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Disney Adapts to Cultural Differences

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I grew up watching Disney as a kid, and still even enjoy some of the shows that are aired today; I am not ashamed to admit it.. Ok maybe a little bit, but that is beside the point. Disney is the perfect idea for kids of all ages and backgrounds because every story that is told empowers the youth to enjoy their life, no matter the circumstances. I know that was true for me because when I would watch Disney channel on the television or watch a Disney animated film, I would forget about all of the problems in the world. Also when I was a kid, my parents took my sister and me on vacation to Disney World in Florida. I still remember walking around the magical kingdom like it was yesterday. There was something about that place that made it feel magical, everything was perfect.

I would have to go out on a limb and say that Disney did a hell of a job marketing to young children, and that Walt Disney is a pure genius. I think the reason that Disney has been so successful in the United States is because it has been around for so long. My parents grew up watching Disney movies and because of that they let me watch these movies as child because they were so familiar with it. There is rarely ever a time where you can mention a Disney character and have someone in the United States not know who it is or what movie it came from.

It is extremely important for Disney to build brand awareness in other countries like China, Russia, and India because if they do not build awareness, then some other company might take advantage of it. Disney had a “go-it-alone” policy, which means that they wanted to do everything by themselves without the help of any one else. They have abandoned this policy, which I think is a great idea because when they partner with foreign countries it helps the Disney brand become more aware to the citizens of that which ever country Disney partners with. If Disney becomes more aware in different countries, and not just the United States, then Disney increases its’ chances of recognition within those countries. This recognition will create a stronger willingness to not only visit Disney, but also purchase the animated and action packed movies we as Americans have loved for decades.

If you think about it, it seems pretty Ludacris to have a country with no background of Disney to automatically fall in love with a talking mouse, so brand awareness is critical so that people in foreign countries have a background in what the meaning of Disney really is. The main values of Disney in India is believe in yourself, expressing yourself, and celebrating family, and these can be conveyed to children in any culture or country. By building brand awareness in China, Disney can ultimately attract more people to the new 3.6 billion dollar park that was planned to be built in 2009. If citizens in china have no idea what Disney is, then why would they want to go to a theme park centered on the theme of Disney? Sure it might be fun for them to experience the rides and amusement centers, but without the knowledge of what Disney really stands for, it would not be as magical for the attendees.

I completely agree with Disney’s decision to pursue a localization approach in emerging markets. If Disney does not take in to consideration that every culture is not the same as the United States then the company will run into several difficulties. One example of Disney failing to research the cultural differences is Euro Disney. When the park was being constructed in Paris, Disney became concerned with the fact that the model of the original plans of the park, like Magic Kingdom in California, was too counterfeit for the home of real castles with real kings and queens. So as a result, enhancements for the park were ordered, and Disney went over the budget by 1.8 billion dollars. Also the weather in Paris in the winter, between November and March, is cold and rainy.

These weather conditions depressed the number of attendants far below what Disney actually expected. Another reason why Euro Disney was a marketing failure is because Europeans take school a lot more seriously than the United States does. With that being said it is pretty rare for a family to take their children out of school in Europe. As a result of this, Euro Disney’s sales are diminished during the ten-month period while school is in session. One more example of why sales may not be as great in Euro Disney is the no alcohol policy because most European families value alcohol.

However, Disney has not always done a poor job of localizing the park to fit the needs of citizens in different countries. According to the article, Disney went to great lengths to capitalize on the astrological coincidence that 2008 was the year of the rat. So Disney had Mickey and Minnie dress up in special red costumes to proclaim that 2008 was the year of the mouse. Also Disney has been partnering with local film companies, like Yash Raj Films in different countries to be able to have more of an impact on those citizens. These local managers have been given more autonomy to develop television programming. Disney has been channeling into values of different countries to try and become more localized. For example, Disney has been making shows in India that appeal to India’s family oriented middle-class consumers; core themes include “believe in yourself, express yourself, and celebrate your family.”

High School Musical is so successful in global markets because it is so family-oriented and appeals to middle class consumers. The country that this film was made in does not make it so popular. The reason that it is so popular is because it applies to families on any country or continent.

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