Home » 3 Things Watching Moana On Repeat Taught Me About Branding Milspouses

3 Things Watching Moana On Repeat Taught Me About Branding Milspouses

Sue me. I LOVE Disney’s Moana.

I’m also thirty-four, male and have five daughters but forget them!  I’d watch this film gem even if I didn’t have my girls. It’s great. Really it is. Watch it. There’s a chicken in it.

This freakin’ guy. Hey-Hey, you are my spirit animal.

But the thing is, I didn’t always love it. If you’ve ever spent time with children, you’re probably aware of what I call Playback Syndrome. This is when a child gains access to any new movie, show or song and plays it over and over and over again. Honestly I’m not giving the experience justice.  When I say they will play it (in this case, Moana) again, I mean it.

They will play it until the CD skips.

They’ll borrow your phone and play it until your unlimited data plan cracks, calls you names and walks the hell out of your life.

They’ll play it until endings become beginnings and you question
the properties of time itself. It’s horrifying.

Then something happens.

You’ll go from enjoying it fairly well the first time to hating it after the tenth. And then you’ll play it again because, why not, you’ve already sacrificed hours of your life to a mythical legend, the best damn chicken ever and quite possibly the strongest female character Disney’s ever written.

Sorry Rapunzel, I still got love for you girl!

So you hit the play button, sit back and wait for the suffering to begin as you try and do other things while the kiddos are occupied.

And then you start to hum.

Then comes the quiet singing. You’ll notice the smile curling your lip soon enough.  It feels good so you sing louder. And you dance. And then you realize you’re standing behind a couch full of kids like you’ve got something else to do in just a moment.

You don’t.

Not anymore because now you’re sitting, singing, laughing and legit crying.

Yeah, Grandma. (SNIFF). You did pick the right tattoo.


Know what though? You love every single second of it.

The question is…why? What happened?

There’s a couple things going on here. The first has a few technical, fancy-pants marketing names. I won’t even name them since you’re not marketers. Instead, I’ll just call it brainwashing.

1) I Was Brainwashed (Recognition)

Yup. I went there.

Playback Syndrome has a very distinct affect. It creates familiarity.

With Moana I was introduced to a fictional world again and again. Even absorbing the movie in passing was enough to unconsciously weave a children’s film into the everyday fabric of my reality.  It became part of my daily life.  When it wasn’t playing I noticed the absence. When the kids would become too unruly to let me finish what I needed to, Moana was the first option to pop into my head to fix things.

My first option. Not theirs.

Brainwashing sounds so negative. So whack-a-doodle crazy. But that’s what took place. I was exposed to a Disney product so much every day that I had no other alternative but to love it or literally hate my life!

Dang Disney, you scary!

As entrepreneurs, you want to follow this logic.  While it might seem kind of creepy, keep in mind that being ever-present in the minds of your customers is exactly where you want to be.  I may have hated Moana for a period of time, but hating it and finding it essential and valuable to solving a problem in my life (short-term entertainment for the kids while I work) are two different issues.  The solution they provided trumped my personal feelings.

The fact that eventually I came to appreciate the product for my own use is another interesting side-effect of having a constant presence.  I had all the pieces of the movie jumbled together because I’d never sat down fully to watch.  When I did, I was already familiar with key elements. I was comfortable.  I knew the songs. No reason to feel out of place. Instead I could listen to the lyrics and find deeper meaning to the visuals. I could enjoy the passion poured into it because I was tuned in.

Your customers, the more they interact with your company, will tune in. They will enjoy you and the service and passion you pour into what you do.  When you talk, they’ll already be familiar with you. Comfortable.


That’s a very good thing to have, guys.

2) They Used My Kids Against Me (Target Audience)

Not in a bad way though. Disney simply knows their target audience. Incredibly well. I mean, it’s really scary how spot on their marketing is. Let’s take a closer look shall we?

First, it’s obvious that Disney movies are made for children primarily. The colors, the characters, the storylines; they all play to the developing minds of youth. But wait a minute. Something’s wrong here. Kids are broke. They ain’t gots no moolah!

So…who’s paying for the movies when they become available to buy?

Duh, parents. But look deeper.  The marketing to parents didn’t start when the movie came out on Blueray/DVD.  It happened back in theatres.  The inside jokes only adults caught onto.  The deeper emotional themes too complex for youngsters to comprehend.  They were all placed to entertain adults. To make the first experience of seeing Moana a fun, comfy memory.

See, the lesson for milspouse business owners is one I beat into the head of all my students. The lesson is this; who consumes your product or service may not always be the one to purchase it.  In other words, who you market to may not be the end user, but an influencer of the end user.

You have to market to the audience that’s going to shell out the money, honey.



My favorite song in the movie is I Am Moana.

Who am I?
I am a girl who loves my island
I’m the girl who loves the sea
It calls me
I am the daughter of the village chief
We are descended from voyagers…
I know the way
I am Moana!

Whoo! I got chills.

Anywho, above are some lyrics from the song.  What I love about it is, as her confidence grows, she begins to accept the aspects about her life that make her Moana.  Her past molds her present.  She knows where she’s been to decide where she’s going.

Military spouse entrepreneurs branding needs this. Too often I see you all, proudly serving your country by holding up the homes of our warriors. But the second you develop a business of your own you fail to mention your military connection.

Yes you are capable, passionate, professional, educated and just an all-around boss not defined by your military spouse-ness (I just made that up, okay).

Except…well, you kinda’ are defined by being a milspouse.

And that’s okay.

In fact, it’s great! See, you should be willing to fight for your business using any legitimate advantages you have.  One of your branding goals should be to gain trust with your tribe of customers.  Well guess, what? Those customers are ready and willing to support our military whenever they can. Most, however, don’t have the ability to serve directly, all the time, the way you can with your spouse.  Many, many customers appreciate a service that solves their problem AND lets them show troop support. You being tied to a military member can do big things for the credibility of your company.

Yes, they might give you a chance because of your spouse. But if you, your product and your service don’t take advantage of that chance by being awesome and showing what you (and you alone) are capable of you’re going to straight fail.

At the end of the day, ties to the uniform may open a door but success?

That’s all on you.


So what can you do, today, to position yourself in the lives of your customers like a Disney movie on repeat?  Throw me a comment below. I’d love to hear about it.