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The Magic of Setting

October 11, 2012 by Bruce Jones, Programming Director, Disney Institute

“Telling a story through setting means getting the details right.” - John Hench, Disney Imagineer

Imagine walking into your favorite store. As you drive to the front entrance you notice the landscaping and the signage out front. Walking inside you notice the cleanliness of the sidewalks. As you approach the double doors, is it obvious which to enter? Do I push or pull it open? Now you’re inside, is it clean and orderly?

Your setting will create an impression of your organization in the customer’s mind, it should also be used to assist the customer experience. Disney’s theme parks, for example, are based around one central hub to ease the navigational challenges Guests may experience in an unfamiliar environment.

Below are several distinct and unique settings. What does each say about the business? Which are you most drawn to and why?

Example 1

Example 2

Example 3

Example 4


Posted in Brand Loyalty | Tagged Brand Loyalty, The Magic of Setting | 3 Comments


3 Responses to The Magic of Setting

  • jennifer says:

    on October 11, 2012

    I really like the first two. The first one is obvious that it is about electronics. The second one would make me feel like I was eating authentic latin cuisine. The BK one doesnt grab me at all and I am not sure the purpose of the last one. That one does not catch my eye.


  • Michele says:

    on October 12, 2012

    Although appearance is important, I believe word of mouth from others supersedes appearance. A business can appear inviting but if the people that make up the business do not create an environment that is welcoming and if they do not communicate a feeling of warmth and/or "welcomeness", then appearance is lost. I often frequent mom and pop restaurants, and although they aren't fancy or streamlined, I feel welcomed and invited into the establishment because they treat me like they know me, like my business is important to them, that I'm important and that I'm part of their family; plus, when this feeling is paired with great food it keeps me coming back! I would also say that word of mouth can supersede the appearance of a restaurant or any other business. If others give a business high ratings, regardless of what it looks like, I'm more likely to become a customer myself.


  • Kenneth says:

    on October 24, 2012

    Regardless of "word of mouth" or other advertising means. A person generates an expectation of quality and service in the first 3-5 seconds upon entering a facility. Some opinions are already being influenced as the customer walks up to the facility, based on appearances and ease of access. Is there an easy flow within the building? Are the color schemes used appropriate? We you greeted as soon as you walked in the door? Was the building comfortable (temperature)? Did the building have an offensive odor? In a manner of seconds our brains process this information and we begin to draw conclusions of how the experience is going to go. Everything may be wrong, and the product or service is outstanding. But before you ever get to the point of enjoying the product and service, you have set certain expectations, and that can be a huge obsticle to overcome. Regardless of how great a product or service is provided. The overall experience can still be a disappointment, unless you pay attention to the finite details that another competitor may overlook. Some people say "don't sweat the small stuff. And it's all small stuff." But it's the small stuff that separates good from great and average from exceptional.


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