AMPERAGE Marketing & Fundraising

One-Minute MarketerWhat Can Disney Teach Us About Journey Mapping?

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What Can Disney Teach Us About Journey Mapping?

You may have heard that one of the newest techniques to understand customer experience is to journey map the entire customer/donor/patient/member/student experience from the time they first come in contact with your brand until they successfully engage, and beyond.

It’s a great exercise, but for most, it is difficult to see the organization from the perspective of the person they serve. It is easier to talk numbers than touchpoints, micromoments and conversions. But I read about a company that utilized a new method to understand the journey people travel to engage with your business. It’s a technique dating back to the first animated Disney movie. 

The technique is called “storyboarding.” We utilize the technique to visually show clients how a commercial will be videotaped and edited together. For most people, it makes much more sense than a script. One of the most successful ways to storyboard is to tape the various frames (with one idea or image) on a wall in sequential order. Soon you have the entire story laid out visually, so you can easily decipher all that is needed to complete the project.

Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky used this technique to roadmap customer experience after reading a biography of Walt Disney. The chapter was on Snow White (Disney’s first feature-length, animated film), so his process was called “Project Snow White.” Mr. Chesky’s team storyboarded the “perfect travel experience for a guest and the perfect travel experience for the host.”

Storyboarding brings the customer experience journey to life; it shows where you may have issues and where there are opportunities. It makes customer experience a story–and that is easier to communicate to staff.


Written by:

Mark wrote his first direct-mail fundraising letter in 1981 for the University of Iowa Center for Advancement. The effort raised a few million dollars in undiscovered wills and legacy gifts. From that day forward Mark discovered a love of the big idea that moves the needle. After 12 years at KWWL, Mark became a business owner as a co-founder of ME&V — rebranded as AMPERAGE in 2015. After 25 years of leading creative teams in video production, graphic design, PR, writing and web development, Mark transitioned out of ownership in 2021. Today he serves in an employee role as special projects consultant. He is creatively ambidextrous — son of an artist and engineer — and famous for distilling complex ideas down to a few words and a few visuals. Mark is a writer. When he found that many nonprofits struggled with complex branding puzzles, he wrote the book, “NonProfit-NonMarketing .” He also wrote a novel called “Reenactment.” Mark is an active blogger OneMinuteMarketer® with nearly 1,000 readers each week on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter. One of his most popular YouTube videos is on “How to Look Good on Zoom.” One of Mark’s fondest business memories was being named to INC 500 two times and attending the INC 500 conference with other winners. Mark is considered by some a Civil War expert (and that explains his novel). Mark also served as an adjunct professor in the business and in the communications departments at Wartburg College. Mark is a graduate of the University of Iowa and is currently vice president of the University of Iowa Journalism and Mass Communications Advisory Board. Mark is married to state Sen. Liz Mathis, and the two love to travel, even when it means being trapped by a volcano in the Czech Republic for three weeks.