I recently came across an article by Dan S. Kennedy in Entrepreneur that highlighted some of the amazing similarities between Walt Disney and Hugh Heffner in how they went about building the brands for their iconic empires. On the surface, you probably wouldn’t think of including the two in the same sentence, but the reality is that many of their simple branding principles have a lot in common. They both created worlds, places and destinations of their own.
Some of the points of commonality include the use of:
- Aspirational benefits
- Celebrity endorsements
- Emotional benefits
- Experiential marketing
- Free publicity
- Iconic symbols and buildings
- Licensing of symbols and trademarks
- Personality-driven communications
- Providing a distinctive sense of place
As Kennedy points out, “They never spent or had to spend on dopey image advertising. Their brands were built by their own media products and businesses, by profitable advertising selling their products, by stealth advertising embedded in TV programming they were paid to produce and provide, and by an untold variety of merchandise proliferating in the marketplace, for which they were paid licensing fees.”
And they each gave that “Fantasyland” thing a whole new meaning!