- Sep 23
Story Selling for Your Certification
Disney World, located near Orlando, FL, opened October 1, 1971. It consisted of one theme park, the Magic Kingdom, which attracted more than 500,000 visitors its first year.
By 2018, Disney World was hosting 52 million visitors annually. The site now comprises four theme parks, two water parks, three PGA golf courses and a camping resort, which together total an estimated $18 billion in market value.
Eight years befor the opening, Disney World was 27,000 acres of central Flordia swamp land.
Walt Disney had an eye for real estate.
But his eyesight was no match for his vision, which saw the wonder and curiosity of the inner child living inside every toddler, teenager, Mom, Dad and grandparent.
His genius was creating experiences where the inner child could come to play and imagine a world without limits.
Enter the Imagineers
In 1952, Disney 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 current market value of The Walt Disney Company is a staggering $170 billion. It’s a storytelling, story-selling juggernaut.
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 marketing your own certification program:
Know your audience
- Wear your guests' shoes. Experience life from their point of view.
- Organize the guest experience. Simple is always best.
- Tell one story at a time. Focus on the Big Idea. Make it crystal clear.
- Avoid overload. Big Idea first, details later.
- Visuals tell stories better than words.
- Maintain story purity. Anything that doesn't add, subtracts.
- Keep evolving. Don't let your message go stale. You have many stories to tell.
Don Miller, author of the New York Times bestseller, Building a Story Brand says that clear messaging wins every time. People don't buy the best products or services. They buy the ones that are easiest to understand.
In fact, Miller claims that our brains are hardwired to resist complexity. Doing so conserves energy essential for survival. Marketers have to invite people into a story—like the one for your certification—with very clear story elements.
Look at Mickey's Commandments above. Notice the emphasis on clarity and the importance of pacing information. Big Idea first, details later. Simple advice from a $170 billion story-selling juggernaut.
Keep this 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.