Driving Brand Equity in the Established Film Studios Category
It is likely that you have watched or heard of the appeal of at least one of the above films. Looking at BAV US data for the general population (2009-2014), it is evident that Disney, Pixar, and DreamWorks have managed to grow in Brand Stature, residing in the Leadership quadrant in the upper right portion of the PowerGrid. However, over time Disney has been able to defend its position as the “Superleader” respective to competitors with higher Relevance, Esteem, and Knowledge rank scores.
Of the films released in the past five years, Disney’s “Frozen”, which was released in November 2013, is by far the most prominent. Since its release, “Frozen” has earned $1.2 billion worldwide, is the 5th highest grossing film of all time and the highest grossing animated film. It also boasts two Academy Awards, a BAFTA, a Golden Globe, and a soundtrack that’s amassed over a million album sales.
These are impressive credentials for a film produced by a company whose traditional constituency is, well, young children. It has also managed to overcome the archetypes found in the Disney movies of the 90s, and its widespread appeal has been attributed to its treatment of more profound themes including: independence, empowerment, acceptance, and relationships.
Looking at the impact of “Frozen” on a deeper level, it is interesting to gauge changes in the brand equity of Disney Animated Films on a single year over year basis. From 2013 to 2014, Disney Animated Films managed to grow its Differentiation and Knowledge by 2 rank points.
And has made significant improvements in perceptual imagery of being a much more modern and daring brand. In 2014, the general population views Disney as being more Different, Independent, Up To Date, Progressive, and Intelligent than it was compared to 2013, where Disney Animated Films was viewed as more Arrogant, Unapproachable, and Restrained.
The success of “Frozen” has gained traction all around the world. And while Disney Animated Films has seen positive growth in perceputal imagery attributes, what distinguishes Disney from DreamWorks is largely its ability to create touchpoints and experiences beyond the screen, creating a more dynamic and maybe even more compelling consumer experience of the brand.
On a more traditional level, Disney Parks announced its plans earlier this month to continue the “Frozen” franchise through an attraction at Epcot and promised greater presence of characters from the film at the Magic Kingdom Park this holiday season . The Disney giant has also partnered with some unconventional partners, collaborating with bridal gown retailer Alfred Angelo Bridal to release a dress inspired by the movie which will be available in January 2015.
The greater lesson here is that single successes are not to be underestimated as they can have material impact on brand equity. Moreover, in a competitive category where products are not perceived as extremely different across competitors (after all, does the average viewer perceive a Disney animated film to be inherently different than a DreamWorks one?), it is even more critical for parent brands to strategically leverage those success outside of the category, across alternative offerings, outlets, an touchpoints. By creating an interactive, diverse and consistent total brand experience, companies can ensure they maintain their Leadership status as Superbrands. That is, if they have the infrastructure and capital to do so.