Keep It Simple

What is the key thing to remember when marketing a theme park, amusement park or attraction? Keep it simple...

Marketing a theme park, amusement park or attraction is a difficult task but is often made all the more complicated by trying to convey too many messages at one time. Operators often have a tendency of ‘overloading' their communications with multiple messages rather than focusing on one clear and engaging narrative that will appeal to their target customers.

The most successful brands have historically stuck to a single offer or proposition - often changing how they say it with the zeitgeist and/or competitor activity - but fundamentally sticking to their core proposition… no matter what. This may appear to be easier with say a chocolate bar or fizzy drink, but the attractions sector can take some key learnings from their FMCG and Retail cousins which can be useful in achieving a more competitive approach to communications, especially advertising.

The first step is to identify where your brand offer sits with the consumer and what journey we need to take the them on to make them want to visit and more. We call it the Triple A Model:


If you're a new attraction - or have a new offer - the first problem to solve is communicating that you/ or it exists. Don't fall into the trap of assuming that “if you build it, they will come”… They won't.


Many attractions, theme parks and amusement parks find themselves with good awareness, especially if they have been around a long time, but they struggle to get costumers to visit or buy again because they need more effective, appropriate or salient activation messages.


Leveraging the goodwill of customers - especially through word of mouth and social media - can create a willing army of fans. Post purchase visitor communications can help drive this advocacy.

By using this type of model to understand where your brand sits can help to form the most appropriate creative strategy to drive you through the Triple A Model, ideally from awareness, through activation to advocacy.


Learn from other sectors

Cross-pollination of ideas and best practice from other sectors, such as tourism and retail, keeps thinking fresh and up to date; it also challenges the status quo. Driving footfall no matter what sector you're in is everything.

In retail it relies on the presentation of a clear brand experience, simple easy to activate offers, consistency over time and a focus on leading the completion rather than just responding to them; whilst Destination Marketing thrives on a sense of place. Defining this for your own brand and having it underpin all creative communications is essential and will help you define a compelling, consistent and therefore competitive offer.


Create differentiation: What, How and Why?

Differentiation is at the heart of competitiveness. The ‘what, how and why approach' helps to get to the bottom of what makes a brand or attraction stand out from the competition and it helps give real and sustainable differentiation.

The “What” and “How” of brands are easy to replicate and competitors don't need to do much to replace your offer. Many brands in their positioning and communications inhabit this space; they talk about what they do, what you get or how they do things. Whereas the “Why” of a brand works on a much more differentiated and therefore competitive level.

For example, our work with Chillfactore (longest indoor snow park in the UK) moved them from a positioning of “what” they offered (skiing and snowboarding) to a much more competitive, sustainable and salient positioning of “your next adventure”. Their “why” was all about giving people the opportunity to have a new adventure no matter where they were on the scale of first-timer to Olympic trainee. Overall sales have improved.


In summary

The models we use are only there to guide creative strategy they are not the answer in themselves.  However, they are all about simplifying your brand activity so it is focused on that which is more differentiated and competitive. Finally, remember that being a great and creative brand is hard work. None of the above comes easily and requires an unswerving focus.


Last Updated: 09/11/2017
Author: Joe Chetcuti

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