🔔 We’re welcoming Conor Brown for an enchanting session on “Disney’s Magic in Marketing”
From his days as a Walt Disney World Cast Member to the creation of the WDW Opinion, Conor’s journey is a spellbinding tale of merging storytelling with marketing. We’ll delve into his Disney experiences, the evolution of WDW Opinion, and his strategies for infusing Disney’s magic into digital marketing.
Don’t miss Conor’s expert tips for crafting captivating brand narratives! 🚀
This transcript is automatically generated by Descript. Any errors or omissions are unintentional.
[00:00:00] Jeff Sieh: Hello, folks. Welcome to Social Media News Live. I’m Jeff Sieh, and you’re not. And this is the show that keeps you up to date on what’s happening in the world of social media and so much more. We’ve all been mesmerized at some point by Disney’s storytelling magic. So have you ever wondered how these tales can be woven into successful marketing strategies?
[00:00:21] Or maybe you’d enchantment of Disney can elevate your brand’s narrative. If these thoughts have crossed your mind, you’re in for an enchanting ride today. I’m excited to talk with the co host, usually, of this show, Connor Brown, who has seamlessly blended the world of Disney with the realm of digital marketing.
[00:00:41] He’s transformed his experiences at Walt Disney World into the renowned WDW Opinion website and blog. Connor’s going to be unraveling his adventure, his revelations, and his golden guidelines for crafting compelling story. For Brands. So sit back, clear schedule, clear mind, and get ready for this week’s episode of Social Media News Live.
[00:01:01] Connor, how you doing today, my friend?
[00:01:03] Conor Brown: I’m good. And nice job hitting that second line about what keeps you up to date. That’s usually my job. And now, you know, it’s not so easy.
[00:01:12] Jeff Sieh: I know, now you just have to sit there and look pretty, which you do every week, but, uh, we’re gonna… We’re gonna be talking with Connor today because, you know, he… I usually talk over him, I’m like, I ask, you know, a lot of times he doesn’t get, like, the spotlight, but today we are shining the light.
[00:01:26] on all things Conor Brown. So let me introduce you guys to him. Conor Brown is a digital marketing expert, a podcaster, blogger, and former Walt Disney World cast member. With nearly a decade of marketing experience, he is passionate about helping businesses craft their perfect marketing strategy. Conor utilizes his marketing expertise to help him run the WDW opinion blog and podcast.
[00:01:49] That coupled with his experience as a travel agent. Allows him to assist families with planning their next perfect vacation. Connor has helped us out with this trip as well. So, Connor, thank you for being in the guest seat today. This is going to be a lot of fun.
[00:02:05] Conor Brown: I know. I’m so excited. You know, out of the Ed McMahon seat, out of the Andy Richter seat.
[00:02:09] Jeff Sieh: that’s right. You are the star of the show. So, something else that is the star of the show is our friends over at Ecamm, that’s what’s letting this happen. Even though we are not live, we’re able to record this over on Ecamm. You can find out more about that at socialmedianewslive. com forward slash Ecamm.
[00:02:25] Version 4. 1 just came out. There’s a ton of new things that I haven’t even had a chance to dive into yet. All this cool stuff with overlays and some new transitions. So, if you haven’t jumped into it yet, you guys need to do it. Give it a try. You can find out more about socialmedianewslive. com forward slash ecamm.
[00:02:41] I’m also doing a meetup with their creator camp that’s going to be, uh, the, I think it’s the second week of October in the 11th. It’s, we’re going to be meeting up there with Ian Anderson Gray. If you’d like to join us, it’s going to be a free thing. All you’re going to need to bring is like some money for drinks maybe, and you can find out more about that at jeffsieh.
[00:02:58] com forward slash meetup. That’s jeffsieh. com. So, forward slash meetup, come hang out with me and Ian Anderson Gray. Alrighty, so this is really interesting, uh, Connor, because I have not, until I started hanging out with all you Disney peeps, I really did not know much about… This Disney college program. A lot of our friends are, their kids are getting old enough now that they’re, you know, Paul, who is also a cohost and once in a while on the show, his daughter just got, you know, accepted into this.
[00:03:29] Uh, Amy Keyes daughter, I think is doing it as well. Uh, somebody who we’ve met at Momentum. So tell me about this Disney college program, what it is. You went through it back in the day. Um, what’s it about and how does it work and, you know, kind of your experience with it?
[00:03:46] Conor Brown: Yeah, absolutely. Um, so this was a thing I always wanted to do, the Disney College program. Um. In fact, before I knew where I was going to go to school or what I was going to study, I knew I was going to do this, and I wanted to do this. And the reason being is because my mom actually did this back in the day.
[00:04:06] Speaking of back in the days, um, Basically, what it is, is it’s like a work study program, um, so it’s open to, to, uh, people who are actively in college. You can apply to it and you can work in Walt Disney World. Um, they used to have a Disneyland version. I can’t recall if it’s back yet since, uh, uh, after COVID, uh, but the main one is here in Orlando at Walt Disney World.
[00:04:33] Um, there’s three main components to it. Uh, the living, the learning, and the earning aspect. So living, they have dorms that you can stay in, um, now they are brand new, like less than a year old, maybe, maybe a year old, and they’re super, super nice. The dorms that I stayed in are not the nicest. They were, they were getting towards the end of their, their life cycle.
[00:04:59] Funny enough, they’ve actually been converted back into regular apartment buildings for people to live in. And the other day in the mail, I got a letter like, hey, move into Chatham Square. And I’m like, what? The place I lived in, in a dorm? Like no way. Um, so there’s some poor people out there who are, are, are living in them again.
[00:05:18] So that’s the living aspect of it. You live with roommates.
[00:05:22] Jeff Sieh: Okay.
[00:05:23] Conor Brown: One of the really cool aspects of this is people participate it not just from all over the country, but from all over the world. Um, I worked with people from Japan, France, Brazil, Spain, um, Puerto Rico, um, all over the place. Um, and also very different. So, it opened up your eyes to, to so many unique individuals as well. That’s a living part of it. The learning part of it is you can, you know, do this for college credit if you’re a college alum. Additionally, if you want to take classes, they offer some classes. Um, it’ll be like you meet once a week, twice a week, not much more than that.
[00:06:09] And you can’t really take a full course load as you’re doing it. So, this is basically like. You know, you go away like you do for
[00:06:17] Jeff Sieh: a gap year kind of thing.
[00:06:18] Conor Brown: study abroad. Yes, stuff like that. Um, I did it right out of college. So I applied while I was in and then I participated on it right after graduation, which was great because I did treat it kind of like a gap year.
[00:06:29] And then of course, there is the earning component, which is when you’re working in the parks. I worked, uh, Two college programs back to back. My first one, I worked front desk, so checking people in, checking people out, at Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club Resorts, which was awesome. Um, and then my second, uh, program, I worked on Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, which is a roller coaster in the Magic Kingdom.
[00:06:56] Um, Both of those were really, really cool because the first one was kind of quieter, less busy, and then I went to Seven Doors Mind Train, which at the time was the busiest attraction in the busiest theme park in the, in the world. Uh, so that’s all to say I learned a lot about communication, about, uh, time management, about, uh, uh, problem solving, communicating with others from all over the world.
[00:07:21] Um, I loved it and, and to be a part of the magic, uh, as I like to say, uh, it was, it was a dream come true. So I highly, highly, highly encourage anyone who has any interest in it to apply and, and see if you get in.
[00:07:34] Jeff Sieh: Is it hard to get in? Because it’s, I mean, is it like, is it a rigorous, like, application process and like they make you go through three rounds of interviews? I mean, how hard is it to get into it? And how long does it, like, just one, you said you did them back to back, like, how long does one last?
[00:07:50] Conor Brown: So some components since I’ve done it have, have changed up. When I applied, there was, um, the application process. And then right after the application process, uh, Which is, you know, just putting in your personal information, your grades, etc. Um, you would get like this online, um, I don’t know, like an assessment almost that you would take.
[00:08:14] So you would sit down, take it. It lasted like an hour from what I remember. Um, and then almost immediately after you click submit. It’ll say like, Oh, we’d like to schedule a phone interview with you. Or, you know, you might wait a little bit and you get that email or it doesn’t come at all. And then you’re, you’re out.
[00:08:30] And then there’s the phone, uh, interview, uh, which lasts about 45 minutes with a recruiter. Um, one tip I always like to tell people, if you get to that stage, even though it’s just on the phone, put yourself in front of a mirror. So that you actively see yourself smiling, because when you’re on the phone with someone, they can tell if you’re smiling or not, if you’re excited about that opportunity.
[00:08:51] That kind of goes for any phone interview that you might want to do. Um, and then from there, it’s, did you get in or did you not get in? The one component of it that is, is kind of a mystery is you will get an offer and the offer will say what your role is going to be. So you kind of like rank your roles.
[00:09:12] So I ranked, you know, I want to do concierge, I want to do front desk, I want to do photo pass, like taking photos in the parks. I got an offer for front desk. Now, you won’t know exactly where you’re working until the day of when you check in and show up. So there’s still a little bit of mystery to that.
[00:09:31] Jeff Sieh: So is this different from being. So, because I’m thinking, because I’m thinking about advancement stuff, like a lot of people are like, I want to be an animator, I want to be an imagineer, that kind of stuff, and you know there are stories like John Lasseter, who was one of the big guys in, who helped with Toy Story and Pixar, he was on, he was actually the skipper on, you know, the Jungle Cruise.
[00:09:59] Yeah, so, Is that the college program? Was he, was being a skipper, is that part of the college program or is that something separate?
[00:10:06] Conor Brown: So you can do that. That could be a role. I don’t think he was on the college program. When that happened, there’s a whole host of stories about people going to college in the LA area and then also working at Disneyland and, you know, working up from there. But this is a great way to get your foot in the door.
[00:10:25] My grand plan was going to be do the college program, parlay that into a professional internship. The professional internship is more in the corporate area. So you’re behind the house, you’re doing marketing, you’re doing communications, whatever it might be. They also have management internships, which is when you’re in the park, but you’re, you’re a manager essentially.
[00:10:46] Um, and then from that, I was going to, uh, get that professional internship and parlay that into a full time job and work at Disney for the rest of my life. And I got a third of the way there. I got into the college program. And then from there, I, I did. But, I know a lot of people that I did do the college program with, they went back to school, then the next summer they got a professional internship, and now they work for Disney Corporate.
[00:11:11] So it’s a great way to kickstart your career.
[00:11:13] Jeff Sieh: So where, did you grow up in the, I forgot to ask this, did you grow up in Orlando? Is this where you’re from originally or, or
[00:11:19] Conor Brown: I’m from just outside DC, in Bethesda, Maryland. Um, Like I said, my mom did the college program. Um, she always hates when I say this, but she did it back in the day when it was called the Magic Kingdom College Program, because Epcot was very, very new. So the Walt Disney World College Program didn’t necessarily exist.
[00:11:41] Um, she did it just one summer. She came down for the summer. She worked on the Wedway People Mover, um, and Stargates, now the Astro Orbiter, um, in Magic Kingdom. See they they had them like in a like a trailer park almost like like living there. She said it was great It was a it was a fun time. They called it snow white village But she, she was instilled with, with a love of Disney.
[00:12:05] So I grew up growing time and time again, you know, we would do every other year. And then we ended up doing every year and right around, I’d say middle school, we are on the people mover. And she said to me. You know, I used to work on this ride and I did like a double take at her. Like, I’m sorry, you’re my mom.
[00:12:22] You’re not cool enough to work in the Disney world. And that’s when I found out that this was a thing that she did. I immediately, you know, after that trip went home, saw that it was still a thing. It is a huge thing. It is competitive to get into, but there’s a lot of opportunities to do it. Um, and like I said, you can, you can apply from all over and, and make your way here if you get in.
[00:12:45] Jeff Sieh: Well, I wonder what they’d say about a 51 year old
[00:12:48] Conor Brown: So Jeff, I, I’m serious with this. Every year, there is always in the Facebook group a story about, Hey, I got paired with like a 45 year old. Because, legitimately, the requirement is you have to be in school. So there’s plenty of people who are following their dreams no matter what age they are. And they do this.
[00:13:09] They want the full immersion. They want to stay in the dorms. They want to be with the kids. I remember reading one story that was like, listen, our, you know, 45 year old lady that we stayed with, uh, was great. She was like the mom. She cooked for us, she helped us clean. It was awesome. Um, and then there’s also the Disney World Culinary Program.
[00:13:29] Jeff Sieh: Hmm.
[00:13:30] Conor Brown: You can work in the kitchens and do those sorts of stuff. Um, and again, you just have to be in culinary school for that.
[00:13:36] Jeff Sieh: That is really, see, I had no idea. So that’s really cool. So I want to, because we, we talk a lot about on this show, um, you know, social media and some marketing stuff and storytelling. And so I wanted to talk to you about, you know, because you are a marketer and you do Disney and you actually do travel agent stuff, all that kind of stuff.
[00:13:52] So. So, how did the college program, like, really help you get introduced to the power of storytelling, and maybe how, like, solopreneurs and small business owners can learn some of these tricks and, you know, tradecraft from Disney to put this in their own branding.
[00:14:08] Conor Brown: What’s so interesting about Disney is that they don’t sell a ride on a roller coaster. They don’t sell sitting down to watch a movie. They don’t sell a stay in a vacation. They sell the memories, right? And when you go through their training and you learn more about that and you learn how that’s on display and what our process and part of the world that we’re in, what we’re offering to people, you start to realize, oh, you could build a story around kind of anything and that’s what you’re selling.
[00:14:39] Whatever, you know, item, service, product, you’re really selling the story of how that’s going to help your life. Solve your problems, um, um, get you to the next level, educate you. It’s all about the feeling that it’s going to elicit when you experience that thing. And from Disney, they start at the very, very core of it with storytelling, because back in the day, they started as a film company, right?
[00:15:07] Mouse Cartoons, Walt started with that. And then he moved into, you know, feature length films and then live action films. And then the natural progression was, well, can we take everything we’ve learned in the storytelling And put it into the real world and have a story every single day for thousands of people and that’s how it evolved into the theme park, uh, and the parks around the world, the parks and resorts around the world.
[00:15:34] And it goes all the way down to the, the. Word choice and the nomenclature that they use, you know, there’s a reason why when you work at Walt Disney World, you’re called a cast member, and you’re not an employee, because you’re part of the cast, the cast that’s putting on this story every single day.
[00:15:51] There’s a reason why when you go and take your break in the break room, you’re going backstage. You’re not going, you know, there’s a mirror.
[00:16:00] Jeff Sieh: Right.
[00:16:04] Conor Brown: Right before you go on stage to make sure you’re in the Disney look because once you step foot on to on the stage The world is your show and you’re part of the show and you’re all part of telling those stories I think there’s so much to learn from how Disney tells stories But all you really have to do is step foot in the park and kind of let the world around you happen and notice but Disney does a really good job of Disguising when stories are happening so that you don’t even know they’re occurring around you and they make it very fluid and, and natural in a way.
[00:16:42] Jeff Sieh: hmm. So, one of the things that I remember, and you can probably maybe talk a little bit about the behind the scenes stuff. One, because I got so jealous when you told me that one time you got to go tour. Uh, the, the Haunted Mansion ride, like, go back in there and, like, look and see how everything’s made with the lights on.
[00:16:56] It’s, uh, that’s, that’s really cool. But, one of the things that I remember reading in one of the many books on, on Walt, is that one time at Disneyland, he was, like, walking, and he saw, like, uh, a Frontier, a guy who worked at Frontierland, walking through, like, future, the, the Tomorrowland, and he was like, what, that looks so out of place.
[00:17:15] And that’s why it, at Epcot, and in Walt Disney World, Magic Kingdom, all that, they have those Utility Doors where, There’s a whole, like, hidden highway that the guests don’t see, but every, everything, so everything is seamless. It’s part of the story because nobody’s breaking character, I guess.
[00:17:31] Conor Brown: exactly. Yeah, Walt was sat on a bench and where the employee parking lot was at Disneyland was right behind Tomorrowland. So Tomorrowland was, uh, it used to be like what the future is going to be. Now it’s the future that never was and always will be. This retro, futuristic kind of vibe. So spaceships, you know, the astronauts with the big, you know, fishbowls on their head.
[00:17:53] Um, yeah, and he was sitting there one day and he saw, uh, uh, A cast member decked out in his Western gear heading to Frontierland, um, walking through Tomorrowland and there wasn’t anything that that cast member could do about it. He was just getting from where his car was parked to where his job was that day.
[00:18:11] Um, but Walt saw that and this was the creative genius of him. He knew that that broke everything. It ruined the story in an instant. And he said that in his next iteration of this, this was never going to happen. So, flash forward, you know, 20 years, and Magic Kingdom is finally built in 1971 here in Florida.
[00:18:31] Um, when you step foot onto Main Street, you’re actually 10 feet above, quote unquote, sea level. Below you is all the Utilidors, and Utilidors stands for Utility Corridors. So below you are thousands of cast members going every which way to get to their job so that when they come up and there’s a network of stairs, they’re in the right attire, in the right land, so it doesn’t break.
[00:18:59] The storytelling. Now what can we as entrepreneurs learn about that is that the behind the scenes for us is just as crucial as what we put out in front of everyone to see. We want it to work flawlessly so that it helps with our storytelling and that it doesn’t break from the narrative we’re trying to tell.
[00:19:19] Um, One perfect thing is maybe you have a form or maybe you have a process that’s, that’s broken, that’s not feeding the right information. Well, all of a sudden you could tell the greatest story in the world, but if your info isn’t getting delivered to the right person, it’s null, it’s null and void. So setting everything up behind stage is just as important as what you put out for the world utilidors are kind of that, that perfect example of that.
[00:19:46] Jeff Sieh: Yeah, I just love that story. And it’s cool that you gotta walk through them, too. I mean, that’s kinda…
[00:19:50] Conor Brown: Well, let me just say they were a nightmare. They’re idiots. Uh, yeah, so I, um, uh, when you started, they would give you a map and the map is just like Frontierland, Liberty Square, like, use, uh, stairs 17B and you get all turned around. There’s no windows, obviously, so it’s a time, I mean, it could be, you know, 11 o’clock at night or whatever.
[00:20:13] I didn’t go through them so much because there was a back way to get to where, um, 7 Dwarfs Mine Train was, but every single time I was down there, it was, I pinched myself because it was so cool. There, there were people coming and going, there was golf carts going all through ever. Um, it’s, it’s a whole city underneath your feet.
[00:20:34] There’s a break room. There’s a subway down there, like subway sandwiches. There’s a barber, cosmetologist, all sorts of stuff down there.
[00:20:41] Jeff Sieh: That is, that is amazing. So, I didn’t ask you this earlier, what did you enjoy the most? Did you like doing the, the, when you were up front, you know, with guest relations or running the actual ride?
[00:20:53] Conor Brown: So when I worked front desk at the hotels, I, I liked that one more. reason being is, when I worked at Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, yes, it was the most popular attraction. Yes, thousands of people, literally a thousand people every hour we would try to accommodate to get on this ride came through those, those, those gates to ride our ride.
[00:21:17] And that’s great. But our main thing with that was safety, courtesy, show, and efficiency. Those were the four keys that Disney tells all their cast members to focus on safety. Everybody’s got to be safe. Um, courtesy, be courteous to everyone, efficiency, and then show that showmanship is the last part. So efficiency is a big thing.
[00:21:37] We want to get as many people on this as possible so that they can enjoy this and so many people can enjoy it throughout the day. Because of that, I didn’t have a lot of one on one interaction with guests. It was pull up on your lap bar, pull up on your lap bar, pull up on your lap bar, send the train, 20 more people get on, right? When I worked front desk, not only did I get to spend more time with them, the check in process lasted, you know, 10 to 15 minutes depending upon what people were checking in, things like that, but each and every day I got to see them come back. I got to see them come back from the parks that day. I got to interact with them.
[00:22:15] I got to share advice with them. I got to hear their stories about who they saw, about what characters they met, about what rides they went on, what shows they, they participated in. So I love that because I felt more a part of the story and their story on that Disney vacation that they were taking.
[00:22:33] Jeff Sieh: Hmm. So, on your mind train, what are some, like, insider things? Like, what happens when somebody got sick? Was it a code green or something like that that you’d
[00:22:42] Conor Brown: Code V, code V. We got a code V. Code v V stands for vomit. Um, yeah, so anytime you would, you would, uh, Here on the radio, Code V,
[00:22:52] Jeff Sieh: You’re like, uh,
[00:22:54] Conor Brown: Rutro,
[00:22:54] Jeff Sieh: again. Yeah. So, um, I want to talk a little bit, you know, you talked about the Utilidors and some of the stuff, but what, what is your experience with Disney? How has that influenced the way you create content? Like, especially, like, Instagram or TikTok, which I know you do a bunch of stuff on.
[00:23:09] Were there storytelling lessons you learned from, like, interacting with people or watching other cast members, how they, you know, perform out in front of people? What are some takeaways that you kind of got from your college program that helped you create content?
[00:23:23] Conor Brown: yeah, two big things, I think, one, and I kind of already touched on a little bit, the, the power of the smile, right? When you smile, it elicits this emotion, emotional space with someone and, and kind of can put them in the right mood that you’re trying to express as well. And the second thing, which, this is a creative thing, and it takes a lot of time to really, Hone in and perfect this, but it’s clear communication.
[00:23:51] That is without a doubt, the most important storytelling aspect. Period. Think of a movie that you’ve watched that you were so confused by. It could have the greatest actors, it could have the greatest cinematographers, an awesome score, incredible special effects, but if the storyline is like, huh, what’s going on?
[00:24:12] You’re going to turn it off immediately. Clear. Effective and concise communication is super, super important. So you’d think I’d say, Oh, I learned about, you know, the magic and, and creating this, that, and the other, and the power of, of storytelling. And I did learn a lot of that, but what I really learned.
[00:24:33] And we’re going to communicate effectively. Let’s think about North Mind Train in particular. Like I said, a thousand people coming onto that ride every hour. A little bit more. We’d always like to get more. People from all over the world. There might be a language barrier. Right? You only… For a few seconds, but you got to make sure that they understand everything they’re going through, the ride that they’re getting on, the safety procedures, uh, uh, into place, and you’re never breaking your character, your quote unquote character.
[00:25:04] They always feel immersed like they’re in the world of Snow White and the Seven Doors. To be able to do. A few seconds when you dispatch a ride every 30 seconds, it’s really, really, really crucial. Um, and Disney world is a very big place. If you’re not very effective, if you’re not very precise with your communication, people could get turned around, they could get confused.
[00:25:26] And then all of a sudden this trip that’s very expensive that they’ve been planning for years and years and years, uh, something could go wrong with it. So being really, really clear and concise, um, was honestly the, the most important thing I learned when I, when I worked on the college program.
[00:25:41] Jeff Sieh: So one of, so, I went when I was really little, and then I started going back, you know, later. We didn’t go a lot. A couple, we went to both Disneyland and Disney World. And then, we went there for my honeymoon, and, and, but, the thing that I always was so, even as a little kid, was able to talk, and, to my parents about, Um, is the attention to detail.
[00:26:00] Like, I mean, I, I still remember, like, going through the Haunted Mansion for the first time and looking how even the wrought iron was painted in a specific color in a specific way and it wasn’t like they slapped up something like your normal amusement park or Six Flags. Like, it was like every little detail there was something going on.
[00:26:19] And so, other than, you know, and the other thing is like the cues being like, you’re waiting in line and half the fun now. It’s like if you do a fast pass or something, you don’t get to see the story of the queue, like, especially like, you know, the Cosmic Rewind, Guardians of the Galaxy, like, if you get, like, a fast pass or whatever for that, you miss so much of it.
[00:26:41] Same with Peter Pan when they redid that. There’s so much cool stuff that is going on in there. So, what’s another, like, storytelling strategy that you learned at Disney that, you know, that you think every small business owner should know? You talked about, you know, really succinct communications. Is there something else that comes to mind?
[00:26:59] Conor Brown: It might sound simple, but it’s the importance of the beginning, middle, and end.
[00:27:04] Jeff Sieh: Oh, yeah.
[00:27:04] Conor Brown: When, when Walt came up with this idea, he created essentially the first theme park. Now amusement parks and carnivals and sideshows had been around for hundreds and hundreds of years, right? And he went to some of them to inspire him, uh, to inspire Disneyland that he built.
[00:27:23] But this was a theme, meaning there was a theme to it, and you had to stay in theme with it. When you go through the front gates, all of a sudden, as you pass by, you see these attractions, attraction posters. What did those symbolize? Well, those symbolized what you’re going to experience on your day. So you’d see one for Pirates of the Caribbean, for It’s a Small World, for Haunted Mansion.
[00:27:48] Those were like, when you went to the movie theater, the Coming Soon attractions, right? So it’s setting the tone. And then, you smell the popcorn. Oh, the story is starting to develop, just like you’re going into a movie. And then, you’re on Main Street USA. You hear, uh, uh, the music of that period. You smell the smells from the confectionary.
[00:28:13] And you see all these people in this garb, uh, uh, that is traditional from the, the, kind of the turn of the century in the 1900s in America. So that’s setting the stage for everything. Then you get to the hub and from the hub, which is right in front of the castle, you get to decide where your day’s going to go.
[00:28:34] You can go into Tomorrowland, you can go to Fantasyland, you can go to, uh, Frontierland, but the world is your choice to make from that. The middle. And then the end, when you get to your destination and you’re on your attraction and you’re going through all of it. That’s a bigger picture thing, of course, but to your point, Jeff, when you’re in, in, in line for a ride, that’s the beginning.
[00:28:57] That’s setting the stage, so that when you get on the attraction, you already have this backstory of what you’re getting yourself into. And that’s what also sets, separates them from an amusement park. Six Flags, you get into this like, cow corral, like you’re cattle herding. There’s sun everywhere and there, you know, it’s a thousand degrees and then you get on this roller coaster that does six flips and at the end of it you’re like, why did that happen?
[00:29:23] What was going on? Right? With Disney, there’s always going to be a beginning. The middle is going to be the story. And then when you get off the ride and it comes to this conclusion, now you have those memories. Now you get to talk with your family. Wasn’t that awesome? That was so cool. Did you see this detail?
[00:29:40] Did you see that detail? And it all comes together. So really understanding what is your beginning, what is the middle, and what is the end of the story that you’re trying to tell is crucial when it comes to effective marketing.
[00:29:54] Jeff Sieh: yeah, I think one of the things that, you know, we, we tend to get really, like, drilled down, like, oh, I’ve got to write the perfect copy, I got to get the copyright, and then we, but we forget about some of the other senses, and it was great, we had Phil Mershon on a couple weeks ago, And he was talking about creating a great event and how he would actually brew coffee and have fans blowing out and at Social Media Marketing World, he’d have like a tropical scent when the people would check in.
[00:30:19] And so I think it’s been, it’s really interesting and I think companies that are really aware of this and thinking of ways to enhance other senses. Now, I know a lot of us like, we’re social media marketers, how are we supposed to like, send a smelly email? How’s that gonna work? You know, but I’m talking about like, Somehow to invoke a sense of nostalgia, which is Disney’s big thing, like, that’s what they’re going for, and now there’s a lot more older adults that are coming into the park, and they’re starting to change some things to cater to them a little bit more, so, um, I think being aware of, we’re not just doing one thing, we’re not just going to write a good copy and then we’re done.
[00:30:59] The more ways we can engage the reader or the guest, is like you would say, We’re going to be better off, and it’s going to enhance our marketing.
[00:31:07] Conor Brown: Think of the end, right? Think of the end result that your client, your customer, your guest, what you want them to experience, right? What’s going to be in their head? What’s that emotion that they’re going to feel? And work backwards and try to tell a story that’s going to get them to that point. We often think, again, that once they’ve purchased a product or they’ve purchased our service that it’s over.
[00:31:35] But no, the way to get the next customer or to get them to be a return customer is to have them feel an emotion or feel an effect that makes them feel secure and happy with what they did. Um. And that’s what Disney does best. Yeah, they set up all this awesome stuff for you to do. And you come in and you have a great time.
[00:31:56] But all of a sudden when you leave, you have all these memories. And you have all these memories that are so cool and you had such a great time, that the next thing, that as soon as you get on that plane and you go back home, you’re thinking, When can I come back? When’s the next time I can come back and plan another trip?
[00:32:13] So in a way, the most effective marketing that you can do is be so good that they want to come back and you don’t have to convince them. Convince them for the one time and then they’ll be a lifelong fan if you can do that.
[00:32:26] Jeff Sieh: I want to just kind of hit on, when you’re talking about this, and talking about the beginning and end, and also the consistency of the theming that goes across. But even like, um, you both, both you and I enjoy the Disney cruise ships,
[00:32:40] Conor Brown: Oh yeah.
[00:32:42] Jeff Sieh: The way that they continue that theming across their ships, every ship is different, but there’s also the consistency through it, from the artwork that when you’re going up and down the stairs you see, and I swear it was changing and it didn’t, it wasn’t, I just got lost, but um.
[00:32:57] It’s amazing, the artwork, the, you know, our first ship that we went on was the Magic, which I still, I love the style of it because it’s that Art Deco style, but it also has the fantasy elements of what Disney has, you know, through their stories, and so, as marketers, that we continue the consistency, um, it’s really easy, like, okay, here’s my emails, here’s my, you know, social media presence, here’s all this stuff.
[00:33:22] But finding a way, as simple as it can be, to tie that together, I think is super, super important.
[00:33:29] Conor Brown: Oh, absolutely. And you know what? Some of those images do change on the
[00:33:32] Jeff Sieh: Yeah, I know there’s some digital ones, but I was like, I just got lost that one time.
[00:33:36] Conor Brown: um, I’ve, hey, I’ve been there. I’ve been on plenty and I, I still get lost. Um, One thing that I heard which is super interesting is that each ship is different on the Disney Cruise Line. But if you took out all of the quote unquote Disney touches, so, so meaning you took out away all the, the Mickey references or the Minnie references, the references to the characters that they own within the ship and you put someone in the lobby, in the atrium, Even if they’ve never been on a Disney ship, they should be able to say, This is a Disney Cruise Line ship.
[00:34:14] And that’s what a brand is, right? That is exactly what a brand is. Um, a logo is an image. But a brand is knowing, You put a sneaker in front of me, if the logo’s taken off, I know that’s a Nike shoe. That’s a Nike shoe. And the way that Disney has been able to perfect that is, They take it from the movies and the TV and all of this, Into the theme parks and then they take the theme parks land and put it in the middle of the ocean.
[00:34:42] That’s consistent storytelling. That’s taking those little things, those details, and adding them, uh, to the bigger picture. Which I think is, that’s what’s really important about the, the, the meaning of the details, about why they go to such lengths to put these little touches on every single, the cobwebs in the Haunted Mansion, the wrought iron, like you were talking about, Jeff. It’s because Because that’s what they do, not just that you’ve come to expect it, but it’s for the next thing. So that when you do see that thing, you know, this is Disney. Why? Because of these little details. Details add up, little details add up to a big thing of what they’re trying to create.
[00:35:27] Jeff Sieh: Yeah, one of the things, too, that… The other thing I think is such genius, and there’s some marketing things that we can take away from it, is that… The transitions, like, it’s not like you open the door and you’re inside of the Haunted Mansion, and our friend Lou Mangello talks about this a lot. It’s not you open the door and then boom, you’re there, or you’re not even going into the Avengers meal at, on one of the Disney ships.
[00:35:48] There’s this transition to get you there, it’s not, there’s no jarring, like, oh, I’m, I just stepped from, you know, Frontierland, I’m in Tomorrowland. Like, there’s this… This transition space, and it’s so subtle you don’t even catch it. The music changes, the, you know, the scenery changes, but it’s not abrupt. So, what do you think we can take away from that with, you know, marketing?
[00:36:08] Because a lot of times, you know, we do, we, we want people to come here, and then when they go here, and we have this funnel, and we go bam, bam, bam, bam. Those are the steps you need to follow. And, that’s not how Disney does it. It’s very, very smooth, I guess, you would say.
[00:36:23] Conor Brown: so I always equate this to like if you’re walking down the street and someone pops up out of a store and goes Hey, you should come in here and buy this thing. You’d immediately be like Get away from me creep. All right what that is. And and I see that happen so often in social media and and paid tactics, especially you’re scrolling your feed All of a sudden you see an image or a video of someone and it’s like, stop, stop, stop, stop, stop, stop scrolling, stop scrolling. This is what you need to know. If your whole premise is stop, this is why, it’s probably not a good idea from the get. Like, if you need to run out into traffic, not paid traffic, but real traffic, or maybe paid traffic, and stop everyone so that you can tell them what they’re doing wrong, maybe that’s not the right audience, that’s not the right place, and that’s not the right thing that you’re trying to sell.
[00:37:25] The smoothness of it… It is not only important so that you don’t alienate people, but it’s the flip of it. So that you become more inviting. You don’t want to be pushy. No one wants, likes a used car salesman, right? That’s trying to sell you on the undercoat painting or whatever. You do mats, right? You don’t need that.
[00:37:46] The smoothness is part of the story and part of that, that flow. Um, the only real way to do that, I think, as a small business owner or entrepreneur is trial and error, right? What seems to be turning people off? What seems to be resonating with people and to continue to go? Um, one thing that I, a Walt Disney quote that is probably one of my favorites.
[00:38:15] Um. It’s, there’s two of them, but I’ll kind of put them together is as long as there’s imagination in the world, the parks will never be complete, right? And the other is it, the parks will always be in a state of becoming, meaning it’s never going to be done. It’s, they didn’t, you know, launch in 1955 at Disneyland and it was perfect.
[00:38:38] No, far from it. You’ll hear horror stories about the opening day, about cement was still wet and ladies high heels were sinking into it, right? But they continued the process and every day they showed up and tweaked things a little bit here or there. Then the next thing you know, Disney World, now 50 years old, is this behemoth and all of this storytelling is on full display every single day because they’ve had so many days before that to work and iterate and test and adjust.
[00:39:08] Jeff Sieh: Yeah. It’s just, it’s, there’s so many great takeaways from there. And so, um, yeah, the storytelling and things we can do as marketers to smooth that trend. And I think I’ll, I think that smooths a lot of those transitions to sell or to buy, you know, uh, as a marketer is the community stuff. Like you’re gonna, you know, You’re that smooth so many of those transitions over is being able to go and like, Hey, um, you know, I, I, Connor said to do this when I’m at Disneyland, I know what he’s talking about.
[00:39:37] I want to do that. And you know what? I’m going to buy his, his package that he’s selling because I know Connor and he’s going to take care of me. And he told me like this little hack to do when I’m at the park. And so that’s going to smooth that kind of those transitions of the sale and so I think that is so huge that so many people in so many small businesses don’t do very well but the more that you can do that I think really, it really pays off.
[00:40:00] Conor Brown: we had this thing Um, and cast members still have it. It was a no strings attached voucher and the no strings attached is a reference to, of course, Pinocchio. Um, but basically what it was was, uh, it was like a little, a little pad, almost like where a doctor writes down a prescription and hands to you.
[00:40:22] And you could use that at your discretion on guests for a number of reasons. Um, maybe they were, you know, having a rough day and you wanted them to, uh, uh, you know, get a Mickey, Mickey ears, right? You’d write that down, you’d write the reason, you’d give it to them, and then you’d go with them and, and you’d get that for free.
[00:40:41] The example that they always share is, you see a kid walking through the parks, they drop their ice cream, you run over them with, say, hey, use this, go get a new ice cream, since you just dropped yours, right? Um, those little things that, in, they’re not even a drop in the bucket, in, in the terms of what Disney’s getting in, in revenue.
[00:41:05] They’re, they’re inconsequential. But, those people are going to remember that scenario for years and years and years to come. And then they’re going to tell their friends that. And their friends are going to go. And they’re going to have a similar experience like that. And it’s going to build and build and build.
[00:41:20] And it’s like investing. It’s the compound effect. Those little things add up just like those little details that they’re building into the rides themselves. The cast members should also be in acting with the guests. And those little things go a long, long way.
[00:41:35] Jeff Sieh: Yeah. Yeah, great stuff. Um, one of the things, you know, we’ve been talking about storytelling. Something that really helps with storytelling, which we’re using today, is our friends over at Ecamm. You can find out more about them at socialmedianewslive. com. If you’ve got a Mac and you’re wanting to tell a video or an audio story, it is a no brainer.
[00:41:54] It’s, uh, makes it super easy to do. They just released, uh, their 4 point, what did I say, 4. 1, um, of the overlays and the cool stuff you can You can make with Ecamm. It’s just, it’s mind blowing. And so, if you’re wanting to tell your own story with, uh, video or audio, make sure you check them out, socialmedianewslive.
[00:42:14] com forward slash Ecamm. Man, Connor, I can nerd out about this forever, uh, but I want to get to this second part because you wear another hat where you actually teach, um, marketing and strategies to other travel agents that, uh, the company that you work for. Um, So, I wanted to kind of talk about this, and kind of couch it in the storytelling and maybe some of the training that you do, is what is a big mistake that you see, like small business owners, or even maybe people who are coming in, that you’re having to train as new travel agents, that they make with their storytelling, and how can they kind of overcome that?
[00:42:51] Conor Brown: I think the biggest thing that, that so many people are afraid of is the selling aspect of it.
[00:42:56] Jeff Sieh: Hmm.
[00:42:57] Conor Brown: No matter what we’re doing, we might be an expert in marketing, in video production, in, uh, finance, in travel agencies, right? In, in planning people’s trips, and that’s great, and, and we’re told as entrepreneurs to Take the things that you do best and put them out there for others to interact with and learn from and take and utilize. But the scary part for so many people is the selling of it. is putting it out there. We think of, of marketing, at least I do, is in this storytelling aspect through this narrative and, and that’s great and that’s an awesome way to kind of focus your attention and your creativity and ideas, but at the end of the day, we got to sell that, whatever it might be, if it’s a product or a service or, or whatever.
[00:43:48] So, it’s less about this is what it’s going to cost. Right, and more about, hey, if you do purchase this, this is what you’re going to get. And this is what your story is going to look like. For me, in the capacity, I’m a director of agent development at a travel agency, Keys to the Castle Travel. In part, I’m also a travel agent, so I can help people book their trips and stuff.
[00:44:16] But that’s what I see time and time again. People come to me and they join our agency because they love Disney. They love planning. They love helping people, but they don’t know how to get the word out about it. Or they kind of feel a little icky, right? Like, Oh, well, gee, gosh, gee, Willikers, I could help you with your trip.
[00:44:33] You know,
[00:44:34] Jeff Sieh: right.
[00:44:35] Conor Brown: putting yourself out there, I think is probably. The scariest and the most daunting thing. And I know we’ve had conversations before about, about the money aspect of it, right? Like money is this dirty word, but it’s the reason why we got to do it. Everything right. At the end of the day, that’s, that’s what we need.
[00:44:56] Um, so I train new travel advisors in, in ways to sell without selling. Right. And it’s really about putting your story out there. And then every once in a while saying, Oh, by the way, I, I offer this service. And once they trust you, because you’ve been telling a great story and you’ve focused in on your story, they’ll come to you. They’ll come to you because they feel like they know you, because they trust you, because they want to work with you, because they think it’s going to be a great, great time.
[00:45:30] So focusing on that and then eventually asking for it, I think, is a great way For people not to be as nervous about the selling of all this stuff.
[00:45:41] Jeff Sieh: Yes, so I wanted to just a real life example. So, uh, we’re going this weekend. We’re actually there now because this is recorded, but, um, my daughter and I are going to Hollywood Studios one night and there’s this thing that where you get to go and you get a, it’s a VIP dinner where you get to sit there at a, at a nice Disney restaurant and then you get like this VIP seating for Fantasmic, which You know, I waited too long, and I guess they sold out like the first day they came out because everybody wants good seats for this, this show at the end of the night at the parks, and I was like, man, ah, I can’t, I really, and I said, Connor, do you have any pull?
[00:46:15] And he’s like, no, I don’t, I don’t have any pull over it. There, but uh, um, what he did is he, he messaged me like this weekend going, Hey, they just opened up some more. If you want to go get it, go, go grab them right now. So I was able to snag these. So that’s what we get to do is my daughter and I are going to go and have this great dinner.
[00:46:30] And then we have this VIP seating for this amazing fireworks, which she has never seen before. Cause we went back when it was COVID and it wasn’t there. So it’s a big deal. This happened because of Connors. Um, you know, the No Stringent Attach Policy kind of thing, or going beyond, above and beyond, uh, what he is needing to do.
[00:46:49] Like, how do you train other people to do that? Because that made a big difference. You gate got me something that I didn’t think I was going to get. It exceeded my expectations. It was just like this, oh, I’ll try it. I, probably it’s not going to happen, but I, at least I can say I tried, kind of a thing. And then it happened.
[00:47:05] And so that’s like, okay, Conor, take all my money kind of a thing. So how do you train that kind or that level of service to a new agent who’s coming in? Like you say, you gotta leave your phone on 24 7 and just, you know, you gotta be there and you gotta… How do you train what you have learned and what you do now?
[00:47:25] Conor Brown: You know, it is about setting boundaries because in order for you to be 100 percent or as close to 100 percent effective in what you’re an expert at, you have to be 100 percent a human being. Which means you got to go to bed. You gotta not stress, you gotta enjoy your life, you gotta spend time with your family.
[00:47:44] So setting up boundaries with clients I think is, is really, really important. So saying things like, Hey, listen, you know, uh, uh, I work Monday through Friday. These are the hours. If you send an urgent email, I’ll try to check, but just know that, that. This is what it is. And nine times out of 10, every single client is going to respect that and say, you totally get it.
[00:48:05] Thank you so very much. One other thing we have this, this thing in place, and I think I’ve talked about it before. Yeah. We talked about it last week about you have to respond within 12 hours, right? And a response can be as simple as, Hey, I’ve received this, and I’m working on it. Just wanted to let you know, here’s when I’m going to respond.
[00:48:26] That alleviates the pressures like that. The way that we train people to do this is by giving them real world examples. Right. But the only way that they’re actually going to learn the benefits of going above and beyond is by actually doing it. And then they get the reciprocal nature of it. Right. So now I know Jeff’s going to throw all this money at me.
[00:48:49] Yeah, it won. Right. And why did it win? Because I just set a mental reminder for myself to, Hey, keep checking it every once in a while and see if you can get anything from him,
[00:49:01] Jeff Sieh: Mm.
[00:49:02] Conor Brown: guarantee anything, but did look and, and I think. When you are invested in the success of your clients, you’re going to be the one who’s going above and beyond just because you want it to be special.
[00:49:19] And when we’re talking about Disney or we’re talking about marketing, things that we love and we love when people succeed or have great trips or, or do this, that, and the other. We know what that feels like, right? We know what it feels like to have a great marketing campaign and it achieves all your goals.
[00:49:36] Or what it’s like to have an awesome Disney vacation and you make all these memories. So because we’ve experienced that, it’s so much easier to go back and go above and beyond for all of your clients. Because you know when they’re going to feel like that, they’re going to be my customer, my friend, my confidant for life because of all that.
[00:49:56] Jeff Sieh: Yeah. So, uh, that is also a little plug that, like, if you need help with stuff for travel, that Connor Brown is your man. Um, last, last, probably last question, because we’re kind of, you know, like, we geeked out about this, uh, so much storytelling. But I know you also do email and paid social, uh, for, for clients as well.
[00:50:15] Um, the question I wanted to talk about, kind of in the same vein as we were talking about storytelling. So. So, how can you balance the brevity, like let’s talk about paid social ads and maybe some email stuff, is like, okay, we’ve got to tell a story, but it’s got to be brief, and a lot of times people don’t read anything, like how do you get that across, because that is a challenge, especially for, you know, small business owners, a lot of us are doing everything, like we’re our own marketing department, we’re our own customer service department, we’re creating new products, you know, But telling a story in the midst of, like, setting up an email campaign, I mean, how do you balance the brevity versus this, the good story?
[00:50:59] Conor Brown: So, I think it’s a number of things. One, I do think the brevity is the most important part, right? If I open an email and it’s a thousand words, boy, I’m gonna, you know, go right back out of that and there’s a strong possibility I never return to it, right? Because it’s a time and place thing. If it’s a complex topic, I know, alright, we’ll put it in a folder, we’ll get to it when we get to it.
[00:51:24] But the brevity and giving the people what they want up front. Right, which I, I think is why an email marketing campaign is so awesome because you can make it, you know, last two weeks with all these short snippets in between here, there, this, that, or the other. And people can open all of them or open the ones that only make sense to them or open a few here or there.
[00:51:48] And you’re kind of guiding this story and there. Um, another important thing I think is people focus way too much on what they’re putting into the email, what they’re putting into the ad, and neglecting the next step. So maybe the next step is, is a CTA. Alright, we gotta put that right up. Or maybe the next step is, let’s send it to this page. Put yourself in viewer’s shoes that has never met you, doesn’t know who you are, but has just seen this ad for the first time, if they click on this, is this next page going to be exactly what they’re looking for based on this ad? If it isn’t, then it doesn’t really matter about brevity, it doesn’t really matter about what your goal is.
[00:52:36] If there’s a disconnect there, then it’s all for naught. Another great thing that Disney does, right? You know, kind of what you’re getting yourself into. They send you these emails about this is what’s offered at your resort hotel. This is the story of your resort hotel. So when you show up, it makes perfect sense that this is the place.
[00:52:57] Um, it’s very, very tricky, but it’s about iterating as well. Seeing what’s working and doubling down. Disney does that all the time. They know what works in one park. get to another park halfway across the world right they double down that’s why there’s there’s sequels galore that’s why there’s A lot of remakes, right?
[00:53:20] Of all these animated classics, um, know what works and just keep doubling down.
[00:53:25] Jeff Sieh: Awesome, awesome. So much good stuff and I could geek about this stuff because there’s books, there’s so many books written about this and the stories and all the, I love hearing how things came to be and so Connor you have been amazing as always. Appreciate you always, you know, helping with the show and also just the, the knowledge that you bring every week and the stuff that you’ve talked about today is just fantastic.
[00:53:51] So tell people where the best… This place is defined. All things Connor Brown. If they like, Hey man, I am sold. Let Connor plan my trip. I’m ready to go. I’ve never been on Disney Cruise. I want to go. Tell me how to do it. Connor’s your man. Where can they find out more about you?
[00:54:07] Conor Brown: Well, thank you so much, uh, for having me Jeff and, and putting me in the hot seat on this one. I love doing the show each and every week. It’s so cool. All the awesome people we get to interview and our, uh, the community that we interact with. We haven’t said Google plus, so I’m just going to say
[00:54:21] Jeff Sieh: there he is for Chris Stone. There we go.
[00:54:23] Conor Brown: Um, so if you want to learn more about me, you can go to www.
[00:54:26] opinion. com. You can follow me at www. opinion across all the social medias. If you want to reach out directly to me, that’s Connor, C O N N O R at www. opinion. com. I can help you plan. Your next perfect Disney vacation, Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, other cruise lines, Universal Studios. I can help with all that.
[00:54:51] And of course, if you ever want to talk marketing, you can reach out at any of those places as well.
[00:54:57] Jeff Sieh: Awesome. Thank you, my friends. Thank you guys for watching. We are so sorry we weren’t able to bring up your comments, uh, live today, just because of, uh, we are actually speaking, and we’re actually at Disney, what we were just talking about, so I’m sure we’re going to come back with a lot of cool things to tell you, um, and just a little plug for, uh, You know, next year, because you missed a Momentum this year, uh, Lou opens that up.
[00:55:17] He usually has, uh, around 50 spots that he keeps the whole conference at, which is really, really cool. Makes it very, very, uh, intimate, and you get a lot of, it’s like a giant mastermind, and it’s so, so very cool. I love it. Every year, so make sure you check out Lou Mangiello’s Momentum for that as well. And with that, we’ll, we thank you guys so much for watching.
[00:55:35] Thank you for listening, and we’ll see you guys next week. Bye, everybody.