Walt Disney’s Parks and resorts division roots go back to December 16, 1952, when Walt Disney formed WED Enterprise to develop Disneyland in California. Walt Elias Disney, Enterprise was privately owned by Walt Disney until 1963 when it merged into Walt Disney Productions. From the onset of the Disney parks and resorts with the development of Disneyland in 1955, Walt Disney clearly defined Disney’s target market as becoming a primary travel destination for families. From the adaptation of the Disney parent company’s mission statement “To make people happy,” Disney’s parks and resorts division has continued to develop to make more and more people happy (Disney,2010).
Marketing communications, known as “Promotion” in the 4Ps model, is defined as the process giving the persuasive information to the target consumers (Frazier and Summers, 1984). Furthermore, marketing communications are some tools employed by companies to communicate, advise and remain consumers with the transformation of the information on products, brands and service (Kotler et al. 2005). However, along with relationship marketing paid closer attention to by scholars and practitioners, during the process of implementing marketing communication, feedback is more important aspect for companies to trace and meet consumers’ needs and facilitate the marketing strategy formulation and implementation. Duncan and Moriarty (1997) and Zinkhan et al. (1996) stated that the two-way communications based on the interactive relationship between marketers and consumers can further improve and maintain the closer and health relationship. Marketing communication based on two-way communication between marketers and consumers can identify, develop and maintain this relationship benefited from by marketers and consumers (Grönroos, 2000). Marketing communication not only is a process of informing and remaining consumers, but also is an interactive process of two-way communication between marketers and consumers.
Kotler et al. (2005) argued that marketing communications mix for achieving companies’ advertising and marketing goals consists of advertising, personal selling, sales promotion, public relations and direct marketing. Compared with the previous combination, marketing communication mix consists of some main aspects including advertising, public relationship, sales promotion, personal selling, sponsorships, events and direct marketing (Shimp, 2003). Sponsorship, as the influential channel of marketing communication, can improve the performance of sales, alter consumer attitudes toward the specific products and service, sharp the image of corporation and brand and develop and maintain the closer relationship between marketers and consumers (Shank, 1999). Since sponsorships and events marketing can facilitate the implementation of marketing strategy and lead consumers to emphasize on the aspects stressed significantly by marketers, these two marketing communications channels are applied to developing marketing communication by most marketers.
From the practical perspective, sales force, retail showrooms, catalogs, print advertising, television advertising, sampling by mail and word of mouth are the common marketing communications channels and tools (Wernerfelt, 1996). Furthermore, under the circumstance of the interactive relationship among marketing, advertising, marketing communication and public relations, practical marketing communications tools contain four aspects in the following table.
This section will give the detailed analysis and understanding of the question of how Hong Kong Disneyland plan and employ marketing communications strategies to approach the specific given target markets. In this report, China (Hong Kong) and Singapore will be chose as these two specific target markets. Since Hong Kong, located on the south coast of China, has the difference cultures differentiating from China mainland, this report will choose this special territory as one of two main target markets. Singapore is a unique country on an island in Southeast Asia and between Malaysia and Indonesia. Furthermore, in order to better analyze the process of marketing communications and the similarities and differences of marketing communications between Hong Kong and Singapore, this report will consider choosing some specific marketing communications cases of Hong Kong Disneyland.
When designing the marketing communications strategies, Hong Kong Disneyland will significantly consider the target markets needs and characteristics for transmitting the proper messages to these target markets through marketing communications channels. For example, Celebrating Disney Princess Academy, as the special promotion of Disney Princess Collection, and Celebrating the Magic of Hong Kong Disney are chose as case study for interpreting how Hong Kong Disneyland understanding the target markets needs and characteristics and informing appropriate information through marketing communication tools and channels.
Celebrating Disney Princess Academy is considered as one special promotion of Disney Princess Collection including Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, Cinderella, Jasmine, Belle and Ariel. This combination will exert stronger influence on consumers than single princess does. Based on the characteristics of this celebrating, Hong Kong Disney considered young girls (4 to12) and office ladies, mothers and families in Hong Kong and Singapore as the two most important target markets (HKILS, 2010).
As regards these two significant target markets, a proper promotional message is important for Hong Kong Disneyland to attract and retain target consumers. In this promotion of Celebrating Disney Princess Academy, the message of “Join the Disney mall event and win the chance to experience how to be a princess who once in a life time unique experience for both mothers and daughters” is designed and employed by Hong Kong Disneyland to Hong Kong and Singapore. This message emphasizing on unique experience of being a princess in a life time motivated most target consumers’ child’s beautiful dream of becoming an elegant princess. From the perspective of consumer behavior, an appropriate message will improve the level of consumers’ involvement. Hong Kong Disney designing this message is based on the thoughtful understanding of consumers’ needs and promotion’s characteristics and features.
As the previous discussed, community relations can improve the efficiency of marketing communications and facilitate the positive source of word of mouth. Hong Kong Disney stressed that community relations and communication, as the important part of corporate culture, was considered as the significant strategy to undertake corporate social responsibilities and improve the corporate and brand image and others (Hong Kong Disney, 2010). Some program, such as work experience and training for students and external volunteers, environment protection, green purchasing and sourcing, community service, not only offer better service for community and company, but also give an important opportunity for employees to understanding and respecting consumers and others surrounding them. Furthermore, this is a chance for consumers and communities cognize and understanding Hong Kong Disneyland deeply. Community relations and communications employed by Hong Kong Disneyland has changed and improved the relationship and marketing communications between Hong Kong Disneyland and its consumers.
The key similarities and differences of the marketing communications in Hong Kong and Singapore will be expressed in the development and delivery of message under cross-cultural circumstance. Under the cross-cultural environment, different cultures to a certain extent may influence the efficiency and quality of marketing communications. Furthermore, cultures will exert a considerable influence on four dimensions of communication including mission, proposition, concept and execution (Van Raaij, 1995). When considering employing marketing communications with consumers in Hong Kong and Singapore, Hong Kong Disneyland will importantly concentrate on the different cultures affecting the quality and performance of marketing communications. Since the Walt Disney Company considered oversea markets as the most crucial market for more than 75% of its revenues from overseas markets (Marr & Fowler, 2005), Hong Kong Disneyland viewed Hong Kong and Singapore as two significant target markets. Furthermore, Hong Kong and Singapore are viewed as the two important leading international tourist destinations in Southeast Asia. The similarities between Hong Kong and Singapore in culture contain the common traditional custom and the human closer relationship and family. For example, in this Celebrating Disney Princess Academy, Hong Kong Disneyland concentrated on the target audiences of mother and daughter. However, the differences between Hong Kong and Singapore in culture consist of freedom and insecurity (Teo and Chang, 1998; Mok and Dewald, 1999; Henderson, 2002). In Hong Kong, celebrities were invited to participate the marketing communications for releasing the easy and relax atmosphere.
When planning and designing the integrated marketing communications, Hong Kong Disneyland needs employees to implement this strategy. However, since the Walt Disney Company enhanced and improved the quality of Disney service under the environment of cross-culture, the employees in Hong Kong Disneyland often are trained in other Disney resorts (Boldt et al. 2008). This training program made most employees weaken the quality of marketing communications because of different cultural background. Furthermore, in terms of Boldt et al. (2008), Disney cannot target and attract more and more families. In other words, considerable amount of families do not have enough interest in Disney. These two key issues will weaken the performance of integrated marketing communications.
However, Hong Kong Disneyland employed integrated marketing communications through the application of traditional mass media, internet-based media, new formation of media, shows, exhibition and the exact understanding of message. These items will strengthen the quality of integrated marketing communications.
In the case of Celebrating Disney Princess Academy, Hong Kong Disney designed messages, developed and integrated marketing communications tools and the evaluation of media coverage to indicate that integrated marketing communications are developed by Hong Kong Disneyland. Integrated marketing communications is defined as a strategic marketing process that design, develop, implement and assess marketing communication programs of target audiences (Schultz and Schultz, 2004). The following will employ the framework analyzing integrated marketing communications. The framework is derived from Schultz and Kitchen (2000)
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