Walt Disney Press Releases:
The Language of Public Relations
Two press releases from the Walt Disney Company were reviewed to understand how important the language used and presentation of news helped this Fortune 500 company gain competitive advantage through increased brand awareness. Walt Disney is very popular and GGI needs a model such as Walt Disney to understand what language to use and what tactics to heed in their marketing efforts to educate the public about their new product line. Walt Disney’s first release reviewed outlined interesting phrases to excite interested parties to their acquisition of Pixar and goes as far as to offer investors wanting further information to view a live web-cast or to listen to a pre-recorded message about the acquisition over the phone. The second press release outlines the efforts of Disney to help in the devastated regions hit by Hurricane Katrina. This outlines the importance of being involved in a community to demonstrate a positive image and gain attention through humanitarian efforts.
Although Pixar had been co-producers with Disney on many of their films, the acquisition of the company allowed Disney to present their company as not only acquiring a new group of workers, but a new corporate culture entirely and products that would be exciting for movie viewers and others to see as video games, watches, and other products were all purported to be in the future of this company. An important aspect of reading this release was the fact that two groups of shareholders would have to be supportive of the acquisition, so the language used was most probably developed to sway these groups to positive thinking. Words and phrases, such as “collective spirit”, “creativity”, “strength”, “imagination”, and “grow and flourish were all part of the exciting “hype” that built the press release from the confident beginning to its promising end.
Shareholders, also, were invited to a live web-cast or to a pre-recorded conference call to hear more of the monetary implications of the acquisition, such as stock changes, documents that were posted to the SEC, and other fiscal “forward-looking” statements. This connection with the stockholders of Disney is of special interest as it would be prudent that GGI begin dialoging with its shareholders to gain feedback and in turn support for the changes to the company as the changes will not only impact GGI, but all that are financially invested. It would be wise to set up a pre-recorded message for interested parties to hear in relation to the changes in the new product line and to set up a place for shareholders and others to give ideas for this new product line, as to make GGI more interactive and accessible to the public. Utilizing every type of outlet for GGI at this point would not only yield stronger public relations, but pave the way for innovative ideas to come from places outside the company.
Then second release from the Walt Disney Company highlighted the efforts that were being made in the devastated regions of the U.S. from Hurricane Katrina. The company was making its humanitarian side evident through this press release and becoming a part of a community of others, not only stock-holders and consumers, but all people. This shows that the company is not only interested in revenue, but in human capital and overall compassion. In addition to donating financial support, Disney partnered with other companies to show its ability to cooperate with others and not exist as some faceless and overbearing corporation with no regard for other groups. I think it is of the utmost importance for GGI to create a stronger presence in communities and this does not have to be costly, but can begin by some volunteer effort. Any extra added presence that puts a face to GGI will help with name recognition and product recognition will follow when the new line of household goods are unveiled.
Both press releases were related to the fact that Disney is growing and changing in a positive way. The acquisition of Pixar demonstrates their willingness to change their existing corporate culture and to incorporate new and innovative ideas to their new products. As well, Disney’s interactive relationship with shareholders and their active presence in needy communities shows their compassionate and open relationship to others outside of the company. This new innovation and change will help raise already high market awareness in addition to any community efforts Disney undertakes both in the gulf region and any other place in they future they deem important to become engaged in.
In conclusion by viewing Disney’s very impressive website and press releases, I believe that they should serve as a model to GGI in the public relations avenue. There is much to learn from this company, which has been in existence for most of the last century. There wise ideas are not so entrenched in their past successes, though, as to not be open to new ideas and a new corporate culture in the Pixar people. Growing, changing, and participating at the community level is of the utmost importance to GGI at this juncture. When new avenues are open for more individuals to recognize both the GGI name and products, success will follow. Implementing ideas such as pre-recorded phone calls for shareholders, website navigation that allows ideas to be submitted to the company, and a presence not only in the market, but in the community is what GGI should be focused on at this point in time.
The press releases can be viewed online http://corporate.disney.go.com/news/corporate/2006/2006_0124_pixar.html
I would encourage senior management to both look at these releases and to heed the advice compiled here. We can grow and gain market presence with simple measures!