Bob Chapek has been a very controversial CEO at the Walt Disney Company. From the Disney fans nickname “Cheapek” to a petition to have him removed as CEO, fans or “consumers” to him, have been hard to win over.
Now Chapek has sent out a memo to company employees outlining three “strategic pillars” that the company is going to focus on moving forward into the Walt Disney Companies next century.
2023 will mark the 100th Anniversary of the company and now that Bob Iger is completely out of his preverbal hair, Chapek is rolling out these new “pillars.”
What are the “pillars?”
First up is “storytelling excellence.”
According to Bob Chapek, Disney is unique because they have stories that mean something to people. Stories that “inspire, give hope, bring us together, illuminate the world around us, and create memories..” It’s those stories that make the “Disney magic.”
To focus on the storytelling aspect Chapek is going to now hold new monthly meetings with senior creative leadership to “discuss the opportunities we face as a storytelling enterprise. This will encourage collaboration, sharing of best practices, and stimulate cross-studio ideation.”
This could mean many things, but one thing is for sure, Chapek is taking more control of the creative “storytelling” aspect of the company. The fact that he used the word “enterprise” in relation to storytelling has me a bit concerned.
Next up is “Innovation.”
For this pillar Chapek wants to focus on technology to make sure they remain innovative storytellers. Personally, if they just went back to being innovative and stop with all the cheap “reboots”, “retellings” and “live-action re-imaginings” they would be better off, but I digress.
According to Chapek they must:
“…continue as technology evolves, giving our creative teams new canvases like the metaverse on which to paint. We should be especially innovative as we seek to bring stories to life in new ways—particularly if they enhance what many call our “franchise ecosystem,” which is one of the things that sets us apart.”
The Metaverse. That’s their technology play for the “franchise ecosystem?” They’re going to franchise on Metaverse? I mean they already do this with Fortnite.
The final pillar is “relentless focus on our audience”
They want to listen to consumers now?
I’m sure a lot of us have plenty of suggestions for the Walt Disney Company, from the constant price hikes to the way they’ve handled franchises like “Home Alone” and “Star Wars.”
But apparently he wants to focus on “our most important guide—our North Star—..the consumer.”
Sounds good right? Except it’s about how to use technology to to “evolve” for audiences. Which likely means, how can we leverage tech to get more money out of all those rocks.
He worded it this way:
Right now, their behavior tells us and our industry that the way they want to experience entertainment is changing—and changing fast thanks to technology and the pandemic. We must evolve with our audience, not work against them. And so we will put them at the center of every decision we make.”
If I wasn’t sure about how it’s all about leveraging more money this summed it up pretty well:
“When you look at the entertainment landscape, I believe Disney stands alone. We have the world’s most creative storytelling engine along with the world’s most beloved brands and franchises—which we can bring to life in ways no one else can. We have a portfolio of distribution platforms across the world—including powerful streaming services—with the ability to reach audiences anywhere, anytime. We have the #1 news organization and the most trusted brand in sports. We bring people together and make magical memories that last a lifetime at our parks and on our cruise ships. We have a unique ability to impact culture and connect with people on deeply personal levels. And we have you—the best team in the business.”
It’s all about all the stuff they own and how they can leverage it since they have the biggest, most powerful, most beloved things ever.
Here’s hoping we are going to see the consumers gain in a company that keeps raising prices, pushing quantity of quality and still trying to say they’re about magic.
I do sincerely hope we see improvement as consumers, but I will have to see it to believe it. Can’t wait till the next investor call.
What do you think? Comment and let us know!
Source: The Hollywood Reporter (You can read the entire memo there.)
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