5 Branding lessons from Disney’s Encanto

I’m that childless friend that insists on tagging along with my “mom friends” to watch the latest Disney releases. In fact, when Frozen 2 came out, I was more excited than the hoard of eight-year-olds that the one hour drive to the cinema was planned for. I donned my princess tiara, sang along to the songs and waited with bated breath to see if Anna and Elsa could save their kingdom again.

Yip. That’s me… thirty-something years of life and my ultimate dream vacation is still a trip to Disney World. So, naturally, I’ve been waiting with much excitement to watch Disney’s newest hit, Encanto.

Tonight, alone in my living room, I finally got to see what all the fuss was about…

I am a sucker for happy endings, so admittedly cried like a little bitch at the end. But, I’m also a sucker for reflecting on the lessons behind these “kids” movies. I’m not going to give away any spoilers, but there are a lot of really valuable lessons from Encanto that you could really benefit from applying to your business:

1. Wholesome content

Disney has got the art of creating wholesome content to a point of perfection. They have an amazing knack for fusing humour and life lessons into an animated production that is relatable to all audiences, no matter what point they are at in life. That relatable zest that they throw into the magic of their films is what creates beautiful experiences and fond memories for their audiences, whether they are four or forty years old.

Humans love to learn, grow and cope through humour and sharing. We see it all the time on social media – Not even 10 minutes will pass after a national or international event before the first meme appears or posts of hope and prayers start appearing. It’s a way that people feel connected, whether it’s laughing or even crying together.

The end takeaway is that audiences respond to wholesome and relatable content.
When you leverage this through your content and start talking like a human instead of a sales robot, your audience will start responding.

2. Inclusivity

The main family in Encanto, the Madrigals, are a family based in Columbian culture. It was so beautiful to see the representation of diversity within the film, from Afri-Latinos to other diversity in shades, hair textures and facial features.

In today’s society, where cancel culture is rife, yet the divide in cultures seems to be an ongoing battle, a message focused on community and diversity is always a winner. With a multicultural representation, all audiences feel included and supported. Really, it’s a win for everyone if you can work this value into your brand.

3. Perfectly imperfect

By far the most important lesson of the entire film – every one of the characters was flawed.
There were no perfect princesses, knights in shining armour or even excentric billionaires. Every character had quirks and flaws that humanized them to the point that EVERY audience member that has or will watch this film can relate to.

From the matriarch of the film feeling the pressure of keeping the family safe to the main character’s yearning to belong. Every character was fighting their own battles.

Here’s the kicker: In the end, their vulnerabilities didn’t make them weak… they made the characters RELATABLE!
Audiences connected with the big sister feeling like she had to be strong and helpful all the time. They connected with the “perfect” sister who felt like she needed to maintain a certain image. They connected with the main character for not feeling like she was as gifted as everyone else.

Too many of us (myself included) feel the need to portray a seemingly “perfect” or uniform image to our audiences. We hide the scars and the bruises and anything we deem to be the “ugly” side of what we do. But, in actual fact, these are the things that make us human. These are the things that humanize us and make us relatable. And they shouldn’t be hidden.

Granted, in business, there are some things that aren’t appropriate to put out there. Like I have a rule about keeping my relationships and family life out of work. But there is a reason why influencers are able to make a living online these days. They are constantly sharing their journeys and struggles with their audiences. While some of them may be a little edited or censored, there is still that element of vulnerability and imperfection there – and people support it.

Next time you write a post for your business, try sharing a little about the journey that you are on. I think you’ll be surprised at the support and engagement you receive, just by showing that you too are human and perfectly imperfect.

4. Everybody loves an underdog

First of all, I love that Disney needed to produce more merch for the buff sister in the film than they did for the “perfect princess” sister. Their marketing department totally bombed out on the estimation of which character would be more supported.

As it turns out, little girls admired Luisa’s muscles and strength over Isabella’s beauty and grace, and I absolutely love that! It just goes to show how the perception of the world is changing to appreciate different things.

For me, the main character, Mirabel, was most relatable.
She was the personification of Imposter Syndrome, Weirdness and Different.

We’ve all been there – looking around at our friends, family or even competitors and wishing that we were as gifted or “special” as they are, not seeing how truly amazing we are ourselves. It’s easy to feel like you don’t fit in when you haven’t found your purpose. The takeaway I got from this is how important it is to share your journey once you have. Be a lighthouse for others and help guide the other weirdos. These are your people – and they’ll be your biggest supporters.

5. Your product is not the miracle – you are!

Basically, this is the message that all these lessons come down to. Out of all the gifts that everyone has, there is only one YOU. You are what makes your business special. Your passions, your lessons and even your vulnerabilities. Share these with the world, tell your stories, and watch the support and excitement come in like me, every time I hear there’s a new Disney movie releasing.

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