How To Disneyfy Your Pet Business? [Disney Blueprint]

Pet shop with home animals, store interior with cat, dog, puppy, bird, fish in aquarium. Counter desk, accessories, food, toys, medicine on shelves. Petshop supermarket.

Disneyland generates 600% more profit per day than its closest competitor. So, when you hear the term “Disneyfy your business”, it simply refers to boosting up your profit at such an astronomical rate (just like Disney). But ever wondered how to do that?

The first step in making a business more like Disney is to have a unique marketing campaign. Many companies have succeeded by focusing on personal branding, storytelling, and introducing exciting characters.

Disneyfying a pet business is a somewhat new concept. That’s why there is still much confusion regarding what it means and how to achieve this. Keep reading to find out how you can implement Disney’s remarkable strategies in your pet business.

Key Takeaways

  • Disneyfying a pet business means following specific Disney strategies to boost profit.
  • The basic principle of “Disneyfying” is advertising the service you provide.
  • Using the storytelling method has been shown to pique buyer’s interest.
  • The more interesting & relatable your story is, the higher the chances of customers remembering your product.
  • In every brand story, you need a vicious villain as much as a relatable hero.
  • Ensuring a magical experience for the client is the key to getting loyal customers who are okay with premium prices.
How Do You Manage A Pet Shop?

What Does “Disneyfy” Mean?

Let’s start with the most basic question. What does “Disneyfy” mean? I didn’t know it was a legit word even a few months ago. Well, technically, it wasn’t a word.

Start-up coach Dominic Hodgson introduced this word to the world through his book “How to Disneyfy your pet business.” 

He started his first pet business called Pack Leader Dog Adventures in 2011. After many experiments, he found the ultimate hack to skyrocket a pet business’s profit in the shortest possible time. He calls it “Disneyfying” a business.

Disney uses these same strategies to bring in billions of dollars in revenue each year. I know it seems like Disney and your pet business are poles apart and have nothing in common. However, according to Dom Hudgson, Disney’s awesome marketing strategies apply to any business.

This is especially true for pet businesses. Disney targets your kids, and pet businesses focus on pets (who are like our kids). So, the tactics to impress a kid’s parents and a pet’s owners are pretty much the same. That’s why Disney case studies are helpful when starting a pet shop.

How Does The Disneyfying Process Work?

According to Dom Hudgson, a business can have two types of growth.

The first one is called “grow slow but profitable.” Here, a business owner focuses on continuously improving his product’s features. The growth rate is determined based on how much better the end product is compared to its competitors.

The second type of growth is called “grow fast but cheap.” It’s for those businesses that focus on selling something at a cheaper rate than the market. People are sensitive about price. So, having a lower price gives your company the extra sales it is looking for. But after a point, it gets more complicated.

What if the core competitors lower their prices, too? Considering your entire strategy is based on price, you have to cut back the cost somehow. It affects the product’s quality.

But what if I tell you that there’s a 3rd type of growth? It is called grow fast & profitable. That means you will grow your business by increasing prices (perhaps twice as much as it is now) multiple times a year.

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I know it sounds impractical. But that’s what Disneyfying a business means. It provides such astronomical changes in your profit pattern. For that, you have to shift your focus from the low-price strategy. Instead, be prepared to charge the highest fees for your services.

 Build a product you are 100% confident about, build a fantastic marketing campaign (mandatory), and ensure a memorable experience for the client. Boom! Your pet business is on the road to being ‘Disneyfied.”

IKEA transformed its brand and customer experience to focus more on an immersive storytelling aspect, as mentioned in the Strategy+Business source. They created a sense of escapism in their big-box stores.

Best-Selling Item Ideas for an Online Pet Shop

How Does Disneyfying Help Your Pet Business?

Did you know Disney collected almost $5.6B in revenue during 2022?

And, in 2023, the income was around $24B till July 1. What about its closest competitor in the theme park sector? Well, Six Flags managed to generate only $439M in 2022. 

The difference in revenue is too large to ignore. What is surprising is that no other Disney competitor is even close to Disney’s profit per year. It’s as if the only way to cover up the difference is through magic.

That’s why it’s called “Disneyfying,” a pet business when your goal is not just to beat your competitors but to be untouchable as well. 

Even though you can already guess, here’s a quick list of benefits you can expect.

Here is a side-by-side comparison of traditional pet business marketing versus Disneyfied approaches using BarkBox as an example, presented in a table:

ApproachTraditional MarketingDisneyfied Marketing
messagingFocus on product benefits like nutrition, durability, priceTell stories that create an emotional connection through themes of adventure, friendship and imagination
productsBasic toys, treats and suppliesThemed toys, treats and accessories tied to monthly storylines like “superhero dogs” or “jungle explorers”
packagingPlain boxes or bagspersonalized boxes decorated like gifts bringing the story to life, like BarkBox’s monthly illustrated theme boxes
retail environmentShelves of items organized by categoryinteractive areas transporting customers to themed worlds like a dog park or castle, bringing the story offline
customer experienceTransactional, focused on specsMagical experience through storytelling that builds excitement and loyalty, like BarkBox’s monthly storyline reveals

1. Transforms Your Boring Business

Are you into dog walking, babysitting, or grooming? Then, it doesn’t have to be a boring business. Most pet businesses are based on a product and some pretty straightforward marketing techniques. 

Dominic Hudgson points out this issue by saying, “Nobody cares how passionate you are about pets if you don’t advertise it properly.” 

Some owners like to boost ads on social media from time to time or sponsor influencers to talk about the business. It’s almost the same boring process for any kind of pet category.

But to Disneyfy your pet business, you will need to use the power of storytelling. Focusing on brand promotion through telling an engaging story is the first pillar of a “Disneyfied” business.

This simple thing sets Disney apart from any other business model. And it will do the same for you, too.

Here is a breakdown of the storytelling process into components with examples for a pet business, presented in a table:

ComponentDescriptionPet Business Example
Identify a pain pointFind an issue owners face and tap into their emotionsA toy that helps anxious dogs left alone, by telling the story of a brave dog learning independence
Tell a storyWeave a narrative around the pain point to draw customers inThe tale of a shy cat gaining confidence through play in a magical castle toy
Create a villainAdd conflict to increase stakes and make the hero’s journey meaningfulTreats that help dogs feel brave when loud noises scare them, by defeating the “monster of thunder”
Introduce a heroShow how the product solves the problem as the hero defeats the villainA cuddly toy unicorn that protects pets from loneliness while owners are away
Ensure a magical experienceBring the story to life through packaging, displays and customer experienceAn interactive “enchanted forest” section of a pet store transporting shoppers into the stories

Here is a table showcasing how products can be differentiated using Disneyfication, with columns for traditional vs Disneyfied features and examples:

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ProductTraditional FeaturesDisneyfied Features
Pet foodNutritional specs, ingredients“Chemical-free hero” food helping pets defeat pollution villain through story on bag/website
ToyMaterial, shape for playPlush toy resembling brave animal character with backstory teaching lessons
TreatFlavor, size“Magic berry” treats with story and packaging about helping pets on adventures in Enchanted Forest
BedFabric, dimensionsBed resembling a cozy castle or cloud with story about royal/brave animal character ensuring pets feel like heroes

2. More Familiarity With Your Brand

After the introduction of Mr. Mucus, #beatthezombiefunk got around 5.7B shares. That’s what great storytelling does to a business. The campaign also boosted the search for Mr. Mucus by 167.5%.

And that’s just one example of how smart marketing can boost your brand’s popularity. 

Even Disney itself follows the same pattern. They produce content for children to become a household name. And it works. Disneyland’s annual revenue is the evidence for that. It’s simple logic. There’s no use in screaming all day why your product is better. Nobody remembers it.

 Instead, try to build an engaging marketing campaign, be it personal branding or interesting storytelling. Sometimes, the barrier between your company and a healthy stream of profit is the lack of promotional activities.

Here is a comparison of marketing campaigns by pet businesses, highlighting how Disneyfied strategies enhance impact, in a table:

BusinessTraditional CampaignDisneyfied CampaignImpact of Disneyfication
PupperazziShowed photos of dogs in outfitsLaunched “Paw Patrol” line with characters from the TV show, each with unique outfits and personalitiesIncreased engagement of kids and parents through relatable characters telling a story
PurinaListed benefits of new dog foodCreated “Nutri-Pups” characters embodied in food, each representing a nutrient and going on adventures to educate kidsTurned learning about nutrition into an entertaining story kids wanted to follow and be a part of
PetcoPromoted new toys and treatsProduced web series “Petcetera” with animal characters each selling a product through their storylineDrew customers into an emotive narrative driving online traffic and in-store visits to interact with the characters’ world

3. Grow At An Astronomical Rate

This is by far the most lucrative benefit of the whole process. You are trying to stand out from other businesses. You advertise more often, focus on story-telling, and create memorable characters to stay in the customer’s mind. Profit is the direct result of these actions. I have already discussed this part in detail. 

Businesses can either choose to give the lowest price or the highest value. In the first case, your growth is temporary. It is hard to gain loyal customers following this strategy. They will switch once they find another brand with cheaper prices than yours. 

The second option is time- and effort-consuming. Disneyfying a business gives you a third choice.

The strategy emphasizes building a brand, being known as the best in the industry, and don’t hold back with the price. Charge whatever you feel is reasonable for your brand. Shift your focus from customers who only want the lowest price to buyers who don’t mind premium prices for something extra special.

4. New Competitive Advantage 

Being more popular than other businesses in the industry is surely a competitive advantage. Just look at any successful venture. A competitive advantage must back it up. 

“Competitive advantage” means a special feature your business owns that’s hard to replicate. And the features don’t always refer to products. Your unique marketing tactics can be your advantage as well. In fact, once customers notice your brand and how you promote it, they will easily identify when anyone else tried to copy you. So, you are safe.

Lego adopted Disney’s strategy of creating franchises and characters to build a cinematic universe around its brand, as noted in the Wedsociety source. This helped Lego thrive despite tough economic times.

Global Pet Industry Statistics & Trends Infographic

What Is The Formula To Disneyfy A Pet Business?

I think the whole Disneyfying process has piqued your interest by now. So, let’s look at an actionable formula (if we can say so).

Here is a summary of key Disneyfication strategies and examples of how they can be implemented in a pet business, presented in a table:

Disneyfication StrategyExample Implementation for Pets
StorytellingCreate backstories and personalities for pet treats or toys, such as “these treats will help your pup go on adventures in the enchanted forest”
Character creationDesign pet products like clothes, toys or beds with Disney-like characters that pets and owners can relate to, such as a toy that looks like a friendly dragon
Magical experienceUse Disney themes in a pet store environment through music, visuals and interactive areas to create a sense of wonder, such as a “pixie hollow” section where cats can play

1. Pick A Pain Point

Understand what you are selling. By that, I don’t mean the mere product. For any product or service to be successful, it must solve a pain point. If you are selling food, you are actually offering a solution to hunger. 

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That’s how you have to visualize the product you sell.

Once you know the pain point, you can start building a compelling story around it.

Let’s take Mucinex, for example. They have used the “storytelling” or “make it personal” marketing strategy similar to Disney. First of all, they acknowledged that they were not offering syrups or tablets. In fact, they were giving customers a way to escape illness (cold, flu, etc). 

2. Tell A Story 

Reportedly, customers make purely rational buying decisions only 10% of the time. The rest of 90% of their shopping spree comes from an emotional connection. 

That means they are more likely to buy products if their brain recognizes the brand, remembers the story, or likes your store’s vibe. 

So, you see why those extra hours in R&D were not paying off. There’s a very good chance you are losing potential customers because you haven’t built a connection yet. 

In Disney’s theme parks, people are paying $25-$35 for merchandise that is only $5-$8 at Walmart.

What’s the difference? In the park, every piece of merch, be it a mug or headband, has a Disney stamp on it.

Or, to make it pricier, a picture of your favorite character might be printed. And that’s the result of story-telling.

Disney focuses on creating iconic characters. Once you fall in love with the story, selling merchandise is easy-peasy. Even though you know the items are selling at an exceptionally high mark-up, you still pay.

3. Create A Vicious Villain

Iconic Disney stories are not only famous for their heroes. The villains played a huge part in making the stories memorable. For example, when you think of Cinderella, the evil stepmother automatically comes into your mind.

In fact, you only empathize with Cinderella because her stepmother made her life miserable. I can say the same for the evil queen in Snow White or the old witch in Rapunzel. 

Now, why is this information relevant here? Well, you see, to disneyfy your business, you have to bring a villain in your brand’s story. Take Mucinex, for example, again. Do you remember Mr. Mucus? Yes, that Green slimy cartoon character they introduced as their brand mascot.

Mr. Mucus represents the flu or cold in our chest. Mucinex positions it as a villain who doesn’t want us to get better. And people were instantly invested in the brand. 

Reportedly, almost 61.4% of buyers recognized the brand only by seeing Mr. Mucus. 

It’s because all of them have a common hatred for Mr. Mucus. They can relate to the horrible feelings of sickness that this character has. To ensure your story has a vicious villain, discover all the problems your product solves.

I have already discussed how to do so in the previous section. Secondly, choose one single or main problem you want the customers to relate to. It’s just easier to brand or tell a story with one problem or villain.

Kraft adopted Disney’s model of acquiring other food brands and creating synergies between them. This allowed them to expand their brand portfolio.

4. Introduce A Relatable Hero

Now that your villain is ready, your story needs a hero to combat it. And the hero is none other than the product you are selling. The marketing campaign should be customized so that your product looks like the only viable solution against the villain.

For example, in the case of Mr. Mucus, the protagonist is Mucinex.

Once people start rooting for your hero, they will consider your brand as a superior one. However, keep one thing in mind.

Even though your product has various features, highlight the part that actively solves the problem you advertised.

For example, if you are selling organic pet food, the hero in your story should be the “chemical-free” tag. Even though there are other things to say as well, like tasty, affordable, etc.

Talking about too many qualities can change how a customer remembers your brand. While branding, it’s advisable to be known for one quality only. In this case, it would be “organic” or natural.

You want the customer to think about your brand anytime they want natural or organic treats for their pets. To make that happen, you have to highlight this specific feature more often.  

5. Ensure A Magical Experience

“Successful people don’t do different things. They do things differently.” 

Yes, creating an exceptional experience for your customers starts with this mindset. For example, there are so many pet accessories shops both online & offline. Why would a customer bother buying from you only? 

You have to put yourself in the buyer’s shoes. Then, think about what will make the customers visit again. It can be something as simple as your store’s décor to customer service.

Pet services concept icons set. Grooming center services app. Grooming services options. Animal care idea thin line RGB color illustrations. Vector isolated outline drawings. Editable stroke

According to Dom Hudgson, you should give newsletters and vouchers to customers. Even if the number of buyers is not huge yet, you should focus on giving special treatment to visitors. Reportedly, customers receiving such thank-you cards are most likely to visit again if the product is okay.

Unfortunately, there’s no specific guideline for ensuring a magical experience. It comes from knowing your customers very well. For example, as a pet daycare owner, you can bring many comfort toys to help the pets deal with anxiety or separation.

You can ask for a list of food the pets enjoy and feed them similar items. To give a more pleasant experience, you can also include homemade pet food, organic treats, etc.

In short, your goal is to stand out as a pet daycare. The experience pet owners get from your daycare must be unmatchable. That’s how you create magic in a pet business.

Here is an outline of various customer experience strategies contrasting traditional vs Disneyfied approaches in a table:

StrategyTraditional ApproachDisneyfied Approach
Store environmentPlain aisles organized by categoryThemed areas transporting customers into story worlds (e.g. magical forest, enchanted castle)
Staff uniformsStandard uniformsCostumes fitting themed areas to further immerse customers
Customer serviceEfficient transactions“Cast members” engaging customers in the stories through product demos
SignageInformational signsStorytelling signs and displays bringing products to life
Special eventsSales promotionsImmersive experiences (e.g. meet characters, make toys)
Customer databaseContact list for offersProfiles including customer “role” in the story universe for tailored engagements
Loyalty programRewards for purchasesExclusive story content, merchandise for superfans

Domino’s Pizza transformed its stores and customer experience to focus more on family-friendly atmospheres, learning from Disney’s success. This helped attract more customers.

5. Charge Premium Prices

Once you are confident about the experience you are offering, you don’t have to worry about charging more. Why do you think parents don’t mind spending months of savings to visit Disneyland? They can just take their kids to an affordable theme park and call it a day. You see, Disneyland is no longer just a theme park for children.

It seems like an experience- a magical experience parents want to give their children before they grow up. Watching your kid’s eye twitch when their favorite characters show up in costume is something out of the world. And that’s what Disney promises to provide. 

Or take Mucinex, for example. The company very smartly has positioned itself as the only way to defeat Mr. Mucus. So, whenever they feel sick or catch a cold, they think of Mr. Mucus.

The next minute, they will look for Mucinex as it is marketed to defeat Mr. Mucus. Interesting, right? I don’t think the result would have been as impressive if the company only advertised its tonics the usual way. 

Before You Leave!

I know the whole disneyfying process looks overwhelming. And, as a beginner, you might have other worries in your head. If so, here is my beginner-friendly blueprint for a successful pet start-up. Once you have the basics sorted out, you can always disneyfy the profit. Good Luck!

Article link: Beginner’s Guide To Selling Pet Accessories [Hidden Blueprint]

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Muntaseer Rahman

About Author

Hello, I’m Muntaseer Rahman, the owner of I’m passionate about aquarium pets like shrimps, snails, crabs, and crayfish. I’ve created this website to share my expertise and help you provide better care for these amazing pets.


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