Pixar Draws Loyal Viewers and Employees

This is a guest post by Lauren Michaels, After studying film at UCLA, Lauren found that her second love, writing, allowed her to be both critic and harbinger of infortmation. She now freelances for a variety of entertainment publications and is a regular at her local theater.

Moviegoers adore Disney’s digital animation giant, Pixar, with nearly 11.5 million users “liking” its official fan page on Facebook. Although Pixar specializes in making children’s movies, it is the kind of company that permanently brands adults — as well as their kids — as lifelong fans.

Marketing guru Peter Fisk of The Genius Works website says that successful brands have “bigger ambitions” than selling products. “They give business purpose, shared with customers,” Fisk adds. The bottom line, Fisk says, is that Pixar makes life better by inspiring people. More than a mere animation studio, Pixar is a career-making company that helps build enrollment in the animation programs of many an art school, including the venerable California Institute of Arts where Pixar executive John Lasseter honed his creativity.

Workplace Humanity and Continuing Education
Art school students are drawn to the humanistic branding of Pixar’s products, as well as the company’s workplace culture, which nurtures creativity and teamwork. Pixar’s campus in Emeryville, California, is about as far from cubicle culture as a creative type can imagine.

Fisk notes that as Jobs restructured the company, he allowed designers to construct and decorate their individual workspaces and provided airy atriums containing cafes and a wood-fired pizza oven. An on-the-job training program called Pixar University fosters creativity through encouraging workers to become well-rounded. The program offers classes ranging from dance to astrophysics and conservation.

Pixar also gives its employees the time to “do things right” and get their work “pixel perfect,” according to Copyblogger. In short, Pixar prefers delays to doing things poorly. Other businesses could learn a lot from this philosophy and the loyalty it ensures.

New and Old Values
BusinessWeek reports that Pixar’s recent release, Brave, continues “an unbroken record of first-place openings.” Despite its emphasis on the importance of self-actualization, the movie also contains an indelible element of Pixar branding that permeates both its movies and work culture: an old-fashioned concern for interconnectedness. Classics such as Toy Story and Finding Nemo are all about the importance of family and community, and going to great lengths to love one another. In Brave, Merida discovers that by running away to find adventure, she has endangered her family and kingdom. It is up to her to be courageous and save those she loves.

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