But with Bob Iger ready to become CEO of the world's most recognized family entertainment giant, the Disney Store Outlet move is symbolic of what's likely to be his first true test. Will he be taking over Disney or Disney Outlet?
Four years ago, before quality-control concerns made Disney-bashing fashionable late into Michael Eisner's term, I took Disney to task for cutting corners. The cracks have been visible for some time. Iger will have to deal with a remodeling process made even more difficult with the absence of Pixar and the Weinsteins.
Earlier this month, I argued that Iger's legacy won't be his ability to repair the critical relationships that Eisner frayed as much as it will be weaning Disney from the reliance on those associations. In other words, Disney doesn't need new friends as much as it needs to inspire new artistic freedom from within.
That's why Iger's main objective should be to plant new exclamation points in all of Disney's operating divisions. Even though the theme parks will get a boost from the chainwide Disneyland anniversary celebration this year, he needs to sprinkle around some pixie dust like it's brown sugar at a churro cart. Offer more e-tickets. Create more quality family attractions. Flesh out the two newest Disney domestic theme parks into full-day locations. Double the fleet of Disney's two cruise ships -- which are pure class -- and take advantage of the growing number of available ports.
How about the studio? Disney can't replace the genius of Pixar or the Weinsteins, but it still has to try. Rebuilding the animation studio is critical, especially now that so many other companies are doing it so lucratively well. Developers. Developers. Developers. Developers. Animators. Animators. Animators. Animators.
Put Iger to the test the first time he takes the stage as Disney's new CEO. Count the Qs. I would never trust a CEO of any branded-entertainment company that would use the word "quantity" more than "quality," so I'll be counting. I'll even prepare a free written statement, should Iger decide to use it:
Quality. Quality. Quality. Quality.