What exactly does it mean to be successful? Sure, it could be making an unspeakable amount of money, or it could be something as simple as finding satisfaction in helping others. However, the answer could also be way out in left field where the meaning of success is a group of servicemen whooping and cheering on the independence of lonely princess or a little girl singing at the top of her voice about building a snowman to comfort herself while she receives an injection. In case you haven’t caught on yet, the business model we’re talking about comes from none other than Disney’s breakout hit “Frozen.”
For those who might be culturally disconnected (or living under a rock), here’s a little re-cap of the situation. Almost a year ago, Disney released an animated film featuring two sisters in the fictional land of Arendelle (though it’s loosely based on Norwegian landscapes). The elder sister, Elsa, lives in fear of her ability to manipulate ice and snow and ice-olates herself from younger sister, Anna. After a confrontation, Elsa heads for the hills seeking independence from princess life, but accidentally leaves Arendelle in a perpetual winter. With the help of a mountain man, a reindeer, and a talking, sunshine-obsessed snowman, Anna sets out to bring Elsa home.
Featuring such songs as “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” and “Let It Go,” the film experienced instant success across one of the widest demographics known to the history of film. Even a year later, from little girls to macho marines, people can’t seem to get enough. It’s not uncommon for a Disney princess movie to find success in a target audience, but the level mania that still follows “Frozen” around is unprecedented.
So what made all the difference this time? “Frozen” incorporates all the tell-tale themes of a Disney film: isolation, identity, and true love infused with magic and a sense of humor. However, in the end, audiences connected most with snow queen Elsa’s search for independence and place of her own in a world guided by strict rules. Yet, even that’s not uncommon territory for Disney, focusing on a female heroine to save the day (see “Mulan,” “Tangled,” and Disney/Pixar’s “Brave,” all critically and financially successful in their own rights). The difference with Elsa was her universal appeal as a flawed princess, her misguided shame for her own identity that took the world by snowstorm. In the last year, the success of “Frozen” has spawned not only the regular assortment of Halloween costumes and party favors, but Arendelle-themed vacations and even a live-action TV spin-off.
Though there is not set scientific formula for these things, when it comes to the success of your business, sometimes it just comes down to hitting the right note. Give your customers the right combination of quality products and outstanding service to latch on to. Give them something to love, and they’ll never let it go.