Episode 213 – Kenny Funk talks about brand deposits, retail as gratuity, and one size fits one

Leadership, Podcast, Retail

Kenny Funk has been in the attractions and resort industry since 1996. With 21 years with Walt Disney World and 3 years at Great Wolf Lodge, Kenny has been leading the charge to rethink retail. Kenny is now an independent contractor with the Magic Makers Group, a cohort of ex-Disney executives that combined have over 500 years of experience in all facets of theme park and resort operations.

Brand deposits

“There is no grey area with brand deposits and withdrawals. It’s either one or the other.”

Kenny defines brand deposits as the little employees and organizations do every day that reinforce their brand promise. At an attraction, that could mean being ready for the projected crowd, having enough ride vehicles ready to go, ensuring your systems and processes are up to date, and preparing your team, one by one, to deliver on the brand promise from whatever role they are in that day.

One component of enforcing and encouraging the behaviors that bring the brand promise to life is to catch people doing something good. Telling them specifically what they did and how it creates a brand deposit is the “wing beneath the wings” of an employee and will encourage them to repeat the desired behavior. Kenny shared that there is nothing less impactful than an ambiguous compliment.

There are naturally going to withdrawals that we have to recover from, and the message to the team is, “we’re going to have to overdo deposits” to make up for it.

Retail as gratuity

“Guests will want to commemorate their amazing experience with a tangible reminder.”

Guests view their day at an attraction in aggregate, meaning they don’t necessarily know or care what different departments or teams are providing the experience, they just know if it’s good or bad. If it’s good, guests will be compelled to offer a “gratuity” by purchasing a tangible reminder of their experience.

“By definition, memories are ethereal”, Kenny says. When guests have enjoyed their experience, they don’t want it to end. One way to ensure that it doesn’t end is to take something home that will serve as a continual reminder.

Guests have a choice if they will leave a tip in a restaurant environment, similarly they have a choice if they are going to leave a tip with their “most disposable” part of the attraction experience.

The biggest driver for any business is the intent to return. If an organization creates an environment where guests have such a great time that they are compelled to come back, that organization has to spend less on marketing to get new guests to visit.

One size fits one

“Leadership is a customized exercise, as opposed to a commoditized exercise.”

Young leaders often get bogged down with trying to lead the entire team at once and according to Kenny, you just can’t do that. You have to lead individuals, and individuals comprise the team.

The essence of leadership is taking time to make a difference for that one… that single person or employee. If you don’t think of your employees as individual entities, you are far less likely to be successful as a leader.

In order to lead individuals, it’s important to recognize that we have to engage their head, heart and hands. That means that to the individual, we need to understand what drives them intellectually, what their passions are, and what specific skills they bring to the table.

To get in touch with Kenny, reach to him through the Magic Makers Group website: Magic Makers Group

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