Written on 27 March 2014.
Roughly a decade ago Disneyland Paris executives were faced with a paradox: Their amusement park was the #1 tourist destination in Europe and yet it was still viewed by some, including the international press, as an unsuccessful import from America. What could they do?
In a recent lecture on the Lille campus, Disneyland marketing manager and Edhec alumnus Jean-Baptiste Clervoy (EDHEC 2012) explained how Disneyland Paris used experiential marketing to reinvigorate its bottom line and boost attendance to an all-time high of 16 million people in 2012.
“In these difficult times, we have to adapt to the environment and yet keep a long-term view,” he told students. “The key challenge for us therefore is to find the right balance in all our actions.”
Mr Clervoy delivered his lecture as part of a seminar organised by MSc in Marketing programme Director Guergana Guintcheva, who often reaches out to Edhec alumni to talk with students about real-life business challenges and solutions. This type of business outreach is part of the EDHEC for Business motto and proof of the relevance of its business education.
During his two-hour lecture, Mr. Clervoy described how Disneyland Paris built a marketing and public relations strategy that accentuated the myth and magic of the Disneyland experience. This strategy targeted families with young children, as well as adults who enjoy Disney films and other consumer products. The results were impressive, with solid gains in attendance, hotel occupancy rates, and annual revenue.
Disneyland Paris plans to follow-up with a brand communication strategy that will encourage parents to bring their children to the theme park at key moments in their childhood: for example, before they stop believing in fairy tales or before they enter adolescence. “The thinking here is that children grow up quickly and parents need to capture precious moments with them before they are gone forever,” explained Mr Clervoy.
Mr Clervoy encouraged students to use their EDHEC connections to find jobs post-graduation. He said he used the extensive EDHEC alumni network to meet his future boss, André Delvallée (EDHEC 1987). “Being an Edhec graduate means credibility on the job market as well as access to a strong network of alumni,” he said. “A good alumni network will serve you well throughout your business career.”