For five years Disney has put on the invite only Disney Social Moms event at one of its park. We were invited the previous two years but were not able to attend because of scheduling conflicts. This year we made it a point to attend and it did not disappoint.
We've worked with Disney on a couple of previous park opening adventures which were just fantastic opportunities for us. Social moms had everything that those events had plus a great opportunity to learn from some of the leading thinkers of our day. Not to mention it is a real treat when Disney shuts down an entire section of the park for you so you can enjoy the rides without almost no lines. Who else has gone to Cars Land and after concluding Radiator Springs Racers were given the opportunity to just stay on the ride because nobody else was in line?
Disneyland has fully embraced the mom community. Some may say that an event like this one is self-serving but to those who understand that community the concept is brilliant. Invite 150 mom influencers to learn about everything Disneyland for four days and at the same time create deep ties to the community. Disneyland understands that moms listen to other moms in the social media realms, that moms on average control 85% of the household spending and moms make the majority of travel plan decisions for a family. Why not work with influential moms and create awareness at the same time?!
Disney is a top brand for more than one reason. Everything they do has a purpose and they have got the buy in of their entire staff. All of the employees at the Parks are "cast members" who play a role in the overall success of the user experience. From top to bottom you saw these "cast members" putting on a smile, asking you how you are doing and seeing what they could do to help you. Their employees are empowered to create a happy experience (ask me sometime about what happened when my 7-year-old son dropped his ice cream cone). You don't see a hard sell at the Parks. What you see is people happily giving away dollars to Disney to become "actors" in the Disney experience by buying Disney shirts, princess dresses, hats, ears, balloons, etc. so that they could play their "role" in the Disney experience.
Disney is doing the same thing in the social media realm buy engaging their community in a similar fashion. In a very friendly manner they are engaging influencers on a level that I have seen few businesses do in a meaningful way. The overall experience made invitees at this event to be more than just reports, but evangelists making Disney the happiest social media place on earth. I'm quite sure that Disney has made more than one friend for life through this amazing event.
If you are a business owner or manager ask yourself how you engage your community? You may not have the ability to bring in top name actors to your event, but how could you, within your space, get at the influencers in your industry and not only be part of the conversation but drive the conversation. I'm quite sure if you do so in a meaningful way that new opportunities will arise for you that will yield some amazing results.