written by: Ho Wai Wun, Vivian

Brands are said to be in decline in this fast changing world. Although brand name is still a signature that guarantee the quality of products, people nowadays are less loyal to a particular brand. Instead, they are eager to try something new. Brands will soon be eliminated for not jumping onto the bandwagon fast enough. As for Disney, being named as “The World’s Most Powerful Brand” in 2016 by a London-based leading brand valuation consultancy [1], strikes a remarkable success in recent years.

Some may say that Disney’s success is the result of the acquisitions and powerful brands that Disney brought under control, such as Pixar and Marvel. The newly released Star Wars Movie “The Force Awakens” even reached stellar heights for Disney business, Star Wars related products generated more than $700 million profit, stock price increased by 5%. Disney is enlarging its business turf.

In fact, Disney is good at selling its rich history and original creations. This can be proved by the two Oscar-winning Disney movies “Inside Out” and “Zootopia”. The Princess Series of Disney is another everlasting line. Who doesn’t know at least one Disney Princess? The first Disney Princess Snow White is released in 1937, and there are numerous adaptations since. All Disney princesses are the products of their time. They reflects stories of their generations which make them more appealing. From Snow White to Elsa, the image of princess changed from a vulnerable pretty girl to a strong independent queen. The latest princess Moana in 2016 got tanned skin and muscles, drive the adventure in the film, presented as the opposite image of Snow White. Moana is actually a response to criticisms that typical princess is too passive and weak. Disney is showing that they can evolve with the world and do listen to improve.

Disney princesses

The visual identity of the Princess has been around for a long time and still evolving to catch up with universal values. The target customer sector of Disney Princess series is always the girls, from children to teens, and even women. Princess series established a significant and differentiated presence in the market that retains customers like magic. Every girl has a princess dream of some sort and Disney is the one to actualize their dreams on and off the screen. Disney successfully turn the Princess into a mainstream global culture by extracting them from the movie world, and cultivated a princess empire. Disney is commercializing childhood [2]. The evolution of Princess spreads the message “you can be a princess without a prince”. Disney Princesses are also heroines. Girls aspired to be one of the heroines are willing to spend money to buy those related products. They love the idea of a brand that embraced friendship and love.

Disney establishes a licensing empire that sells whatever merchandise that can be produced, including dresses, make-up, shampoo etc. They specializes in selling affordable luxuries, they are expensive, but not that expensive. For example, products of the movie “Frozen” sold at Disney Stores cost less than US100. Disney is not selling their products based on the quality of the craftsmanship but based on the quality of their stories . Products sold at the Disney Store are regarded as the extension of storytelling, which creates emotional bonding with customers, and enables them to contemplate the film extended into the real world.

[1] http://brandfinance.com/news/press-releases/global-500-2016-star-wars-sends-disneys-brand-into-hyperdrive/
[2] http://www.markedbyteachers.com/university-degree/social-studies/the-commercialization-of-childhood-the-pinwheel-of-disney.html