In 2023 Disney will officially celebrate its 100th anniversary and with that in mind CEO Bob Chapek has outlined what he says are the three pillars to the success of the Walt Disney Company moving forward into its next century.
Many have questioned Chapek's motives and leadership of the Walt Disney Company since he took over as CEO from Bob Iger in 2020. Staff were sent a memo which began with Chapek thanking all staff "I want to start 2022 on a note of gratitude for all of you, your talent, dedication, and optimism during the most disruptive time in our company’s history." He also thanked Bob Iger for "the tremendous foundation Bob Iger left us." Chapek ended the memo with optimism saying "I believe Disney stands alone. We have the world’s most creative storytelling engine along with the world’s most beloved brands and franchises—which we can bring to life in ways no one else can."
The main point of the memo however, was to introduce and outline Chapek's vision for the future of the Walt Disney Company which revolves around three "strategic pillars" which are:
- Storytelling excellence
- Relentless Focus on our audience
Chapek explains that the aim regarding 'storytelling excellence' will be to continue to raise the bar in creativity and in order to put this in place he will hold monthly meetings with senior creative leaders to "discuss the opportunities we face as a storytelling enterprise. This will encourage collaboration, sharing of best practices, and stimulate cross-studio ideation."
Chapek spoke of Disney's "franchise ecosystem" in relation to 'innovation' and explained that Disney would aim to use new technology to develop and initiate original ideas as well as using the concept of the metaverse.
The third pillar "Relentless Focus on our audience" may create tension with some Disney fans who have criticised Chapek for solely focusing on Stakeholders rather than the guest/consumer. He says "We must evolve with our audience, not work against them. And so we will put them at the center of every decision we make."
The Walt Disney Company is of course a business of which the theme parks are a major part and which aims to make money, no one would dispute that. It will be interesting to see heading into Disney's second century if Chapek can truly respond to guest criticism and turn the tide and create the balance between money making and Disney guest experience that always made Disney stand out from the crowd and leaves people flocking to the Disney theme parks around the world to get a piece of that special Disney magic.