Disney’s Approach to Business Excellence

by Cheryl on April 5, 2011

In the opening keynote address to the Legal Marketing Association annual conference in Orlando, Florida,a representative of Disney share with us highlights from the Disney Institute to discussed the topic of excellence in business. While they didn’t focus on public relations, the underlying message should be a good starting point for a law firm’s communications strategy and policies.  That’s because Disney understands that the core of its excellence comes from listening to its guests and giving them what they want and need.  Simply, it’s all about customer service.

The company’s approach highlights four things: leadership, the excellence of its cast members, guest satisfaction and financial results.

Disney knows that the process in which it hires its cast members and how it creates a culture of guest satisfaction can impact the company’s financial results. It can help determine whether a guest will return or refer friends back to Disney products, shows and theme parks.

Potential cast members are scrutinized by they way they look and how they behavior.  Disney makes no apology about that scrutiny.  The company understands that the public perception of its cast members can impact the public reputation of all of its ventures.  So, how does Disney do this? Disney hires attitude not aptitude.  Now, just imagine if law firms hired based on someone’s client service excellence rather than what law school he or she attended, or what rank he or she had at graduation?

Newly hired cast members attend Disney’s global orientation program which teaches corporate culture and the company’s expectations.  Likewise, how an attorney or staff member interacts with the firm’s clients or potential clients and the media must be a part of your public relations programs.  With the use of social media, those interactions, whether positive or negative, can be channeled to many more people and audiences.   Over the years, we have seen many examples of how bad customer service has turned into a nighmare for public relations departments.   It’s even more dangerous today as a negative client experience can be broadcasted throughout the world through social media. And those messages can even be picked up by the news media.

Here are Disney’s Key Strategies for Internal Communications:
1)Solicit information from everyone
2) Show each individual how they contribute

3) Meet diverse communications needs

A good PR program starts from the inside.   Employees and clients talk.  They use social media.  A bad experience internally can greatly impact the public’s relationship with your firm.

Disney understands and capitalizes on the need for customers to return and refer business back.   Disney believes that your experience is what ultimately bring you back.  Equally, the question for law firms is this: What is your client’s experience with your firm?  Will your clients be your best messengers for positive PR?  Isn’t that the ultimate goal of all PR programs?

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Megan McKeon April 7, 2011 at 10:35 pm

I loved this presentation, too. Some of my favorite takeaways included:

“Indicate, not implicate” – open hand, not single finger pointing.
“Provide an experience” – going beyond what’s asked – creating a memory.
“Answer the unasked question” – figure out what’s underlying the actual question asked and answer that.

I wish the presentation was recorded and offered later, or that we could do a Q&A with the fabulous presenter.

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