“It’s a small world after all/It’s a small world after all/It’s a small world after all/It’s a small, small world.”—"it's a small world"
This week, Disney celebrates the 50th anniversary of one of its most famous rides, “it’s a small world.” I was there at the 1964 World’s Fair in New York when the ride opened as a tribute to peace and hope to help celebrate UNICEF’s work with children around the world. The ride, which was extremely popular with fair goers, was then installed at Disneyland in California in 1966 after the fair closed.
The ride takes passengers on a 15-minute cruise through different cultures with dolls dressed in the style of 100 countries. Throughout the exhibit, the song, “it’s a small world,” written by brothers Robert and Richard Sherman, plays over and over and over again in different languages. After exiting the ride, amusement park guests can’t help but silently sing that song over and over and over again, since they've just heard it repeated over and over and over again.
This "stuck in your head" tune is the primary reason the ride is so effective—and a smart way to get customers to remember your company. But you don't need to write a song to keep your company in the minds of customers.
If you're looking for ways to make your company just as memorable as the "small world" ride, these three tips can help you create your own "stuck in your head" brand:
1. Keep it simple. An effective brand is very easy to identify and remember. “it's a small world” is about the universal dream of worldwide peace as expressed by children. When asked what their company does, too many small-business owners deliver a complicated monologue that no customer can follow or remember.
Instead, keep your message short and express it in less than five seconds. A customer should be able to identify and repeat your company’s brand with just a few words. Apple’s brand, for example, is about leading-edge technology. UPS stands for reliable delivery. Coca-Cola is associated with having fun with friends or being refreshing.
2. Focus on pain relief or filling your customers' needs. While it may not be obvious from the start, “it's a small world” is about the universal hope of overcoming fear and replacing it with peace. All successful brands help companies connect with a consumer's pain or great need, and a successful product or service is one that a customer seeks, not one that the company wants to provide. For example, the need that Starbucks fills is for a place to visit between work and home. Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz called this “the third place.”
3. Create repetition. Repeating the same message helps get that message into consumers' long-term memory and makes it easy for them to recall. This ease of recall is critical since any successful brand will be remembered when a customer is ready to buy.
Before the Internet, traditional marketing wisdom stated that it took seven reinforcements of a brand until a customer remembered that company. Now, with the onslaught of inbound information targeting every customer, it can take up to three times as many reinforcements—or 21 times—to achieve the same goal.
The best way to determine your company’s brand is to complete this simple sentence: “My company helps _________ who are _________.” For the first blank, fill in your perfect customer. Who exactly are you targeting? Narrow this down as much as possible. Then, in the second blank, fill in the pain your company specifically solves for your customers. For example, my own branding statement is, “My company helps small-business owners get unstuck." Maybe yours is, "My company helps homeowners whose heat is broken." Or, "My company helps parents whose children can't get to sleep."
It's actually much more difficult to describe a brand in a few words than in a paragraph. But once you can do that, it'll be easy to repeat your brand's message over and over again so customers can remember your company when they're ready to buy.
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