News article

How Disney’s “bumping the lamp” can help improve client retention

You would think that with Netflix, Prime, Disney+ and all the different streaming services on offer, I would have been able to find plenty of films to watch during the festive break. Not necessarily, it turns out.

It’s not about a lack of choice, it’s more about the different taste in films that my partner and I have. While we agree on just about everything in life, we couldn’t be further apart when it comes to our choice in flicks.

Life is a negotiation – especially when it comes to watching movies

We often end up in front of the television trying to negotiate a settlement on which film to watch that night. World leaders trying to bring opposing nations together probably have less of a mountain to climb than us two trying to agree on a film. Typically, it goes like this:

“How about a thriller?”

“I’d rather watch something that reduces my stress levels not raises them, can we watch something light-hearted like a comedy?”

“Only if it’s funny, as you do have an ability to find comedies that are, well, not very funny. How about an action movie?”

“Gosh no, I’d rather go for something a bit more uplifting than people getting shot.”

“Okay, a romcom then?”

“Pick one of those and I’ll shoot you myself!”

Towards the end of one particularly long negotiation during Christmas I spotted a film I haven’t seen for ages, and one I used to enjoy watching with my son when he was small. So, I made one of my most persuasive pitches ever and sealed the deal on that night’s film, which was none other than Who Framed Roger Rabbit.

It turned out to be one of the highlights of this year’s festivities for both of us, courtesy of Bob Hoskins playing Eddie Valiant and Christopher Lloyd as Judge Doom. Yet as we laughed our way through Disney’s gag-laden movie, I remembered a story about its production that provides an important lesson for financial advisers.

Forget the gags, Who Framed Roger Rabbit is about delivering excellence

Today’s computer-generated imagery (CGI) allows animation to be woven into “real life” filming seamlessly, as highlighted by the recent epic Avatar: The Way of Water. As this makes Who Framed Roger Rabbit look somewhat outdated, it’s easy to forget what a technical achievement the film was when it was released in 1988.

To achieve the mix of real-life and animation, more than 85,000 hand painted images were fused with live action shots, all of which had to be filmed prior to the animation being added. Furthermore, the creators kept a painstaking eye on detail to make sure every scene was as convincing as possible.

Not only did this effort result in a blockbuster movie, it gave birth to an expression that became shorthand within Disney for going above and beyond. That expression was: “bumping the lamp”.

Delivering excellence is the best business model – even when clients don’t notice

The saying comes from a scene in which Eddie Valiant and the animated character, Roger Rabbit, are trying to escape Judge Doom while handcuffed together. As they enter a room, Eddie bumps into a lamp that’s suspended from the ceiling, causing it to swing back and forth, creating a shadow that moves around the room.

To make the scene more authentic, animators painstakingly drew the moving shadow across Roger as well. The key thing is that this was done even though it wasn’t needed, as the animators knew that most audiences wouldn’t notice.

Yet they wanted perfection as it was central to Disney’s philosophy of “plussing”, which is the belief that even when something is good, it should still be made better. This pursuit for perfection, and the painstaking work on a scene that lasted just a few seconds, helped ensure Who Framed Roger Rabbit was as pivotal as it was successful.

Furthermore, this dedication to excellence resulted in Disney adding the term “bumping the lamp” to its training manual, to demonstrate the importance of always going above and beyond expectations.

A brilliant service means clients feel valued

Providing excellence isn’t something your clients will always notice, yet they’ll notice when you don’t. That’s why bumping the lamp is so vital to your business.

Whether it’s providing face-to-face meetings when a remote meeting is more convenient for you, making sure you meet a deadline or taking a client’s call when you’d rather not, they all make a difference to your client’s experience.

This is because they make your client feel valued, meaning they’re more likely to stay with you for the long term.

Additionally, it increases the likelihood of your client recommending you to their family and friends, which could boost the level of business you write. As Disney proves, it’s the little things that can make a big a difference, so go on and bump the lamp if you’re not doing so already.

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