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.
Hello and welcome to another episode of Pixie Dust & Profits. Today, we’re talking about Disney’s public image because one thing we know is they are very protective of how the mouse is portrayed. In fact, we talked about this on a previous episode with Christina Scalera of The Contract Shop® and christinascalera.com of how Disney has been one of the biggest influencers of copyright law in the United States. In fact, Steamboat Willie, the first like sort of, or the most iconic caricature of Mickey mouse in history, I’d say that’s the first time you think it was a third Disney movie, but it was like, it’s like the one that everyone thinks of everyone knows that everyone has scenes during the show. Exactly. Right. So Disney has extended the expiry of that until 2025 and think it should have been in the public domain like years ago, but Disney kept fighting and finding it. And I think it’s gotten to the point where like, lawmakers are like, okay, Disney, like that’s enough now. So 2020 probably. I
Don’t know enough a lot, but it’s like, it’s derivative content. Right? They are still making things with that. So it’s exactly,
Exactly right. So it’s not going
To be a live-action Steamboat Willie remix.
Oh my gosh. I’m going to pass them. But like, they’re so protective of their image that they’ve literally influenced copyright law to protect the image of Mickey mouse. So Nicole, you’re going to talk a little bit about how Disney is protective of their image and other ways based on your experience of the keys to the kingdom tour.
Yeah. So w it’s no surprise if you’ve seen any cast member language, anywhere that they have key pillars. In fact, they just introduced a new one. And so they have these keys as cast members and one of them is safety. In fact, the most important one is safety. And it’s the safety of the guests, the safety of cast members, the safety of the brand, all of this stuff. So when you’re in the parks, everything is designed with safety in mind, which is, I think why they’ve had the type of response they’ve had to COVID in general is just where they need to save, you know, keep people safe in their parks, but they also need to keep their brand safe. And so one of the most like tangible examples I could give of that as a guest that you probably don’t notice when you’re going on rides is just, you can see how there’s always a flow to entering and exiting and that no one should be trampling over each other.
There is very clearly marked exits everywhere, and there’s bathrooms like every few feet, you know, they, they try to make sure that things set for safety and just flow because they know they have big crowds. You know, this was more explicit on the backstage tour that I went on. And there was one point where we were in basically the, the area where they fix and do maintenance on all of the rides. And, you know, every horse of the carousel has a maintenance schedule. The trash cans have a maintenance schedule. We actually got to see parts of the Ratatouille ride. And this was like two years ago. So they were working on that awhile ago. And, you know, we were in this place that had a lot going on. And at one point we got to see an audio animatronic and it was one that they had retired, but you could like take a picture in front of it or something like that.
And we had to wear safety goggles throughout the whole place, and they take pictures on their own camera. They would not let us use our cell phones during this. And they take pictures in front of the animatronic and then they would send them to us after the event. But they would not, they told us we will not send you these pictures if you are not wearing your safety goggles. So they are holding onto the images of you because they don’t want something to get out. That makes it look like they are not doing safe, like OSHA safe practices in their, in their employment areas. And also they do this on rides. If you’re on splash mountain and you’re doing something unsafe or you’re holding up a sign or anything like that, pictures not getting released. So, you know, they they’re very much in control of their brand and the perception of their brand.
So, you know, if you take this in a small business format, you have to think about like, what are you doing to control the narrative of what your brand PR portrays and what are you doing to protect and keep your brand safe to keep your customers and clients safe. Yes. but, but importantly, your products, your sustainability, your, your scalability, are you thinking about your business and that way, and I know it’s kind of a big concept and if you’re a short term thinker or, you know, you’re not very future paced, it might be something that’s a little bit foreign to think about. What am I doing to protect my business? And yes, we’ve talked about Christina and the contract shop. You can go back and listen to that episode to learn more, but there are other ways to think about like risk and your business and being safer.
And it’s not like even just, you know what you’re saying online, right? Like when people think of like your brand’s image supplies, we think of like the actual, like brand aesthetic, like is everything cohesive. But then there’s other considerations where, you know, like I’m going to get political for a second, but over the past, like couple of years, like we’ve seen businesses get torn down because of like the opinions of others. So, you know, when you get to a certain point, like you have to think about what you’re putting out there, and it’s not necessarily a matter of like censoring your opinions. We’re not saying it’s just being conscious of like the implications. If you, you know, blast another business like that can come back and reflect on you, depending on, you know, the situation, how you phrase things, the words that you use.
So definitely think about that. But beyond that, like, let’s go back to the actual, like structure and organization of the business. Like the products that you put up, Nicole, you shared this quote with me. So I’m gonna give credit to Nicole for this, but it’s simply a matter of fact that like, when you are starting up and when you’re launching your business, you might make a lot of really quick changes and pivots. Right? we’ve all been there. I’ve been there, the business that I thought that people expected from me and the business that I have now are two completely, like, not completely different, but they’re different things because the service that I originally thought my ideal customer wanted, wasn’t what they needed. So I switched gears and then my business sort of took off and here I am today. But as you grow in your business and as you get bigger, those constant changes can be detrimental. Nicole, tell us a little bit more about that.
Yeah. So, I mean, if you think about your business and you’re thinking about when you’re in that startup beginner phase, you’re probably thinking I need more customers and more clients and get a product. I need to scale it. I need to get all of this stuff in place. But once you have the products in place, once you have the customers in place, you know, and you’re just focusing maybe on lead generation, because you’ve got a stable base, do you now need to shift your focus? Your, your number one needs to be safety. It needs maybe not number one, but it needs to be in the list of goals that you’re thinking about. It can’t all just be about revenue and, you know, growth of how many people are in your programs. It also needs to think about safety because that’s where you get sustainable. So, you know, you don’t want to be throwing spaghetti at the wall, launching new products all the time.
You know, sometimes it’s easier to steer the ship by moving slowly, right? So if you think about your business as like, okay, you’re just in a schooner all alone or a kayak or something, and you can control the flow. But then when you add a whole bunch of people on the ship, because you’re a cruise ship, now it takes so much more time to pivot a cruise ship than it does to pivot a kayak. So, you know, you need to slow down, you need to build what you have to be. Long-Lasting to be impactful and to be something that people want for, for sticking power. They want it longer. They want it. They want to be able to come back to it later. So you need to start thinking about saying no to things, you know, not taking on big risks because the cost will be higher because you might just service people already in your audience or something like that.
You need to protect the assets you’ve made and you need to, in order to scale or to grow, you need to stop trying to change those assets that you have. So, you know, Disney thinks about safety in a lot of ways. I think, you know, this is why, when things unfortunate things happen, like the little boy who passed away with the alligator accident at the Grand Floridian, this is why, you know, there were lawsuits and uppers and stuff, and, you know, Disney prioritizes safety. Yes. Because it’s a good thing to do. But also because they don’t, they don’t want to be associated with events like that happening. And they immediately implemented some measures to make sure it doesn’t happen again. And they don’t, you don’t want any customer to have some sort of event like that with you. And I’m not saying that we’re in positions, but you know, things like that can happen, but you never know what’s going to happen.
And so if you think about things in terms of like, is this safe? Is this a good choice? Is this putting myself at risk? Is this putting my next offer or promotion at risk? Let’s say you have, you know, a sale coming up and you decide to say yes to something a month before your sale. And now all of a sudden you’re asking people to buy something and then you’re asking them to buy something for your sale. You just cannibalize yourself. Like, is that a safe choice? Is that something that is risky for my business right now? What’s the opportunity cost. And so I think, and this episode, you know, I really just started thinking about how they wouldn’t even release a photo of me wearing my safety goggles. And someone might call that censorship, you know, but for them it’s a core value to who they are. And so just think about the things you put out there before you put them out there. Yes. And your messaging, but also think about, and how you design your products and how you plan to have some staying power for the future.
And the key takeaway there is sometimes it’s just easier to tweak an existing product that you have to address some of the pain points or to inject something new in it there, because let’s face it, entrepreneurs get bored. They do, we we’ve seen it time and time again, they get bored of like what they have and then they want to like burn the whole thing down and start a new, but that’s really, really risky. Take a look at what you have and see what you can tweak and modify. So, you know, you can steer the ship a couple degrees, not do a full, like 180 in the other direction, fashion to a reef.
Yeah. And it’s okay to feel bored with what you’re doing. Yeah. But find something else that’s fulfilling to do on the side. Right. You know, you don’t have to destroy the thing that’s working and bringing in revenue and customers and all of that to do something more fulfilling. You can, I, it’s really hard for entrepreneurs to understand this, but you can have a hobby, you know, like not everything needs to turn into a business. And I mean, I say that tongue in cheek, because you know, when we go out and do something, I’m like, man, I couldn’t get a better website. I could, I could build this business better. You know? So
It’s definitely, we took our love of Disney and turned into a business tickle. Right. You know? Right.
You know, our hobby is a podcast, right. So, you know, you can keep the business sustainable, you can get the product, moving, can do those tweaks and not pivot as much. And maybe you have side thing. That’s just like, you could set a budget to it. You’re like, this is my play money to do whatever I feel like is like risky. But it’s a, it’s a controlled risk when you do that, when you stop and look at your whole budget of time of resources of money. And then you’re like, oh, okay, like, I’ll set this aside for playing money. I mean, it’s like investing in the stock market. You know, some people have different risk tolerances and some will take $10,000 and go lose it all. And some will take $10,000 and put 8,000 in the bank and play with 2000. Some might put 10,000 in the bank, like that’s up to you, but you need to stop and take a moment to breathe and think about, okay, I’ve got this thing.
That’s moving really well. That ship is steering forward is going to get to port. We’re not worried about it. And then over here I can have, you know, my little play island that I’m going to do some fun things with and see how it goes. Maybe it’s an awesome experiment that you ended up scaling up and make a second business and you sell your first business, who knows. But I think it’s important to play and explore like, you know, being a kid again, right. It’s important to play an Explorer in your business, but it’s also really important to keep that safe foundation. If you want to be sustainable, if you just want a business for a year, go ahead and keep changing direction.
For sure. It’s like, just going back to your stock market analogy, you should never invest what you cannot afford to lose. Right? So if you can’t afford to like burn up all the income you have coming in from your current sustainable business for something new, then set a budget in smaller ways. All
Right. Well, we hope this episode got you thinking about risk and a new way. I know it’s something that people can often run away from, but stop, take a moment. Think about all the things in your business and, and you know where you’re going to get a return on investment, but include risk in that assessment while you’re doing it.
So thanks again for joining us. If you are not following us on Instagram, please do we share a lot of really fun Disney stuff and updates there. We’re @pixiedustandprofits. If you are stuck and not sure if you need to pivot or tweak, text us, we are your business fairy godmothers waiting, just sprinkle some magic on your business. You can reach us at 2 0 7 2 0 3 6 7 6 9. And yes, it really is us answering. We’re here to help you out. So thanks again. And we’ll see you real soon.