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Manufactured experiences for customers, Disney-style

Published on 12 Nov 2020

If Disney can create the perfect, manufactured experience for visitors to their theme parks (across so many varied touchpoints), it should be possible for organizations to do the same for customer communication. Disney manages to make every single visitor leave the park feeling like they can’t wait to return. Communicators should follow the same principles for each and every communication sent to customers.

What is a manufactured experience?  A manufactured experience is a complete, ground-up redesign of an experience that is perfectly tailored to meet the customer’s exact needs, at a particular point of engagement. Manufactured experiences take the customer on an enjoyable journey, while seamlessly incorporating the functional purpose of the communication. 

When applied to communication, a carefully orchestrated experience should be designed to achieve three key objectives:

    1. Add value on a personal level,
    2. Strengthen the customer relationship
    3. Driver mutually beneficial behavior

If both the customer and the organization receive value, the communication has fulfilled its purpose.

How Disney choreographs the perfect customer experience

Even the most cynical adults leave with a sense of magic and wonder after visiting a Disney theme park.

Why is this?  Because the entire experience, from the moment you go through the gates, to when you call it a day, has been manufactured to ensure that visitors never feel jarred, irritated or offended.

There are no sensory inputs left to chance. Every aspect of the experience has been manufactured from the ground up to ensure that visitors have a happy, magical and fun experience. This is how Disney theme parks achieve a 70% return rate for first-time visitors.

How do they do this?

The Disney theme park experience is built with a customer-first mindset from the outside in, not the inside out. The objective is to remove any sights, smells or sounds that could negatively impact a visitor’s experience.

You will never see anyone emptying bins because the bins were built to be emptied, discreetly, from underneath.  A further example: visitors don’t have to put up with louder music when near the speakers or battle to hear something when further away, because they invested heavily in creating consistent sound, no matter where you are in the park.

Nothing is left to chance. They understand their customers and maintain control by manufacturing the perfect experience at every touchpoint.

Manufactured experiences in customer communication

Organizations send communication to customers for many different reasons: to provide information, to cross-sell, to inspire, but all too often it’s because that’s what has always been done.

If that’s true for your organization, then it’s time to totally re-imagine how customers experience communication…

  • Think of each communication as an opportunity to manufacture the perfect experience for your customer.
  • Identify the functional purpose of the communication
  • Think of how you could achieve this purpose within a manufactured experience that the customer will love

A happy, engaged customer will reward you with years of loyalty and repeat business.

To achieve this, messages must be hyper-personalized to each individual’s circumstances. Using data such as activity, demographic or preference data, it’s possible to optimize the relevance of each message, so that the recipient feels like you are talking to them only. 

Also, remember that building relationships is about creating trust between the organization and the individual.  Every communication you send must be consistent and adhere to the brand guidelines. This is the very foundation of a trust relationship. Customers must know what to expect from you, and the company must meet that expectation.

If you’re prepared to make this shift from simply communicating for communication’s sake, to providing your customers with an experience that feels like it was created “just for them”, you’ll nudge them to behave in ways that meet your business goals. However, building strong and loyal customer relationships is a long term play and one that can be achieved by taking customers through the perfect experience each and every time you communicate with them. 

Brent Haumann

Brent Haumann

Managing Director, Africa

We’ll help you make the shift from simply communicating for communication’s sake, to providing your customers with an experience that feels like it was created “just for them”

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