In October 2007, I wrote a post on my branding blog, Brandcurve, about the Disney brand strategy. In the post, I referenced a q&a session with Disney (NYSE: DIS) CFO Tom Staggs at the Merrill Lynch 2007 annual Media Fall Preview event where Staggs basically revealed the secret to Disney’s brand strategy – identify strong, popular brands then exploit them around the world.
WIth that brand strategy in mind, I was actually surprised to read that Disney is abandoning its brand name on one of its popular properties. According to Brandweek, Disney will remove the Disney brand name from its sports complex at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida and replace it with the ESPN brand name.
Of course, Disney owns 80% of ESPN (Hearst Corp. owns the remaining 20%), but I was still surprised by this move. It seems to run counter to the Disney brand strategy, particularly since the move entails removing the Disney name from a complex on Disney property.
I’m not saying that rebranding the sports complex with the ESPN name doesn’t make sense from a marketing and business perspective. Certainly, ESPN is more closely associated with sports. I’m just surprised that Disney, who likes to have its brand on everything, has chosen to remove its name from what is not only a popular complex but also one on the property of its most popular theme park destination.
What are your thoughts on this Disney branding decision?
Photo source: Flickr
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