Mickey’s Commandments for Marketing Your Certification

In 1952, the Walt Disney Company formed an engineering division that would eventually become Disney Imagineering, the creative force behind the company’s theme parks, resorts, attractions, cruise ships, stores and entertainment venues worldwide.

Imagineers are the talented people who magically merge art and science, turning fantasy into reality.

But their real skill is storytelling.

The Walt Disney Company is a storytelling, story-selling juggernaut with a staggering market capitalization of $170 billion.

As if to underscore the simple story that built his company into a theme-park, media and retailing giant, Walt Disney was fond of saying, “Always remember that this whole thing was started by a mouse.”

What Does All This Have To Do With Certification?

If you’re a certification sponsor, you’re telling a story, whether you intend to or not.

And your prospects are telling themselves a story about what your certification could do for them.

What if your certification story fueled their certification story?

Well, by our estimation, that’d make you a rock-star Imagineer for your organization.

At a workshop in 1999, Mickey Steinberg, vice president of Disney Imagineering, gave a presentation that later became known as Mickey’s Commandments.

See if you find some takeaways for the marketing message of your own certification program:

Mickey’s Commandments: Know your audience

  1. Wear your guests’ shoes. Experience life from their point of view.
  2. Organize the guest experience. Simple is always best.
  3. Tell one story at a time. Focus on the Big Idea. Make it crystal clear.
  4. Avoid overload. Big Idea first. Details later.
  5. Visuals tell stories better than words.
  6. Maintain story purity. Anything that doesn’t add, subtracts.
  7. Keep evolving. Don’t let your message go stale. You have many stories to tell.

The Power of Clarity

Don Miller, author of the Wall Street Journal bestseller, Building a Story Brand, reports that consumers don’t buy the best products or services. They buy the ones that are easiest to understand.

Miller claims that our brains are hardwired to resist complexity. Doing so conserves energy essential for survival, which is the brain’s most important daily task.

Marketers have to invite people into a story—like the one for your certification—with very clear story elements. Miller describes story as a sense-making device.

Look at Mickey’s Commandments above.

Notice the emphasis on clarity and the importance of pacing information for prospects. Big Idea first. Details later.

Simple advice about simplicity from a $170 billion story-selling machine.

Keep Mickey’s Commandments in mind as you tell the story of your certification to your two audiences, prospects whom you want to register for your exam, and certificants whom you want to recertify.

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