If you’ve ever been to Disney World, you’ve probably walked by the infamous purple wall a thousand times, maybe not a thousand, but you know what we mean. This is just a simple purple wall that’s in Tomorrowland and Magic Kingdom that people have just grown to love.
It all started with an Instagrammer. One day they took a photo and used #purplewall and launched an entire phenomenon.
We’re going to be digging into how Disney tapped into this trend and created a whole product line around it and how you can capitalize on trends that your audience are asking for.
Tapping into the trends
Back in the 2000’s, Disney was really struggling with this problem where attendance was down; 9/11 had just happened. There was a recession and people weren’t coming back to Disney. They were noticing that they were struggling to remain relevant with the new millennial generation. Their parents grew up with very limited entertainment options going to Disney world was a big deal. And it was like a rite of passage for millennials’ parents. But for millennials, they grew up seeing Disney everywhere. They saw it on TV. There’s Disney channel, there’s Disney Jr. They saw it on Instagram and Facebook everywhere, but there was no reason for them to be coming there because the old way of looking at Disney was sweaty, hot people, riding rides and faded Mickey T-shirts. And you know, that’s not really a pretty picture. Disney really needed to figure out a way to tap into this tech oriented generation.
Exciting the tech oriented generation
They started watching how they were interacting with their brand and amplifying it. They saw people on Instagram taking pictures in front of a purple wall that probably got cleaned in the mornings and never thought about it again. And that was it. And they capitalized on it. They saw people starting to line up to take pictures of the fashion that they were wearing in front of that wall. So what do you think Disney did? They started to monetize it.
There are purple wall ears. There are backpacks, there are shirts. And even if you take out the fact that they created a brand new color, think about the fact that they knew people were taking pictures in front of that to highlight what they were wearing. So they started making clothes that looked like the clothes that Instagrammers wear. That way, they would wear those clothes in front of the purple wall. So they’re wearing Disney gear in front of a wall in Disney world in a Disney. They’re just perpetuating the Instagram story of you-need-to-come-to-Disney-world-because-it-is-a-blast-to-be-here. Look, we’re all smiling. We’re all happy. We’re wearing bright colors and you are missing out.
Creating an Instagramable experience
Disney has taken this trend even further. Think about the last time that you went to Disney or the last Disney family you followed on Instagram, right? It’s not just the purple ears and the cute clothes. Disney has made the entire park experience completely Instagramable. And by doing this, they’re attracting a bigger and bigger millennial audience. We know some of you hate that term, but the easiest way to categorize people between the ages of 25 to 35 for them, Disney has become a place to go, to have a fun experience, to hang out with their friends and to basically create FOMO. They’ve turned attending Disney World into some form of social currency amongst their peers. Right? Well, and it’s super fun. They get to come in and just have oversized treats like a giant chiro.
If you’ve ever got one of those, like almost as big as your head cupcakes at Disney…let’s be real. How many of you have actually finished it on your own? You either need a buddy to help you out, or you’re taking a couple bites and it’s just too much and you might be tossing iy away, but those limited edition treats are what brings people back more and more. They can create fun photos for Instagram AND obviously have a great time in the parks.
The magical audience
So let’s talk about this audience that Disney has attracted with all of these Instagrammable options like foodie delights and more. We tried to look into the shift in who was coming to Disney World; the families versus adults who are coming on their own. We found that majority of millennial parents and non-parents who are millennials are more likely visiting a theme park in the next year. So the fact that Disney is attracting these millennials not when they have young kids or even before that they have kids is ensuring that they don’t have to deal with that situation where attendance is on a decline for at least another 15 to 30 years, because they’ve basically created a new built-in audience of long time Disney fans who will keep coming back for that awesome experience.
And millennials are more likely to justify the cost of things like this. 62% of millennial parents and 65% of non-parent millennials think of the park as a good value for the money. And their parents are like, no, it’s really not. Only 50% of their parents even agree with that. Millennials generally value the experience and the story around everything going on. They are willing to invest in that and not in stock.
Everything is an attraction
Disney has turned the entire park experience to be more Instagrammable as a benefit for just customer flow throughout the parks. Think about it. If you think the idea of someone waiting in line to take a photo in front of a purple wall is ridiculous, then let’s flip that. The longer they’re waiting in the line taking photos of a purple wall, or their giant cupcake, or their Mickey Bar, is less time that they’re waiting in line with you increasing the wait time for Seven Dwarfs, Pirates of the Caribbean or Haunted Mansion. Disney has essentially created an attraction out of every element of the park and not just the actual rides themselves. They were even watching how people act in lines just to see how else they can improve the experience in this technology world.
They noticed people in line waiting for their favorite rides playing heads up. And so instead of letting people keep playing heads up, they created their own app, the Disney Park Experience app. And you can play that while in line and it’s like geo location. You have to actually be near the attraction in order to play that specific game. So one of those games was heads up and they were like, why give people another way out? Give them the full Disney experience… immerse them 100% in Disney. Let’s give them their own heads up game that has Toy Story characters.
How can you apply this to your biz?
It’s as easy as looking at the macro trends and the habits that you see from your audience. What are they digging right now? What are they watching? What are they listening to? How are they consuming? Content is the biggest takeaway. So Disney noticed that people were sharing their experience with an audience and essentially advertising for them by creating that FOMO. But how can you translate this to your business?
Shift with your audience
Well, if you’re noticing that your audience is shifting towards listening to more audio books, for example, maybe that tells you that the way that they like to consume content is an audio form. So next time that you’re putting out a course or any type of program, make sure that you add an audio only version for them because you know that they have the habit of listening to a book when they are driving or on the treadmill, or just cleaning around the house, make it as easy for them to consume your content. So we can actually ensure that they complete your next program and achieve the benefits that you’ve set out for them.
Notice what your followers like
Watch your audience, see what they’re doing, actually take intentional time to stop. Don’t think about your products. Don’t think about your own business. Just look at the people who are looking at you. You can go over to your Instagram profile, you can click on who’s following you and you can scroll down that list and click five to 10 people every few weeks and just see… hey, what are they sharing? What are they talking about? Do they like to share things that have quote graphics? Do they like to talk about churros? If you’re a really big brand and they’re using your products, reconnect with them. You don’t necessarily have to go send them a direct message or anything like that, but just see what they’re doing. And if someone’s doing something that really interests you, then go ahead, reach out, send a direct message. What are you really into lately? You know what people love to talk about the things that they love. So it’s a win-win.
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