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Disney launches licensee portal to unify package design efforts

With more than 10,000 worldwide licensees in about 50 product categories, it's no mean feat that Disney Consumer Products is able to maintain such a cohesive brand position across all its licensed products. But the conglom has just added a new tool to its arsenal that should make presenting a united front at retail a whole lot easier.
September 1, 2007

With more than 10,000 worldwide licensees in about 50 product categories, it’s no mean feat that Disney Consumer Products is able to maintain such a cohesive brand position across all its licensed products. But the conglom has just added a new tool to its arsenal that should make presenting a united front at retail a whole lot easier.

DCP launched its web-based Brand & Image packaging tutorial in mid-July, after a year of development and licensee testing led by SVP of global creative Luis Fernandez. The goal of the project was to give all of the division’s licensee partners a comprehensive guide to using the company’s brand assets on product and POP displays at retail, but it promises to be particularly useful to companies playing in the packaging arena for the first time. ‘I always tell my team: ‘Just imagine you are the person being hired in India or in China,” says Fernandez. ”Are we making it easy for that person to visualize the potential for presenting our properties?” With Brand & Image, the answer is yes.

The tutorial is housed in a password-protected area of Disney Consumer Products’ website and can be accessed by any of DCP’s thousands of licensees and employees. Once a user clicks on the Brand & Image logo, they will be taken through two short videos that outline the company’s basic packaging guidelines, including placement and size of logos and images.

From there, a licensee can delve deeper by target demographic (infants, girls, boys, etc.), as if choosing a floor in a department store. Each section features all the properties aimed at that consumer group and is set up as a virtual store, providing a clear sense of how the product should look at retail. Licensees can navigate their way through these drilled-down store mock-ups, clicking on posters, packaging of various sizes and POP displays, and for each type of package or in-store marketing piece featured, there are step-by-step instructions on how to achieve Disney’s consistent branding. This is done through an interactive create-your-own virtual packaging option, a tutorial that walks users through the various stages of the design process, showing an updated product visual as each step is completed.

Even though the tutorial has just launched, Fernandez says it has already been registering extremely positive feedback. Whereas packaging information used to be presented in a static downloadable PDF form, the new approach has the benefit of offering an interactive experience. At press time, more than 400 licensees had already used the tutorial. And many, including preschool toy manufacturer Fisher-Price, had praised its straight-forward, intuitive format as extremely easy to use.

Though it’s early days still, Fernandez says that since the tutorial’s launch, first drafts and submissions for product concepts are ‘more on-brand than ever before.’ Not only has the edit and correction process become clearer, he’s noticed a significant improvement in communication, and much time has already been saved.

Fernandez and his team are currently working on the second phase of the hub, which involves finalizing the properties available and updating the FAQ section. This souped-up iteration should be ready for fall, and phase-three plans include an eventual redesign and updates to the portal’s functionality and accessibility.

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