contractors who come on and they’re like, Okay, so what is it that you wanted me to do? And they really don’t have an idea for how they fit on the team or what you’re expecting or, um, get surprised by the amount of feedback they get because, you know, they thought they were doing something the way you might have wanted, but they don’t know what you want yet. So this goes far beyond just your customers and bring it to your team.

Yasmine (11:57):
Well, I hope that gave you a few ideas on how you can incorporate gifting in your business beyond just even onboarding. We wanna thank you again for joining us and wanna remind you to check us out on Black Friday. We’ll have more information up on our Instagram and on pixiedustandprofits.com. If you have any questions about leadership, please send them our way. That’s one of the topics Nicole and I really, really love talking about, and we can’t wait to dig into it in a future episode. So email us hello@pixiedustandprofits.com with any questions you have about being a leader in your business.

Nicole (12:32):
Thank you so much for listening today. Follow us on Instagram @pixiedustandprofits if you’re not already. And stay tuned for our next episode.

Yasmine (12:39):
We’ll see you real soon. See you real soon. Bye.

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Episode 72: Magical Onboarding Experiences: Client Gifts & Small Touches They’ll Remember

Nov 15, 2022

Let’s talk about onboarding experiences! 

Recently, Nicole signed up for a Disney Visa card. And honestly, the most impressive part of the experience wasn’t the shiny new Disney credit card that came in super handy… But the welcome packet! 

So let’s dive into how and why this onboarding experience felt like a gift instead of a purchase, and how you can bring this feeling into your business. 

Setting Yourself Apart

We’ve all been there. You open a new card or account, and you’re met with a boring email containing pages and pages of disclaimers and agreements. 

This was NOT the case with my Disney card. Not only did Nicole’s welcome package have the typical need-to-know information, but it also had these beautiful, magical letters explaining all of my new card benefits. 

On top of that, there were some unexpected and adorable postcards included in my package. 

This whole experience really stuck with me. Disney managed to take a boring, stressful experience and make it feel magical. 

Gifts as Part of Onboarding

There are so many ways you can give your customers and clients a gift right off the bat!

At our recent Pixie Dust LIVE event, we sent each person a personalized luggage tag when they registered. 

This wasn’t just about the gifting experience. This was also about creating a touchpoint between the signup and the retreat. 

Now, if you don’t run a service-based business, you might be wondering how the heck you can do this. 

It can be as simple as including an extra gift in their order, or a bonus surprise! Really, gifting them something without telling them in advance that it’s coming, it will create that element of surprise and make them feel well-taken care of. 

Great customer care is also a gift

Here’s the thing — your communication, availability, and responsiveness can be a gift in and of itself. 

Those experiences can become a huge asset when it comes to making your clients feel special. 

Creating a magical experience isn’t something that only Disney can do! You can bring this elevated level of customer service into your business with just a few personalized touches. 

Download Episode 72 transcript right here

Text us! 207-203-6769 

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Episode 71: How to Create Elevated Inclusion in Your Business (Transcript)

Nov 1, 2022

Intro (00:01):
Pixie Dust and Profits is a podcast for small business owners who love Disney and want to sprinkle some of that magic onto their own businesses. Join your host, Nicole Boucher and Yasmine Spencer as they explore the Mouse’s $12.6 billion operation and break down exactly how you can apply these big scale concepts to your own business.

Nicole (00:26):
Welcome to this week’s episode of Pixie Dust and Profits. I’m Nicole.

Yasmine (00:30):
And I’m Yasmine.

Nicole (00:32):
And today we’re talking about how Disney makes things feel really exclusive, like you’re part of some club, even though you’re there with thousands of other people, it feels like a special experience because of all these little additional things that they have and they do

Yasmine (00:48):
Kind of like going to Club 33 except not paying the $33,000 initiation fee if it even is still that

Nicole (00:56):
. Yeah, I don’t know. I, that is out of my budget so I haven’t looked at it, but I hear that it’s a really cool perk. You could have them find reservations for you that are really hard to get. So you don’t have to call every day at 6:00 AM or whatever time it is. I am actually terrible about planning for restaurants, so I don’t know any of those timelines. Yasmine does all of that for pixie dust live events. So anyway, what I wanted to talk a little bit about today is some of the things that Disney does to make you feel like really, like you’re in this amazing bubble, right? So, um, when you get Genie Plus, which is their new Fast Pass E system, you’re basically paying to skip the line a little bit. You know, you go through a different line, there’s still gonna be a little bit of a weight, but it’s shorter than others.

Nicole (01:47):
Um, but mostly you’re paying to not be in the sun waiting for things. Um, Universal also has this kind of like fast pass approach to things, but there’s this very dnce. So when you look at Genie Plus for Disney, it’s you know, a couple bucks added to your regular ticket price to do the regular Genie Plus where you can kind of choose one up to one ride on each ride as many as you can fit into your day, but you can only have one at a time. Or they have Genie plus individual Lightning Lane tickets. So these are for the high ticket rides you can buy just for that ride. You don’t need to buy the whole entire Genie Plus system. So for example, we use that to go on Rise with the resistance so we don’t have to wait in line and we also don’t have to buy the huge like Genie Plus for every single ride in the, in the park.

Nicole (02:38):
We’re just getting that one. And so they have these kind of like little options and it almost feels like micro transactions in a way because it’s, oh it’s just, you know, it’s just $8 to go on Mickey’s runway train and um, let’s just add that onto her order so you can get the things you want to get. You know, piecemealed in Universal is like the complete opposite. Universal is like you can go on whatever ride you want as many times as you want in the fast pass line. You don’t have to wait at all. And um, you can go on the same ride back to back to back to back if you want to, but you can’t buy it like a micro transaction. You have to buy the full experience all at once. And um,

Yasmine (03:19):
And it’s expensive, right?

Nicole (03:21):
It’s very expensive and it, it depends on the day, the time of year, how busy they forecast the park to be is basically how it comes down. And so, um, I think when I was there in June it was approximately like 300 and something dollars each on top of your park tickets. So it was a Yeah, yeah. Per day.

Yasmine (03:42):

Nicole (03:43):
So it was pretty pricey. Um, you can stay at a universal resort, um, one of their luxury resorts and you get it added automatically to your tickets. So sometimes that might be more cost effective for people. Um, in our situation it was just me and my husband and we were there for a few hours and we were like, that would be a cool thing to add to our ticket. And then when we asked and got the $300, we were like, No, that’s okay. We’re good. Um, if it was maybe $75 each, we probably would’ve entertained that, but $300 each was just inputted into no, that’s not, not, that’s not happening. So when you look at this like we were willing to pay something right? And Universal was like didn’t have a product to fit what we would’ve paid cuz we like to do things a little luxury but we’re also fr like we’re also just kind of frugal at the same time and so

Yasmine (04:37):
Smart with your money, right? Like yeah you wanna get a little bit more out of the experience but you don’t necessarily wanna like, you know, lead your wallet dry,

Nicole (04:45):
Right? Especially when you know the kids back at the room with grandma and it’s, you know, we didn’t have to hire a babysitter per se, but we had a limited amount of time and we were willing to, you know, make the most use of that time. But $600 when you price it out for both of us was just too much. So Disney on the other hand, if we had been there, it’s like, oh do you wanna do Ride Atuie? We haven’t done that yet. It’s only $8 in the app and we could very much still spend $300 each walking around the world eating all the foods and getting these lightning lane fast passes. But um, it’s a very different experience cause it feels like it’s right in your hands and you have control of your vacation. And so, you know, not that one is better than the other, they definitely are different trips and different vacations, but it’s just interesting to see how you can feel really included or part of a secret club or something with Disney where like, Hey I can get this little add on here. .

Yasmine (05:39):
That is so interesting. So like I’ve never been to Universal Studios in Orlando and I’ve never taken part of that. Um, what do they call it, A max pass or they’re just a fast pass. Got it. I’ve never really taken advantage of that, but I’ve been to Universal Studios in Hollywood or California and it was a bit different. Um, and it’s just like, it’s wild to me how expensive it is and I guess that’s really just a, a plan for them to get you to wanna stay in their luxury resorts because then it gets like locked in and it feels like an overall premium experience. That’s so interesting. You know, one really sort of exclusive and kind of like inclusive thing, I’m just gonna throw it out there that I really love about Disney World is the minivans. And we’ve talked about this like endlessly, but they’re bringing them back or they’ve been back already, they were sort of phased out during the pandemic.

Yasmine (06:30):
And the one amazing thing I like about that is through their partnership with Lyft, they have these like pickup services that you can call if you need to like, you know, head from a park back to your hotel room without wanting to take the bus. And the beauty of it is they have car seats like built in which you’re a parent with a little one needs legally be in a car seat. It’s a pain in the butt. Like I don’t know about you, but hauling a car seat through the airport was not my favorite thing to do. And just the fact that, you know, I could go Disney World, leave my car seat at home and rely on minivans if I need to use something other than bus transportation to get around is really amazing. And the way that Disney does it, it kind of does feel like a more like fancier version of like an Uber Lyft because they’re these cute vans, they’re red with little like white polkadots like Minis bo and they’re all driven by cast members. So it has that like safety element in there too. And I just think that that’s such a neat service for Disney to have exclusively for their park goers. Like just car seats aside. If you um, want to take a shared ride service and you’ve never really taken Uber or Lyft because they don’t offer it in your town, it could be a little bit scary jumping into a stranger’s car, but at least with minivans you know that it’s a Disney employee. So to have that safety element in there as well.

Nicole (07:56):
Yeah, minivans are definitely one of those things that uh, are either beloved or absolutely hated. I think of

Yasmine (08:02):
The community minivans,

Nicole (08:04):
Well I mean it’s just kind of the symbolism of Disney charging for every little thing they could possibly charge for, um, to some and people thinking it takes away from the other services that they offer to get people around. And from my point of view, I think it’s smart to have all these different modes of transportation. Especially like when you think about minivans, there’s a niche market for that, right? It’s people who wanna go from a resort to Disney Springs or from another resort to another resort. These are much more difficult to do with Disney’s regular, um, transportation network. But at the same time bus drivers are in high demand right now and it’s a very specific driving license that you need to be able to drive a bus versus minivans, which are just, you know, Chevy SUVs. So anyone can drive those so you know, it’s in their interest to kind of diversify the types of employees they need too. And if people are willing to pay for service and it offset some of the court costs, that’s great. So you know, for better or worse, some people love it because it’s so convenient and useful and um, in my opinion safer than probably an Uber or a Lyft and um, others think it just symbolizes Disney is nickel and diving ,

Yasmine (09:21):
I have to make it different. Like again, the whole thing about like exclusiveness and really serving your customer is giving them different product services where they’re at and based on their needs and I think this solves like a very real need for a lot of families that go to Disney. But we can save that for another episode. One thing that I really wanna know about Nicole is at Disney World we have like our magic band, which has our tickets on it, or you can use the My Disney Experience app. What does the experience at Universal look like?

Nicole (09:55):
It was actually really strange to use the Universal app. Um, okay, I’ll say because I think I just came in expecting that, you know, Disney has this great system, you can get to everything from their app, you can, I mean even if you don’t have a Mickey Band, uh, magic band, you can open your room with the app on your phone or on your um, watch or whatever. So I just kind of expected that Universal will have copied that by now cuz this isn’t brand new technology for Disney. They’ve been building upon it for at least a decade. Um, and so I’m sorry

Yasmine (10:29):
To sorry to jump in Nicole. Like one thing that I want to confirm is like, didn’t they have similar magic bandy type things at Great Wolf Lodge when you went there?

Nicole (10:37):
They did, actually, I forgot about that. They had a little band that you could use, um, to do the arcade and a couple of other things just basically, so you’re, you’re out of water, an indoor water park essentially, so they don’t, you’re not gonna walk around with the wallet. So they use this and I think a lot of water parks use something like this these days, so that way, so the

Yasmine (10:59):
Buy is not like, yes and the technology is like, not like necessarily exclusive to Disney. It’s being seen in other theme parks. So yeah, it’s interesting that Universal hasn’t quite um, you know, jumped on that train yet.

Nicole (11:10):
Yeah, I’ll say that Universal app was very much like informational based. So yeah, you could see where you were on the location and see what restaurants were around you, but there was no like mobile order ahead. There was um, like the Disney app you can be like, here I am, I wanna get over there and it will actually like, give you directions on how to get there if you want to. So like that didn’t happen. But more importantly for me is like I thought all of my reservation information would be in the app so I could easily figure out like what room I was in. I stayed at Cabana Bay and it was a really large resort . So yeah, like just things like what was my room number again? And the thing that really floored me was they still have the ticketing system where you have a paper ticket and you, um, have to like use your fingerprint to get in.

Nicole (12:02):
And so we had some trouble with my kiddo trying to get his fingerprint right where it needed to be or whatever. I ended up using my fingerprint on it because I’ve done that at Disney before. But we had to each have our own paper ticket in our hand. I couldn’t be like, here’s our three understandably because staff is like, I, you, I see three in your hand, I can’t count how many people came through. So even my kid had to hold his ticket and like, it just was blind boggling to me that I couldn’t use the app or keep that information somewhere safe. And I’m literally like holding the ticket with my kid, making sure he doesn’t drop it because I don’t even wanna know what process I’d have to go through to go get a replacement ticket to get into the park if we were to try to switch parks or anything.

Nicole (12:44):
So that was really frustrating to like have to dig in my pockets to find paper tickets. They weren’t even plastic cards. So Disney, if you don’t have a magic band or anything like that, you, you can use a plastic card and you know, enough environmentally plastic is plastic but they also can, you know, get in your wallet that might get a little wet on water rides or like the paper tickets were just so crumbly and I, I don’t know, it just floored me. I was expecting a little bit more than just here’s a paper ticket, get into the park. Like it’s, you know, the old days . So in that way, I mean, yeah, I got into the park, it served as purpose, but there’s something really magical when you’re scanning into Disney and whether you’re using a card or a magic band or your watch or whatever, the little like Mickey ears, you know, light up, you get this big ding like you can go like, you’re ready, you’re in.

Nicole (13:41):
And it just kind of gives you those pictures of, you know, the old videos of Disney World where they have like the, the rope drop and everyone’s standing and waiting and like you kind of get that ding that that excitement, that pixie dust in when you’re walk in cuz you’re like, Oh I did it, I’m here. Um, you didn’t feel that at Universal. It was like, here, here’s my paper ticket, you scan it and then put your finger here and um, it just didn’t feel the same entering the park. Which I mean that’s my own taste too, .

Yasmine (14:10):
No, but I think, I think it says something about making things a little bit more seamless and even like, like you said, exclusive, more personalized for your audience. So why don’t we talk about a couple ways that our, um, listeners at home can apply these principles to their business. Cuz let’s be real, not everyone has the budget to create magic bands for their customers. I mean, I wish I did, but I’m a couple billion dollars short of that. So, um, one tip that I wanna give everyone, and I feel like this is pretty basic, but I can’t tell you how many times actually don’t see this being done is one way that you can help convert people or make your customers feel more appreciated. Whether you’re a service based provider or you are selling products, is personalization in emails? I know, I know it sounds so silly, but you know, when you open up an email it’s like, hi friend or hey, like you kind of know that’s being broadcasted to everyone, but what it says like, Hey Kel, and it mentions your names a couple times throughout. I mean, you might be savvy enough to know that this is going to more than just you, but it actually does help in terms of making the person on the other end feel like you’re communicating with them one on one, which can really foster that connection and you know, sort of increase the exclusivity of your brand because you are really, um, welcoming people and really making that connection with them.

Nicole (15:33):
So I know that that’s more about like the marketing side of things. So when it comes to selling, Yasmin actually mentioned this when she was talking about how Universals fast pass system is kind of this like one cost all in that is really priced in a way to make their luxury hotels look one more affordable or that you get more bonuses and exclusivity by being there. So definitely think about that in terms of the products that you have, right? So do you have something that’s kind of a gateway to something larger? Do you have something that can be the bonus to the larger thing that just makes the larger thing a no brainer? Because when you’re charging $300 for one person to have a fast pass and your hotel room is $600 a night, if that like early entry fast access to everything all at once is really important to you, that $600 a night suddenly in your head turns into $300 a night.

Nicole (16:22):
And so thinking about those things where you might have something that is really valuable as part of a bigger offer. So definitely look at those things. Um, I think while this is airing, we’ll still be in time for you to get ready for a Black Friday sale. So also consider how um, Disney has this kind of like ad hoc micro transaction just by the rides you want versus Universals get access to everything and how like which one of those paths you feel like fits best for your audience and the type of products that you sell when you’re going into something like Black Friday because you could do something that’s like all of my little products are all on sale, or you could have, you know, an all access path, big bundle or something like that. A big bundle of everything that you have.

Yasmine (17:09):
One other strategy that I actually employ for one of my clients that really helps us drive sales is we do a gift with purchase, but the gift with purchase is an exclusive item that’s only available as a gift with purchase. So it’s not something that you can regularly buy in the store and yeah, yeah, we purposefully make it so it’s covetable so it actually gets people to spend a certain, um, basket size. So let’s say it’s like free with a $50 purchase in order to get that, which increases our purchases. So again, that’s something that’s like the Universal hotels, What it reminded me of is, you know, if you’re springing for that, well then you get this item so it gets sort of bundled in there and thus the investment that you’re making in the the other products makes it worthwhile because you’re getting this one item that you really want for sort of air quotes free.

Nicole (17:54):
Yeah, and you know, having been a consumer who’s had to buy a few things lately for a friend, they have a lot of those out there and I would just caution you when you’re doing it to plug and play with your carts as if you were a customer, see what they would add, see what they need to do in order to reach that threshold to get the free item or the free shipping or whatever it may be. Um, because it happened twice in the last week trying to send some gifts to a friend and I was at like $49 and I needed to be at 50 in order to get, it might have been free shipping, but it was like, okay, so I need to get two pairs of socks and this and that to get over that threshold and then it became like a $75 order and I wasn’t willing to spend that.

Nicole (18:39):
I really wanted to stay around 50. So definitely look at that experience because yes, you want to entice people to get to that threshold, you want them to spend more to get there, but you want their cart. If you take your most popular sellers and put them in a cart and they add up to $38, having a $50 threshold makes sense cuz then they gotta add, you know, a whole product and they’re basically getting shipping for free. But if your best sellers add up to $48 and your threshold’s 50, it might actually have an unintended side effect of abandoned carts because they’re mm-hmm. feeling like you purposely made it this way to make them spend more. So there’s a lot of psychology that comes into the marketing and selling, and I just want you to, to encourage you to pretend like your customer when you’re setting these up and try and break your carts, try and add a couple different things. Look at what it looks like and what it would feel like to someone when you’re deciding what that threshold level is. It doesn’t have to be $50, it could be 40, it could be 45. You can make it whatever number you want, but mm-hmm. , you know, just act like a customer for a little bit and see how that feels.

Yasmine (19:42):
Thank you again for joining us for another episode of Pixie Dust and Profits. I hope you took something away from this episode. And as always, if you ever have any questions or any comments, please DM us on Instagram or comment on one of our posts. We’d love to hear from you. We’re @PixieDustandProfits on Instagram and hey, if you’re kind of feeling disorganized and you know you have all these new ideas and you’re not quite sure where they fit into your current business plan and you wanna get focused, we highly recommend that you check out our squirrel workbook. It’s all about helping you sort of, you know, shun shiny object syndrome and focus on the things that matter in your business. And you can get that at pixiedustandprofits.com/squirrel.

Nicole (20:24):
Thanks for joining us today. We’ll see you next time.

Yasmine (20:28):

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Episode 71: How to Create Elevated Inclusion in Your Business

Nov 1, 2022

Disney is the best at making things feel extremely exclusive without adding the astronomic, Club 33-level price to them. We love how Disney can make us feel like we’re in their bubble at all times. 

How Disney does exclusivity

Disney creates opportunities to make their guests feel like they’re being included in exclusivity, without having to attach that higher price tag to it. Just think about Genie+.

When you look at Genie+, it’s a couple of bucks added to your regular ticket price. So not a huge difference. However, you’re pretty much paying to skip the line (and be out of the sun!

You can do this for both individual rides or a pass that you can use throughout the parks. 

There’s also the element of transportation. One of the things we love about Disney is that they offer a few different modes of transportation for guests. For example, we’re able to leave our car seats at home because we know we can use the Disney minivans — which feels like a higher-end, safer Uber or Lyft! 

But if you’re not comfortable with the minivan experience, Disney also has shuttles and other transportation to help their guests get from one location to another. All of these different vehicles are really just a way for them to cater to all sorts of different guests, regardless of budget and preference. 

And don’t forget about the app! Whenever we’re at Disney World, we know that their app has our back. As moms, it’s hard enough to try and wrangle our kids, much less than having to wrangle multiple paper tickets and the thumbprint scanners. But when you use the app, it’s all on your smartphone. 

There’s more to it than that, of course. The app makes it insanely easy to figure out where you are in the park, what food is around, and even how to get to your next destination. You can make reservations and order food, all on the go. For all the moms out there, you know how valuable it is to have a single place where you can store all your information while on vacation!

How we can bring increased exclusivity to our customers

There are ways we can incorporate this idea of inclusiveness to make our customers and clients feel like they’re getting an exclusive experience whenever they work with or buy from us. 

Like with emails! Starting an email off with: “Hey, name!” instead of something impersonal like “hey friend” does SO much to make the person on the other end of the email feel like you’re communicating directly with them. 

Don’t forget upselling. When you have something that’s really valuable as part of a bigger offer, you immediately make the upsell a no-brainer. Everyone wants to purchase it because they see the immense value they’re getting for such a small price. 

Oh, and people LOVE gifts. Giving your customers a gift with purchase will automatically make them feel amazing. But they’ll feel even more amazing if that free gift is something they can’t buy anywhere else.

If you’re ready to get really focused on your business, ditch the squirrel syndrome, and start seeing results, we definitely recommend you check out our Squirrel Syndrome playbook here

Download Episode 71 transcript right here

Text us! 207-203-6769 

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Episode 70: Delivering the Full Experience to Repeat Customers (Transcript)

Oct 18, 2022

Keeping The Magic Alive for Repeat Customers & Long-Term Clients

Let’s talk about what happens when a magical experience becomes a lackluster one – whether at Disney OR in your business. 

Let’s set a scene for you: it’s 2021. It was our first time back at Disney World since the pandemic began. We were there for Pixie Dust & Profits LIVE and Yasmine had been dying to get on Rise of the Resistance. The moment it was over, I (Yasmine) was absolutely blown away. 

However, Nicole had already been on the ride multiple times before. And unfortunately, she wasn’t as excited. 

There were a few things that had been part of the ride the first time she rode it that simply weren’t included that time because the technology had broken down. Unfortunately, that sort of repeat experience takes away from the magic of the promise of Disney, leaving customers more dissatisfied the more times they go on.

Structural Changes

In recent years, likely due to Covid, Disney has made some changes to the guest experience. Certain things have been made more expensive, there are other elements that are no longer free and complimentary, they’ve changed their ticket options, etc. 

The thing is… to anyone who’s never been to Disney World, they’ll likely have no idea about the magic and perks that have been lost or discontinued. However, anyone who has been to Disney World before, and especially die-hard fans like us who go extremely often, can’t help but feel like some of the magic is missing now. 

The Big Takeaway

Okay, so what can we learn from this and how it relates to your business?

There are two sides to this. One side is the business’s perspective — these changes are often a sign of growth and lend to increased revenue. But as consumers, we can end up feeling like we aren’t being provided the full experience anymore. 

So when you do have to make these sorts of structural changes, it’s important to also take into consideration what changes you’ll make to increase client retention and brand loyalty. 

As you’re growing, making sure that you’re still creating that community feeling and having an impact on an individual level is going to be very important. 

When you work with clients for multiple years, you can sometimes become complacent in your work, which might lead to mistakes. So when you have a repeat or long-term customer, make sure you continuously check in with them and be aware of their goals and how they feel working with you!

Lastly, sometimes a quick check-in can be all that’s needed to make sure your clients feel seen and heard! Even if it’s a launch you’ve done before or something simple, these check-ins can be the difference between your client having an okay experience and an amazing one. 

We hope this blog has given you some food for thought! We’d love to hear your thoughts. Please DM us on Instagram @pixiedustandprofits or send us an email with your burning business and Disney questions, and we’ll get into them on future podcast episodes and blogs! 


Intro (00:01):
Pixie Dust and Profits is a podcast for small business owners who love Disney and want to sprinkle some of that magic onto their own businesses. Join your host, Nicole Boucher and Yasmine Spencer as they explore the Mouse’s $12.6 billion operation and break down exactly how you can apply these big scale concepts to your own business.

Yasmine (00:26):
Hello and welcome back to Pixie Dust and Profits. I’m Yasmine. And

Nicole (00:30):
I’m Nicole.

Yasmine (00:31):
And today we’re gonna be talking about when, you know, your experience, your magical experience just isn’t the same. So let me set a scene for you. It’s 2021. It’s my first time back at Disney World since the pandemic. I’m there with Nicole and we’re there for Pixie Dust and Profits live, which is the first time we were actually able to host it at Disney. Despite having planned this event for like basically two or three years, the pandemic, uh, was not our friend in making Pixie Dust live happen, but it finally did. And in fact, we’re actually going back in a couple of weeks for the next pixie dust and profits live. We’re so excited. But we finally get to Hollywood Studios and I have been dying, like dying to go on rides of the Resistance. We get our, um, Genie Plus had just, you know, made itself available. We paid the $15 per person to guarantee that we would get a spot and we go on the ride. And it is incredible. It is everything I imagined and more, I was just blown away. And when it was done, I turned to Nicole and I’m like, That was amazing. And Nicole, I I’m paraphrasing here, so apologize Nicole if I’m not calling you. Exactly. She agree. She was like, Yeah, that was great, but, and Nicole, why don’t you tell us what the butt was?

Nicole (01:50):
Yeah, so I’ve been on Rise of the Resistance probably five times since it opened and um, now when I go on it, my experience is just to look for the people who clearly haven’t been on it before and live through their experience on the Ride . Um, the, it’s an amazing ride. I, I love so many features about it. My husband’s a big Star Wars fan. I have watched the Star Wars movies and I enjoy them. I wouldn’t say I’m a big fan by any means, but I love the creation of worlds and that you’re kind of transported into a different place and while you’re in Queue for the Line, you’re actually part of an experience. It’s more like a 12 minute experience than a ride. And I also love the behind the stage of how they’ve created this ride using technology that they’ve created for different rides.

Nicole (02:40):
Like te there’s some technology from Tower of Terror built into this, you know, And so from that aspect, I tend to start watching the people who have never been on it just to like live through their experience of this magic. But the first time I went on this was probably within two months of it opening. And so I was able to experience the ride before the primary concern was Q capacity and how many people can they get on the ride every hour? And before some of the things some of the advanced technology started breaking down or just became difficult to fix. And so if you have not been on the rides of the resistance and you do not want spoilers, please stop listening to this episode and go listen to the last one or the next one. I will be getting into a couple of details.

Nicole (03:26):
So I just wanna give that disclaimer. But I went on it the first time and got the full experience. I went on it at Pixie Dust Live, got almost the full experience. There were one or two little things that didn’t happen during the ride that I knew were part of it that, you know, changed things. And so I went to Disney this past summer and was able to go on Rise of the Resistance again. And so many features were not included on my part of the ride because of technology that broken down. So there’s one iconic moment where you’re kind of, you know, being chased by Kyle Ren and you’re sitting there and all of a sudden his light saber comes into the ceiling above you and it just rips across the ceiling like he’s breaking a hole and he is about to get into you on my ride.

Nicole (04:15):
That light saber never came down. There was no light indicating that it was there, you didn’t see it. It really took away from the suspense of that moment. So that was one moment. Another moment is there’s a part where there’s like some cannons shooting and you’re kind of ducking and diving and trying to avoid getting hit by these cannons. And one of the cannons takes too much power apparently. And so they have it turned off now so it doesn’t move forward. So your cart is still going up back up back, but you’re not actually ducking anything. And so there’s a lot of little parts like that. And then there’s one big part at the end where Kyle Ren comes out and he’s kind of about to attack you and then, um, the ship is blasted and the air gets sucked out and you start flying away and Kylo like gets pulled in a different direction.

Nicole (05:06):
That animatronic fails pretty often at resetting itself. And so when there’s a huge line for this ride, instead of going in turning the ride off for a half hour hour, they just kind of block that off. So that part has a different, um, video that you watch and then you move on to the next part of the ride. And so that one’s really significantly changes the ride because you’re being chased by Kyle Ren, but you never get this resolution that Kyle Ren didn’t get you. Um, and so the repeat experience has actually taken away from the magic for me personally on this ride. It’s still amazing. I recommend you go on it. If you don’t know about these little details, you’ll still enjoy the ride for sure. I enjoy it every time, but it just, it breaks a little bit of the magic for me when I’m like, Oh no, that that should be there.

Nicole (05:56):
Oh no, that should be there. And then you get to the end of the ride and you’re like, Man, this will never feel like it did the first time. Oh, that’s a really sad, sad reality when you’re at Disney World. I’ve been to Disney World so many times that I still find joy and it’s a small world and it, it’s very, I’d say it’s very abnormal for me to go on something a second time and enjoy it less than the last time. Cuz you’re usually with Disney, there’s always like Easter eggs and like things to fall

Yasmine (06:23):
More to cover.

Nicole (06:24):
Yeah, like even like it’s a small world as like everyone likes to knock on it, but as an adult when you go on it you can see all these little nods to different cultures and you can see like where this came from and why it was made the way it was. And I really love the art on the outside and um, those are things that you can notice. And I can’t say when I go on Rise with the resistance again, I feel like I found more magic. I feel like I’m just seeing, oh this is how they prioritize queuing and getting as many people through their ride as possible over the magic and it’s just not very fun as a repeat visitor .

Yasmine (07:01):
Yeah, I think about like flight of passage in Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Nicole, we, we together have been on that ride at least like I think four or five times because we go on it literally every time we go to Disney World.

Nicole (07:13):
Yeah, I actually went to an event where they rented out that ride and I was able to go on it four times back to back and its

Yasmine (07:22):
Good every time. Everything’s incredible. Yeah, yeah. It never like stops being magical. Then again that ride has less like mechanical components. So it’s gonna be really interesting to see is Disney starts creating these more immersive rides and experiences. What’s the upkeep gonna look like?

Nicole (07:37):
And this is where my brain is at war because I, like, I go to Disney cuz I like to be removed from my day job of being like a process manager, project manager. Like when I go to Disney, I don’t have to think about the schedule. The schedule’s already been made months in advance and I’m just, I’m there to immerse in magic and escape. But rise of the resistance in particular brings me back to that brain of, well that was really interesting when they designed the ride, they knew that this thing might break down. So they had a backup method of how they would do this. They had a backup video to show in case this didn’t work. And so then my brain is starting to look at the reality in less of the magic, which is enjoyable in some ways for me, but I really do prefer to go to Disney to suspend, suspend reality for a little while.

Yasmine (08:25):
. That’s fair. That’s fair. So one of the things we want to talk about is what are other things that have happened at Disney and you know, the recent past that have changed the experience? And I mean we can think of a couple of things as DVC members. Um, one experience that I’ve actually never got to try and now I’m like not sure if I will, is like the top of the world lounge. So if you are staying at Bay Lake, and I think in the past, like if, if you were a DBC member, uh, there is this lounge on top of Bay Lake Tower, which is right next to disease, contemporary hotel that you can go in and watch the fireworks without actually going to Magic Kingdom Park. And like if you ever stayed at um, the contemporary Bay Lake, like you were very close to theme park, you can see the fireworks from like your, your window. If you have like a theme park view, it’s, it’s pretty incredible. So to be able to go to the top of the world lounge, have a little drink and see the fireworks, and I believe they play the music too, right, Nicole?

Nicole (09:28):
They do, they pipe in the music. We went up there to see the Christmas fireworks when we didn’t have Christmas party tickets, um, with my family. And it’s, it’s so awesome to be able to be up there and hear the music along with the show. It is like a side view of the castle. You’re, you’re basically looking over a space mountain, but a really cool experience and it really is just like a concrete slab that you’re standing on with the concrete wall. It’s, you know, it’s not pretty, it’s it’s just the top of a building and they do have a little lounge in there, but if you’re just watching fireworks, you don’t have to get a drink or anything like that. Um, but it’s one of these mysterious things, right? There’s a elevator that goes there, um, specifically only only goes to that floor and so you have to line up on the first floor and give your name and show your car to be able to get up there. It’s a whole thing. But they’ve changed it recently.

Yasmine (10:22):
Yeah. So we could be wrong. So if you have information that contradicts this, please like message us and let us know. But from what I understand, cause we were looking into it for a recent trip that you can only go to the top of the world lounge if you partake in um, like a dessert party that Disney’s offering that’s like villain’s theme. So it’s now the villain’s layer at the top of the world lounge and in order to go you have to pay like the dessert fee price, which like ain’t cheap. It’s I think 70 or $80 at least per person, which can definitely add up and it just reopened like this past July. So if you want to go and to take part of that experience, you can go as a DVC member only, but it’s also gonna cost you.

Nicole (11:10):
Yeah, and I mean I, I appreciate that Disney’s experimenting as things reopen after Covid, but it never feels good to be losing perks. And so these are DBC things, but there’s also been a lot of changes during Covid even before it. So, um, magic bands that come with your room are no longer free. So previously if you booked a trip, all of your tickets and things would be on your magic band that opens the door to your room, it lets you into the parks. They don’t give out complimentary ones anymore. And before it was just like one solid color and you could choose to buy more elaborate designs. Now whether that’s because more people are choosing to spend money on a design or more people are returning so they’re not bringing their old magic bands and it’s creating waste, there’s probably a lot of elements to why they’ve changed this.

Nicole (12:00):
But it also means that the magic I used to see on people’s faces, especially kids when they had a mickey on their arm and they could open the door to their room or they could check out for snacks, is now transferred to you have to have a smartphone that has mm-hmm a wallet app and you know, kids don’t have that and not all adults have that either. And um, just a little bit different over to experience. It’s, it’s not a free complimentary thing anymore. And um, those have been around for 15 years or so. So that’s a recent change. There’s also been changes along the years of different types of ticket options. So, um, we talked a little bit about dvc, but DVC often follows the Florida Resident Annual Pass program and um, they really increased the price of that and took away perks like memory maker, which is where your pictures are all included if you buy, you know, the resident pass, which arguably residents probably care about the memory maker just as much because they were there often enough to like want to have all of their pictures.

Nicole (13:06):
So that’s a perk that was kind of lost. I jokingly said the last time I was there, like, is parking still included? And the parking attendant laughed and said, Yes it is. You can still get free parking. So hopefully they don’t take that one away cuz that’s a nice one. . But years ago there used to be no expiration tickets and basically what this meant was that you could pay an additional premium on the tickets that you bought and let’s say you bought a seven day ticket and you only used four days, you paid that additional premium, you still had three days left that you could use another time at a future trip and you didn’t have to pay the difference of what admission was when you first paid for it versus, um, whatever it was when you travel later. And that was a really cool tool, especially when things happened.

Nicole (13:49):
Like you get c on vacation and you didn’t get to use three days of your tickets. Today that’s not the case. Um, you buy a seven day ticket, you have like 14 days to use all seven of those days. You can’t extend it, you can’t use it later as once you, once you redeem that first day, if you bought seven day tickets and you haven’t redeemed them yet, you can apply them for a future trip, you know, if your trip got rescheduled or something. But if you went in the park for one day like we did, the other three days are just lost and you can’t get them comped. And um, these tickets aren’t very cheap, especially when you’re planning a vacation like this. So the no expiration option is definitely something I missed because I, I probably only used it once or twice before they had taken away, but I have friends who, you know, pulled out there one day ticket from a couple years ago that, you know, they bought and somehow like a kid didn’t end up wanting to go that day and um, you used to be able to actually like just transfer the ticket to another adult, you know, now everything’s tied to the person and mm-hmm , you can’t do that that as easily.

Nicole (14:51):
So there’s little things that I understand from a technology perspective why they’re moving the direction they are, but from a consumer protect perspective, it definitely is harder to have a flexible vacation.

Yasmine (15:05):
All right, so let’s get into the takeaways for your small business. Well, we’re gonna look at it from both a shop perspective. If you sell physical products as well as a service provider, um, if you sell courses for example or memberships, often what, um, some sellers do is if someone has purchased like your live experience of your course before, um, you have access to that forever so you can partake in the next sort of cohort or live experience to really, you know, benefit from going through the material. And also, you know, increasing brand loyalty. If someone goes through your course a couple times, that’s probably a good sign that they trust you and they need that refresh. However, what are you doing to maintain that experience and actually like retain their loyalty? Often as our programs grow and things get more successful, sometimes you know, we put a little bit less of ourselves into it because there are other things that we can automate and um, streamline. And that one to one connection that you can often have with your customers sort of falls by the wayside, even if it’s a one to many connection, still a connection because we’re automating so many things. So as you’re growing your courses or your memberships, making sure that you’re still present and you’re still having that impact, I think is really important to get people to continue through your product life cycle and grow and learn with you, Nicole, what you share about it from a service provider’s perspective.

Nicole (16:39):
So I think we’ve talked about this a lot where most of my clients, if I had to average out how long I’ve worked with them, it’s been around three years and that’s when we tend to either continue working together or, you know, they’re changing their business up in a way that I, I am no longer the consultant fit for them. And so it’s really, I don’t wanna say easy, but it can, especially as the seasons change or you do the same things again and again for clients as a service provider, you can find yourself in a position of becoming complacent with, okay, I have done this before, I know what’s going on. Um, there might be new team, team members who haven’t done it before. And so when you’re kind of doing things at the last minute or you know, duplicating from before, it’s easy to make mistakes because you’re a little bit complacent or because the team doesn’t have the knowledge that you have in your head.

Nicole (17:34):
And so just kind of warning about repeat customers not getting the full experience mm-hmm. that also applies to service providers too. Make sure you’re checking in with your clients like, hey, I know that, you know, things are kind of on autopilot here and we know what we’re doing and we’ve talked about these things, but just making sure there aren’t any goals that you, you know, have floating around in your head that we haven’t talked about or that we, you know, that keep you up at night. So making sure you have those feedback loops is so important. And, um, I tend to like to meet with my clients every quarter just to make sure we have a plan for the quarter ahead, but go outside of your typical process too. Just, you know, shoot them a message and be like, Hey, how are you doing personally if you’re, you know, a service provider like we are where we know our clients pretty well, we know when they’re moving and when they have, you know, stuff going on with their kids and all of that. So we have kind of a friendship with them that we can go in and just say like, Hey, how are you really doing? What’s going on? What’s keeping you up at night? What goals do you have? So just make sure you’re talking, that’s it. Like make sure you’re talking to your clients regularly.

Yasmine (18:41):
Yeah, I’m literally in the middle of a launch with a client. This is I think the fourth time that we’ve launched this course together and we’re still having like meetings every week to talk about all the moving parts because even though it’s a course that we’ve launched before, before we changed a couple of things this time around, we um, brought on an incredible copywriter. We also completely redid our sales page and those were like big projects, um, that really made going into autopilot kind of non-existent because we were reinventing the wheel just a tiny bit. And it was enough that that regular communication had to happen to ensure that everyone was on the same page. And if it weren’t for those regular meetings, there were a couple things that could have been missed because it wasn’t until someone brought it up that we were like, Oh, right, that’s something else that we have to like look into or make sure that we’re covering off or make sure that we have it work. So communication is key

Nicole (19:35):
And it’s with everything from like, yeah, big ideas to the smallest thing. You know, when you have a virtual assistant who’s scheduling promotional emails and then they’re like, Oh, I need a graphic for this one or I need a timer countdown for that one. And there’s just a lot of little pieces that go into completing even just one piece of work and it, if you start becoming complacent or not thinking ahead about all those little things, those things can start coming up against hard deadlines and feeling more stressful then they would if you kept communication open with team and with client.

Yasmine (20:14):
A hundred percent. Speaking of communication and not getting too complacent, if you are a product shop owner and you’ve achieved, you know, a certain level of success or popularity, it can be easy to sort of expect that to continue. Especially if you’ve been working really hard for a while and all of a sudden like things blow up. Very recently I had ordered from another small shop and when I got my order they included a handwritten note and it was like personalized and nice and like just a couple sentences, but I was actually touched. I was like, Oh, this is so sweet. And it made me think about my product business. For those of who don’t know, I do have a crystal shop lu drift APO carry. And back when I first started, I would take the time to literally write everyone a handwritten note. And I’ll be honest, as my business grew and got busier, I stopped the handwritten component and just sort of included a card that had a little note on it.

Yasmine (21:08):
But it really made me think of how I felt opening that box and receiving that little note and how it made me wanna support that creator a bit more and had me rethink my decision to sort of automate things by taking that personality away. So literally since then I’ve gone back to like handwriting. You know, it’s some, yes, it takes a little bit longer, but my business in some ways is a personal one. Um, and I like to have that connection with my customer. So making sure that you’re keeping that experience the same can be really, really important because I remember I would get like emails back or like messages on TikTok or Instagram with people thanking me for my note. Um, and obviously that hasn’t happened since I went to a more standard note. So you can really learn lessons from other businesses and the importance of sort of keeping some of these brand experiences the same.

Nicole (21:59):
All right, so we hope we’ve given you some food for thought and thinking about how are you treating your repeat customers, your followers who have been around for a while, the clients that you’ve worked with for a long time. How are you making sure you’re keeping things fresh and keeping the experience level what they expect, what they’ve gotten in the past, keeping that level pretty active. So we hope we’ve been, use some thoughts there. We would love to ask you for some feedback and if you can just DM us on Instagram or send us an email @pixiedustandprofits. Um, email us your burning leadership and team questions. So we talked a little bit about working with clients and having teams and some of the dynamics that can be there, but we really want to get into this and some of the future episodes for this season. So if you have any questions about leading a team, working with a team, maybe hiring someone to work with you and you haven’t hired before, or just how to better utilize the people you do work with, whether they are employees or consultants or contractors or even just industry friends that you’ve created an informal mastermind with, we would love to hear the questions that you have about being a better leader and having a team. So email us, send us a DM on Instagram and you might be featured in an upcoming episode.

Yasmine (23:20):
Thanks so much and we’ll see real soon.

Nicole (23:24):

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Episode 70: Delivering the Full Experience to Repeat Customers

Oct 18, 2022

You want customers or clients to come back, but how do you keep them happy? We talk about keeping the magic alive for repeat customers in this episode! 

Download Episode 70 transcript right here

Text us! 207-203-6769 

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Episode 69: How To Avoid Business Meltdowns (Transcript)

Oct 4, 2022

How do you manage your expectations as a business owner?

One of the hardest parts of owning your own business is managing expectations of, well, everything. Clients, team members, employees, contractors, our family, even ourselves! 

What does this have to do with Disney? At the end of the day, each trip to Disney should be planned like a project in your business. You need to go into it with a strategy and goals! 

Kids and Clients Can Be Similar

How does a Disney trip with the kids relate to working with adults in the business world? Well, sometimes clients are just like children. They have unrealistic expectations about what’s possible. 

That doesn’t mean we don’t love our clients! But it does mean that we have to approach client work the same way we approach a trip to Disney to ensure everything goes smoothly: plan, plan, plan, PLAN. 

Manage Expectations

Once you’ve got a great plan in place, you need to set expectations with your clients. Setting those expectations up front, just like you would with your kids, means everyone’s clear on the possibilities and what’s supposed to happen. 

Have Realistic Goals

For every new project, you need to set goals for both yourself and the client. Make sure they have realistic expectations before they even begin working with you, as that will save you a ton of headaches down the line. 

Know the End Goal

One of the things that Disney does incredibly well is approaching every new project with the end goal in mind — and knowing their audience.

They have different campaigns for different audiences. Some of their audience (like us) are die-hard fans who will buy anything. But there are others who are going to need more warming up. They need to be sold on the benefits of joining the Vacation Club. 

The campaigns Disney is going to run to us versus the colder audience are going to look vastly different. Community and connection is the basis of everything Disney does, and that marketing tactic has made them billions. 

We love breaking down topics like this for you guys! If you’d like to keep up the magic everyday of the week, follow us on Instagram at @pixiedustandprofits


Intro (00:01):
Pixie dust and profits is a podcast for small business owners who love Disney and want to sprinkle some of that magic onto their own businesses. Join your host, Nicole Boucher, and Yasmine Spencer. As they explore the mouse’s $12.6 billion operation and break down exactly how you can apply these big scale concepts to your own business.

Yasmine (00:25):
Welcome to another episode of pixie, dust and profits. I’m Yasine

Nicole (00:30):
And I’m Nicole.

Yasmine (00:31):
And today we’re gonna talk all about managing your expectations. Now I’m gonna bring up a topic that might be a little controversial, but if you’re a parent with little ones or have been to Disney and have seen parents and little ones, you’ve probably witnessed a scenario where the child is having a meltdown for one reason or another might be too hot. They might not wanna wait in line. They wanna see Mickey and Mickey’s not available. And the parent is like insistent that they carry on with their day to make the most of their magical experience. And Hey, you can’t blame them. Can you, I mean, we’ve talked about this Disney is not cheap, but it is, you know, a bit of a premium experience, especially with prices increasing more and more every day. And if you are going there for that once in a lifetime trip, or like once every like several years, you’re gonna wanna make the most of it, right?

Yasmine (01:32):
You’re not gonna wanna have to spend half your day at the hotel room, which is what I did recently. When I went to Disney world with my daughter, I shared this experience on a previous episode, we took her to Disney for her very first time. It was in may, it was hot. And we honestly spent maybe two to four hours at the parks each day, despite paying for tickets for myself, my husband and my mom who came to help us out. And, you know, after a certain point, like we had to head back to the hotel room to cool things down. And the reason why I feel like I still got a lot of enjoyment out of the trip was because I went in there setting the expectation that she is the one running the show that my daughter is gonna be the one who dictates where we go when we go and we’re gonna have to play by her rules, because if I dragged her along and made her wait in every single line so we can get all those character photos, it would’ve been a nightmare for everyone. And I have to add that. I’m very lucky that we were able to make that decision because we go back to Disney like almost every year. So I knew that there’d be future years for those experiences.

Nicole (02:41):
I saw a post recently that said, I’m back for my child’s vacation. And so now I need my vacation. because you know, you sit around and take care of them all day vacation. Yep. And you know, even if you only have one Disney trip and that’s your one and only I think going in knowing the expectations of your family, your children, yourselves, and having some goals in mind is always a good thing. So it’s, it’s funny to think about planning a vacation as if you’re planning a project in your business, but you can actually go to pixiedustprofits.com. And we have a page that’s like, if you’re planning a trip, keep these things in mind. And we’re like, strateg, you need strategy. you need to think about what your goals are. And so, even though my child is older, we go into our Disney trips saying, what’s the one thing each of us wants to make sure we do.

Nicole (03:36):
We each get to make sure that we have one thing. And, um, in that way we know we will get to toy story mania. That’s your one thing. Mom really wants to try the new, making a mini runaway train. Can we try that one? And so when we’re in line for that, it’s not an argument between anyone or not a meltdown because it’s, I, you waited for the thing I wanted. I’m waiting for the thing you wanted. And that helps us a bit. We also, you know, leave the parks early and go back to our room and relax because none of us wanna be stressed out on vacation. Mm-hmm , um, I fully respect other people have different ways of, of traveling and ways of handling the situation with their kids. But you know what, the reason we’re talking about this is cuz sometimes your kids can be like your clients, right?

Nicole (04:19):
They have temper tantrums, they have meltdowns, they have unrealistic expectations. They seemingly wine or have some sort of red flag risk come up at the worst moments. So, um, that’s really where we’re going with with this. So if you wanna have, you know, quote unquote successful Disney vacation, thinking about, okay, what are the most important parks? We actually just went through this process in planning for pixie dust live. We started thinking about, okay, well the last pixie dust live, what did we do? Where did we go? How did that go over? Where should we go this time? You know, what are the highlights we should hit? Because we know, we know we can’t absolutely hit everything, especially when we’re gonna be leaving to do masterminding in the rooms and things like that. So, um, we sat down and thought about what are the expectations we should set for people.

Nicole (05:10):
And it’s, you know, this day we’re going to run around and eat in this particular park. And the expectation is that you have fun versus another day where we’re like, oh, we’re going to actually look at this particular ride so we can understand the elements of it and go from there about how we apply these things to our business. So there’s thought that goes into every single type of trip that we take. And again, setting those expectations is really important because when you don’t, you don’t have them to fall back on or to look to when things start getting squirrly. I think we can all relate to that in the middle of a launch or a new product, or even accidentally posting something on social media that went in the wrong direction and you have to like go through the muddy waters and figure it out. Right. So if we know what our expectations are, we can always look at what’s happening and say, okay, what were the goals again? Let let’s, let’s try and course correct and get back toward those.

Yasmine (06:08):
And sometimes the goal setting in itself needs a little bit of expectation management, right? Nicole, like think about a Disney trip. All you see are the highlights on Instagram, on Disney’s, um, marketing, it’s all magic, it’s all fun. So when you go and you know, things are a little hard, it’s like, where’s the magic, this wasn’t the trip that we were supposed to have. You’re not supposed to be crying. You’re supposed to be like at this restaurant right now and with clients and businesses and even customers, sometimes a lot of the time they go into any project or purchase with certain expectations in mind. And um, they cuz they see, you know, another competitor or another type of business doing X, Y, and Z or you know, there’s someone telling them that this is the type of business that they should have. Yeah. You can make six figures easily with barely having to work.

Yasmine (06:58):
And as people behind the scenes, we know that is not the case. There’s a lot that goes into hitting six figures a year at minimum, right? So there are difficult conversations we have to have with clients sometimes about the goals that they can expect to hit based on their individual circumstances. Right? You can expect to have a million dollar launch if you don’t have, you know, the appropriate list size or the ad spend to sort of invest in getting there. And even then a million dollar launch can be expensive. Again. For some people, it might be easier. There’s so many variables that go into place and every business is nuanced and unique. And you have to take that into consideration before you set goals. I’m not trying to sound like do and glue. You can hit like great goals in your business, but you can’t hit goals based on what someone else who has not looked at your business says you can do.

Nicole (07:49):
Yeah. And I’ll say that right now, I’ve had this conversation with so many people where they’re looking at the results they’re getting from, whether it’s like an evergreen campaign or some launch that they’re trying to run. And they’re like, why isn’t this doing as well as it used to, or I hear people who are getting these results and I’m not getting those results. And again, we talk about this all the time about looking at your unique business and the industry that you’re in and resetting people because most of the time my clients are actually doing really well, but they’ve anchored themselves. Their education is completely out of, I don’t wanna say completely out of reality, but kinda it is kind of in the land of pixie dust. And so when I go to them and I say, Hey, okay, let me say, you see what you’re saying, but then I’m gonna go back and I’m gonna do some math and I’m gonna come back and say, oh, your conversion, rate’s actually 2.4%, which sounds like a really low number. But when the average is 2%, you’re doing well and it’s only day one, we still have six more days to go. So don’t worry yet. Don’t get so concerned about what the results will be. If you know that you have done it strategically, intentionally absolutely pivot. There are absolutely times where in the middle of something, you need to think, okay, you know what? Something’s not resonating here. Let me find the thing that is and throw that into the mix. But that doesn’t mean that it’s not successful.

Yasmine (09:10):
Like for example, it’s really important to set the type of goal and the related outcome that you wanna achieve. Sometimes you’ll do specific initiatives just to grow your list. Other times it’ll be conversion based and the way that you go about it really differs. So if you’re going into a project looking to increase your audience size, focusing on the potential like revenue, maybe generating the back end of the offer that you’ve created can be detrimental because that’s not what you originally set it up. That’s not what you originally set your project up for. And switching goals. Midway can sometimes be a really hard and difficult pivot to make because so much forethought goes into how you set up your launch, your initiatives and your planning.

Nicole (09:59):
Yeah. I would say that for that, you know, there are times where your launches quote, I say quote launches, cuz I think of a launch as anything new. That’s like getting out into the world, not necessarily like a sales campaign. And so there are times where you’re just trying to, like you said, build your audience. Um, if you have followed us for a while, you know that the happy ever crafter is one of our clients. And so she does something every about eight months. It’s show me your drills. You can go to show me your drills.com and find it. She teaches people calligraphy. And so while we’re doing gearing up for a new session of the free show me your drills, we need to bring in new people to the audience who haven’t heard about it before. So a month or two, before we start launching things, to get people interested, get people knowing about modern calligraphy and that anyone can do it and you don’t need pretty handwriting.

Nicole (10:49):
So those are things that happen well before the actual like sales launch. These, this is like marketing launch where we’re just trying to bring in new, new people to the mix. And so if we went into things, thinking that they were traffic generating launches, new audience generating launches, and we are trying to find people like colder people who have never heard of us before, or maybe follow someone who follows us, that’s a completely different approach in how you talk to that person, how long you nurture that person, how much you need to tell them about who you are and what you do versus a launch where someone already knows who you are. And they already feel like they, they know the types of products you sell. And you’re like saying, okay, you’ve been here. You know, you know who I am, you know what I do come on, let’s work together.

Nicole (11:38):
And you’re like sell, sell, sell. Those are two completely different approaches. And so when you go into something thinking it’s a like value based relationship generator, building trust, building relationship, everything you make is gonna be completely different than something that’s meant for selling. And so if you try to change mid-course to be both, you’re gonna end up not doing great on either side mm-hmm . And so it’s really important to set those expectations early on, remind yourself of the expectations you had and measure your results against the expectations and goals that you set. Those other results you got are just icing on the cake mm-hmm . So if you went into it saying, I wanna bring in a hundred new people to our email list and you brought in 105 new people to your email list. Guess what? You hit your goal. If you made some sales, that’s just icing on the cake.

Yasmine (12:31):
Yeah. You’re not in the sales phase of that launch. So now you have those a hundred people on your list. You can get into the nurturing phase where you will generate like additional revenue by selling your products, but not from that initial like list building or audience growing initiative.

Nicole (12:46):
So Disney does this obviously where they have different campaigns for different audiences. They have the like more warm up stuff, clearly Yasmin and I are on the list of just sell them the sell email because they know that they don’t need to nurture us anymore. But for example, if you are a Disney vacation club member, and I’m not sure if you’re a member in Canada, if you get this, but if you’re a member in the United States, you get Disney files. And it’s a magazine that we get every month and it just has different articles and things that are going on new restaurants to try things that are getting reimagined. Um, some news on the vacation club, resort front, and always advertisements to buy into the next hotel that they have. But this is like a value generator, right? It’s keeping them top of mind, keeping them available for you.

Nicole (13:33):
The goal of Disney files is not to sell maybe indirectly to sell more vacation club points at the newest building. It’s mostly to be a value builder, remind people that they’re there and show them all the cool new things and why they should continue being a member and tell friends about it. If someone goes and buys another contract, that’s icing on the cake, this is a value nurture makes you feel like you got your money’s worth by joining this exclusive community. Those are the goals of that campaign. And if they started measuring how Disney files is doing, but in basis of did the person purchase a vacation club, addition to their membership, it’s not gonna look successful. I would bet it’s not gonna look as successful as you know, the fact that I’m even talking about this magazine I get every month. And sometimes they give us little, you know, artworks that we can pull out and put on our wall and just little things to keep the magic alive. These are like the pixie dust things. So

Yasmine (14:30):
Yeah. It’s connection. Right. And right. Yeah. What, what they also do, like you sort of talked about was by sharing different Disney experiences or things that are coming up, it gets you going back and Disney still profits off of that. Because even if you’re using your Disney vacation club, um, hotel room that you’ve already prepaid for, chances are you’re spending money at restaurants. You’re going into the parks, you’re getting merch. They have DBC exclusive merch that they advertise in that all the time. So, you know, like Nicole said, it might not directly result in conversions to adding onto your membership. There’s still some other benefits that they get from that. But most importantly, it’s that community and connection that they’re able to build.

Nicole (15:11):
Right? And I mean, they do like feature articles about things like the rhino or the elephant backstage experiences at animal kingdom. And you might not even know that exists, but now you do. And you might add that onto your stay. So there’s definitely experiences like this. And you know, how do we tie this back to our customer experience? Cuz we’re, we’ve been talking a lot about customer experience this season and just knowing what your goals are ahead of time working toward those goals, staying on the path, your customers will have a least chaotic experience. Mm-hmm because if you start switching back and forth between like, oh, I’m gonna give people free things. So that way they can come in and then I’m selling them something really hard. And then you go back to the free things and you’re going back and forth and back and forth.

Nicole (15:56):
And you don’t think about the relationship with them as a relationship that grows and gets deeper and more impactful. It’s gonna start feeling jarring to that person. And so always keep in mind what you’re doing and how that looks to someone who might be new to you and your biggest fans. So if you look at everything from those two lenses, before you do it, you might actually wanna start segmenting your email list, which is a more advanced marketing topic that we’ve talked about a little bit here and there. But when you, if you have a message that needs to go to two different people who follow you very similar, but you need to make some tweaks. That’s where you might wanna segment, okay. People who just joined me in the last four or five months, I don’t wanna talk to them that way. It’s really important to think about the goals and what you, what you want to achieve with anything you do, but especially with anything involving your customers and your audience, cuz you don’t want them throwing a temper tantrum. And that being their core memory of Disney

Yasmine (16:56):
No, you do not.

Nicole (16:58):
So thanks for joining us today. We got into a bunch of different topics here, but if there’s nothing else that you remember from it, set your goals, revisit your goals and stay on the path. Trust yourself, trust your past self to know what you needed back then. Uh, thanks for joining us today. If you don’t already follow us @pixiedustandprofits, go ahead and do that on Instagram and on TikTok though, we don’t publish there. As often as I know we want to we’ll see you next week

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Episode 69: How To Avoid Business Meltdowns

Oct 4, 2022

Managing your client’s expectations can be a day job in and of itself.  In this episode of Pixie Dust and Profits, we’re talking about how Disney does this so well and how we can do the same in our own businesses! 

Download Episode 69 transcript right here

Text us! 207-203-6769 

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