“It’s all about listening to our consumers,” according to Carole Munroe of Walt Disney World, where consumer-centric marketing is always “top-of-mind.”
At large and small organizations, she said, we can always ask consumers questions and listen to them. Munroe stressed that her advice – illustrated with photos and videos from Disney promotions – applies to companies that don’t happen to have all the resources of Disney.
One of Disney’s challenges is trying to find new ways to tell their story and be relevant. This can also be true for all kinds of companies. Munroe says it’s key to keep your core essence, while you figure out new ways to connect.
Most Disney ad campaigns and promotions “touch upon those emotional moments– not being so product-focused but focusing on the experience.”
In most businesses, as at Disney, families are different and coming to us for different reasons, Munroe said. The best approach is focusing on those who are most engaged and figuring out how to capitalize on them while finding ways to reach out to other consumers.
Disney wants to recognize and celebrate those differences. As Munroe put it: Same story, different angle.
Among the top ways Disney gains consumer insights are:
- One-on-one conversations.
- Online listening.
- Finding the right message for the right consumer.
- Trying always to improve efficiency and relevance.
Munroe advises staying aware that consumers have different sources of information and entertainment. She then asked a series of questions of audience members to illustrate this: Who has cut the cable TV connection? How many of us get most of our news from Twitter? Who gets entertainment from an Xbox or other device, instead of television?
She told PR professionals to think in terms of an “umbrella message” and more direct messages. We can segment the audiences and bring the message to everyone differently, she said. We need an overarching message that expresses the organization’s core–then we can speak to each member of the family directly.
“If we’re doing our job right, it’s seamless,” Munroe said.
During the presentation, Munroe revisited Disney promotions such as “Year of a Million Dreams,” “Show Your Disney Side” and “Coolest Summer Ever.”
Different family types come to Disney with different expectations.
“When we listen … we’re able to talk to them in a way that makes them say, ‘You get me.’”
She offered these Disney campaign examples targeting various consumers:
- Preschool families – A stronghold for the theme parks, these families are experiencing a lot of things for the first time. The campaign focused on that “magical moment” when that child is just tall enough to ride the “fast” rides.
- Tweens and teens – These young consumers can be a challenging market, so Disney focused on making them comfortable with “being in both worlds” as children and almost-adults. Speaking to their need for family time in an “authentic voice,” Disney asked teenagers to tell their own Disney stories in short films.
- Multicultural families – To celebrate cultural differences, a campaign featured an extended Hispanic family visiting the parks — letting all generations speak in authentic accents. Munroe said the most important thing with this kind of tricky marketing is to “keep it real.”
- Active grandparents – A very loyal audience, these over-50-year-olds come to the parks with or without their younger family members. The campaign focused on the kid inside all of us, playing to a generation who grew up with the Disney brand and now wants to experience it with kids and grandkids.
Media clips from the past year underscored Disney’s success in getting noticed in all these sectors.
Thinking realistically about the audience allows us to create more and better content, particularly through social media, Munroe said. It promotes social engagement, helps us learn from consumers and leads to even stronger campaigns in the future.
Director of Public Relations, Walt Disney World Resort
As director of Public Relations for the Walt Disney World Resort, Carole Munroe is the site leader for all domestic, international and multi-cultural public relations opportunities impacting the entire destination, which includes four Walt Disney World theme parks, 25 owned and operated resort hotels, two water parks, two full-service spas, the ESPN Wide World of Sports facilities and Downtown Disney (Disney Springs) entertainment, dining and retail complex. Munroe and her team also support other Disney Destinations businesses Disney Cruise Line, Adventures By Disney, Disney Vacation Club and Disney’s Fairytale Weddings. Munroe leads the PR launch of marketing campaigns for new Parks businesses, attractions and hotels and develops campaigns to help sustain Walt Disney World Resort as the #1 family vacation destination in the world. Informed with consumer insights, Munroe and her team efficiently leverage consumer-centric communications channels for video, audio, print, online, photography, and social media engagement with news media, bloggers and directly with consumers. As part of her role, Munroe also adeptly leads all major corporatepriority Walt Disney World press events, which often include executive engagement of top leadership of The Walt Disney Company. Career milestone as a PR and marketing executive include securing broad national and international media coverage as well as targeted segment coverage supporting the launch of My Magic+, Disney’s award-winning vacation planning technology platform; Disney Cruise Line; Disneyland Paris opening; grand opening of Disney’s Animal Kingdom; grand opening of New Fantasyland; working with the White House on visits by two different presidents; multi-cultural marketing that helped secure attendance growth records for Hispanic and African-American guests; launching Disney’s Dreamers Academy with Steve Harvey and Essence Magazine; two Quinceañera specials; a five-year run of an annual music festival with Univision Network, and international marketing successes in Latin America, Canada, United Kingdom and Germany. Munroe’s leadership style is built on respect, open strengths and diversity. Her signature strengths are achiever, ideation, individualization, input and strategic. Throughout her Disney career, Munroe has worked synergistically with all segments of The Walt Disney Company including global offices. She has successfully secured national media coverage for Disney Consumer Products and The Walt Disney Studios. Prior to her current role, Munroe was Broadcast Alliances Director for Disney Parks and was responsible for building relationships with network executives and producers; brainstorming, pitching and executing show concepts and promotions to national cable networks as earned media engagement. Successes included one-hour specials with The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Univision, Telemundo, Discovery Channel, Travel Channel, Food Network, HGTV, TV One, and BET, some of which are still on the air today. Prior to focusing on non-Disney owned media, Munroe also led the Broadcast Partnerships team responsible for creating and maximizing synergy opportunities with Disney owned networks including ABC, Disney Channel Lifetime, ESPN and Disney syndicated programming. Munroe graduated from The University of Georgia with a degree in journalism and has worked in various news positions including newspaper, radio and television. Her news work in Kentucky and Orlando earned top awards from The Associated Press and the Society of Professional Journalists. Prior to joining Disney, Munroe worked in public relations for The University of Alabama, where she also taught broadcast journalism part-time. She is the recipient of Ebony Magazine’s Women in Marketing and Communications Award, the National Association of Black Journalists Pat Tobin Award for Outstanding Public Relations executive, a PRSA Bronze Anvil Award, several Telly Awards and a Big Apple Public Relations Award. She has been a speaker at the Entertainment & Marketing Conference, ANA Conference, and Florida Public Relations Association. She currently serves on the Alumni Board of The University of Georgia College of Journalism and Mass Communication, the board of the Central Florida Holocaust Center and the national Hispanicize Conference. In her spare time, Munroe has a passion for movies, music, yoga, and travel. She is also a committed mentor.