Is Your Show Like Disneyland?

When’s the last time you spent a day or two at Disneyland or Disney World?

How did you feel at the end of your visit? Excited? Tired? Worn out? Did you feel like you couldn’t wait to go back? Probably. Disney does a great job delivering expectation, while still surprising you with something new and fresh almost every time you go back.

Disney has delivered so many magical moments to so many families, guests have high expectations. They expect the Indiana Jones Adventure to be there, along with The Main Street Electrical Parade, Mickey and Minnie better be there greeting the kids and the Matterhorn is always open. Those things are taken for granted. And just meeting expectations is not enough.

But guests also expect to be surprised, to experience something new and different. A new attraction. There’s a new Toy Story section, or a Frozen attraction. They never stop inventing, because Disney knows that without offering something fresh into the mix, guests get complacent.

What would happen if they didn’t innovate and your experience was basically the same each time you visited? Chances are, you’d be a little less excited about going back to ride the Tea Cups or It’s a Small World again. It’s  fun, but not buzz-worthy. It would be a little less important. Maybe you’d go back, but wouldn’t anticipate it quite so much, and maybe it would be longer between visits. You’re still a fan, but those fewer visits costs Disney revenue.

You’re in the same business as Disney. Entertainment. Show Biz. And your show faces the same challenges. There are certain expectations that must be met. Your fans hold you to a higher standard. You must deliver their expectation with new, exciting features and attractions to surprise and delight your audience.

Without new ideas, your show will lose it’s importance, a sense of urgency. Your standard go-to’s may still be entertaining, but over time, it’s not as special. It’s not as urgent to tune in. They don’t stop listening, and they’re still fans. They just stop coming back as often. You’re leaking quarter hours by losing frequent visits to your show the way Disney could lose return visits to the park.

There’s another factor as well, especially relevant for legacy shows. Successful heritage personalities usually generate more advertiser interest and as a result, you have more commercials on your show than your competition. It’s the same at Disney. They charge more to get in, and lines for their attractions are looooonnnnngggg. But for the right entertainment, it doesn’t matter. Because it’s worth it.

Everyone is competing for attention. There’s constant pressure to innovate, and the pressure is greatest on prolific, dominant personalities. You might think that’s unfair, but that’s the way it is. You are held to a higher standard, just like Disney. What are you doing to exceed those expectations?

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