The Designer’s Creative Studio with Theron Skees, Episode #117

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Theron Skees is a highly adaptive, solution-oriented creative executive with 30 years of experience assembling and leading multi-disciplined teams for both domestic and international projects in the Themed Entertainment Industry.

Theron is a veteran of Walt Disney Imagineering and he has led diverse creation, design, and construction projects from hundreds of millions to multiple billions of dollars in a wide variety of experience types.

He is a corporate culture evangelist who applies vision, strategy, focus, and high personal standards to advance design and increase brand equity by using stories as the key element to deliver business goals and make an emotional connection to guests.

Theron founded The Designer’s Creative Studio to leverage his skills and experiences for the worldwide business community. Listen in for some great takeaways from his time at Disney and his passion for creating unbelievable experiences for people.

You will want to hear this episode if you are interested in…

  • Learn more about Theron and The Designer’s Creative Studio [3:20]
  • What business owners can learn from the Disney experience [6:26]
  • How they approach the physical environments on Disney cruise ships [11:40]
  • Why being laid off from Disney was the best thing that ever happened [15:56]
  • Theron shares why every business needs to find its “Why” [22:50]
  • How Theron uses creativity and storytelling to design customer experiences [25:49]
  • Why getting to know your customers inside and out really matters [30:18]
  • The importance of making creativity part of your company culture [34:15]
  • Why Theron screens and selects the clients he works with carefully [38:27]
  • What Theron did today that put him in the right mindset for success [43:02]

Why being laid off from Disney was the best thing that ever happened

One of Theron’s favorite quotes was Eleanor Roosevelt’s: “I’m like a tea bag. You never know how strong I am until you put me in hot water.” His career in Imagineering at Disney equated to that. Every new role he took on was something he’d never done before. He continued to take on bigger and bigger roles. He worked 70-hour weeks and traveled at least one week a month. When he was designing cruise ships, he had to fly 9 hours and drive two hours to simply get to the shipyard.

When he was laid off, he realized it was a gift. He notes that very few opportunities give you time to stop, think, and reevaluate. Theron decided to take the rest of his career and manage it the way he wanted to. Now he does consulting, keynotes and workshops, and executive coaching. He’s doing what he loves and interacting with people he enjoys working with.

Theron shares why every business needs to find its “Why”

Your “why” is important on every level. Theron uses Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle process with clients. He’s typically hired to help clients refine their brands. So the first thing they do is cover their why: Who are you as a company? Why do you do what you do? From there, the how and the what are easier to put together.

Your why story as a company should be expressed in every single touchpoint of your brand—your website, your people, your social media, and more. Engaging your customer in the why of your brand helps create consistency in their experience.

How Theron uses creativity and storytelling to design customer experiences

Theron is a believer in the Experience Economy approach. Whether it’s a product or service, it emphasizes that you’re dealing with human beings. And humans catalog memories in story format. So it only makes sense to create experiences driven by story.

Every type of interaction with your brand should be designed to be memorable. If you create story-driven experiences that create an emotional connection between your customer and your brand, what you do becomes magical. They’ll want to repeat the experience again and again. It works in every vertical of the economy. Story is a consistent element that drives brand equity and creates built-in differentiation within your own segment.

The importance of making creativity part of your company culture

Business people should be more creative and creative people need to be more business-minded. Businesses need to stay nimble and make decisions quickly. Risk-taking is allowing yourself to fail forward.

As humans, we get comfortable when we move into success. It’s easy to camp on that. But many big box stores that did that are no longer in existence (like Sears and Toys R Us). You need to be fast on your feet and think in terms of impossible things. You can’t be 100% satisfied with where you are. How would you tackle something that seems impossible? Being creative shakes things up.

Theron is a wealth of information about designing customer experiences that are memorable to gain lifelong customers. Listen to this episode to learn from a master creator!

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Theron Skees

Bio

Theron is a highly adaptive, solution-oriented creative executive with 30 years of experience assembling and leading multi-disciplined teams for both domestic and international projects in the Themed Entertainment Industry. A veteran of Walt Disney Imagineering, he has led diverse creation, design and construction projects from hundreds of millions to multiple billions of dollars in a wide variety of experience types. He is a corporate culture evangelist who applies vision, strategy, focus and high personal standards to advance design and increase brand equity. Using “Story” as the key element to deliver business goals and make an emotional connection to guests

Theron is an organized creative leader with exceptional capability in managing multiple, concurrently running teams and is a highly respected, natural communicator who interfaces positively and professionally at all levels. He is a fair negotiator who is level headed under pressure and does what it takes to get the job done. Founder of The Designer’s Creative Studio that seeks to leverage this skill and experience to the worldwide business community, Theron is also a global public speaker and a guest educator at multiple universities.

Guests on the Mitlin Money Mindset Show are not affiliated with CWM, LLC, and opinions expressed herein may not be representative of CWM, LLC. CWM, LLC is not responsible for the guest’s content linked on this site.

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