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Case Study

Making the most of fun with Parques Reunidos

Parques Reunidos is a global amusement park business with 67 locations across Europe and the USA. Yet, it’s not a one-size fits all brand. “We have Parks that people visited with their grandparents. Some in the USA are older than Disney. Our qualities are history, heritage and authenticity,” says Chief Customer Officer, Hugh Wood.

But, it was becoming clear that not all Parks had access to the same marketing tools, skills or resources and that many had strategically drifted away from leveraging the richness and distinctiveness of their individual and local stories. “That’s what we needed to be celebrating, and some of these individual quirks had fallen by the wayside, become dormant or been sidelined,” adds Hugh.

A reset was needed. One that would be collective, involving every Park’s marketing team, because, as Hugh adds, “they understand their parks best.”

Flintlock Marketing was asked to help.

Turning things around

Hugh observes, “We knew Flintlock was used to dealing with different scales of businesses and keeping processes pragmatic and practical. Our risk was that some people were high-level marketers, others more junior. We needed to facilitate and straddle those realities.”

Two clear objectives were set:

  • To create a future-proofed process that all marketing teams could use to get clarity on their brand positioning
  • To enable a more joined-up culture where teams could learn and grow through collaboration, share insights and build best practice

Working collaboratively, we designed a tailored and interactive marketing training programme that would be facilitated at multi-team workshops in Europe and the USA. Each programme would focus on a recognisable global brand case study. We would then build a ‘brand-positioning wheel’ following the process. Our goal was for all teams to be able to access the skills and tools needed to create their own Park brand positioning wheel. And embed a more collaborative way of working.

Vicente Bosque Camazón, Regional Commercial & Marketing Director at Parques Reunidos, comments, “It was a good complement to all the transformation work we were running. Having Flintlock’s external view focused us on our external orientation and to understanding what we needed to be consistent and to stay true to the originality and uniqueness of each Park.”

The workshops in the US brought all teams together for the first time. “It was refreshing to have these ‘grown up’ conversations,” adds Hugh.

Overall, the Academy established a clear framework that brought the Group together whilst respecting what makes each Park distinctive and connected to its audiences.

Post-workshops, Flintlock collaborated with four Parks to co-create their brand positioning wheels:

BonBon-Land - Denmark

This quirky Danish Park was finding it challenging to establish what it stood for. “With its slapstick and ‘naughty’ side, our Park was not like others. It doesn’t always translate well in the Group setting,” says Mette Frimodt Rasmussen, Commercial Director.

Flintlock spent time at the Park to experience its attractions and understand its culture. A Brand Wheel workshop with the marketing team interrogated its story. It revealed that their unique humour was vital to the Park’s success but also that they’d become distanced from the story of its sweet-shop founder. So, the original sweet-making attraction was reintroduced.

The process also gave the team clarity and understanding of how they fitted in with the Group’s history, heritage and authenticity. “Tasha and Graham quickly saw and understood our DNA. It helped us all, from our own team to HQ, to embrace what made us special and the opportunity that provided,” says Mette.

Our creative team then created a set of visual assets that put the energy and fun back into the branding. “It’s been made really simple, when it’s not simple at all. Now we have absolute clarity and can deliver with consistency,” says Mette.

Tasha and Graham quickly saw and understood what was in our DNA. It helped us all, from our own team to HQ, to embrace what made us special and the opportunity that provided

Mette Frimodt Rasmussen, Commercial Director, BonBon Land, Denmark

Bobbejaanland - Belgium

When we visited this Park, we soon saw that it had also become disconnected from its authentic roots. Here, we learnt that these lay in the story of its founder, a local musical folk hero with a distinctive identity, topped with his iconic hat, and the Bourgandish family lifestyle he wanted to create.

Our workshop supported the team to understand how to reignite this connection and build that nostalgia back in whilst evolving it into a more relevant experience for its audiences today. Peggy Verelst, Commercial and Creative Director, says, “We gave them so much input in five hours of time, that I never thought they would succeed in grasping only the important statements that could actually make the difference for our brand. Our brainstorm came back in a very comprehensive five-pager.  Who are we? Why do we exist? Brand values! Brand wheel! And even ideas to execute…”.

The new positioning wheel was quickly able to inform the visitor experience and immediately brought clarity to a brief for a new ride being commissioned. Our creative team also updated the brand identity with new visual assets and created guidelines to support clear and memorable communications inside and outside the Park.

Peggy adds, “Now, a few months later, the new communications are in the market, inside and outside the Park, showing a lot of coherency. All comms are telling a story, just by adding the new logo. When I do my daily walk in the park, I think of Flintlock every day with a very BIG SMILE. Grateful for the job they have done! Bobbejaanland

I think of Flintlock every day with a very BIG SMILE.  Grateful for the job they have done!

Peggy Verelst - Commercial & Creative Director, Bobbejaanland, Belgium

Tusenfryd - Norway

The challenge at Tusenfryd was finding its identity. There was no founder story here, but it had heritage, with the largest wooden rollercoaster, making it a local must-do experience. Our role was to help the team precisely determine what that unique connection was for local audiences.

In listening to the team and learning its stories, we identified that this was a Park of ‘firsts’. This thought changed how the marketing team communicated and connected. “We were positively surprised how fast they picked up the content of the Park and the situation we were in and how fast they found our uniqueness,” says Erik Røhne Andersen, Marketing Manager. “The idea of having ‘firsts’ put into the wheel gave our brand purpose – the joy of something people can do for the first time – and there’s always something new for kids to do. Introducing this idea was nice because it can be used in lots of different ways,” he adds.

To help bring this to life, Flintlock’s creative team refreshed the brand identity to elevate the colour palette and create hand-illustrated assets that celebrated the iconic wooden rollercoaster that gave the Park first place in its local audiences’ affections.

We were positively surprised how fast they picked up the content of the Park and the situation we were in and how fast they found our uniqueness

Erik Røhne Andersen - Marketing Manager at Tusenfryd, Norway

Parque de Atracciones - Spain

At this central Madrid Park, we found ourselves in one of the Group’s most popular Spanish destinations. Here, generations of families would gather for an evening to enjoy the Park, food and drink after work or a day in the City. But, the challenge here was that the experience was becoming generic. Our workshop sought ways to bring back the individual qualities and quirks that made it special to its audiences. Several forgotten discoveries were made that supported them in making that leap.

Vicente Bosque Camazón observes, “Flintlock got us to think about our roots and bring back some of the old ways of doing things which so many people love about the Park but had been lost. A jingle that we used is being brought back alongside some key assets. It’s exciting.”

Flintlock got us to think about our roots and bring back some of the old ways of doing things,which so many people love about the Park, but had been lost

Vicente Bosque Camazón - Regional Commercial & Marketing Director at Parques Reunidos

Clear growth

Overall, the marketing training and brand positioning workshops have proved engaging and enlightening for all the teams. It’s opened up how to exchange views and experiences and established a strategic framework enabling each Park to celebrate the unique and cultural qualities that deeply connect them with local audiences.

“It’s been extremely valuable and well received,” says Hugh. “And in several cases, Flintlock helped Parks not just to leverage their equity but to identify risk when they were trying to deliver or be something they were not.”

And the teams have been “surprised and delighted” that the company invested in the process and established a common way to create a strategy that they, and Head Office, could be clear about.

The bespoke programme and structures have built-in repeatability for the Parques Reunidos Group. “The only thing now is to keep it alive and the impetus going,” says Hugh.

“The whole project was made very easy. I could trust Flintlock to crack on. They are highly commercial, pragmatic, and accessible people who understand big and small businesses. They have a solid grounding in brand management and were able to be autonomous and self-directed to deliver what we needed. We’re a neat fit. And it was a lot of fun.” Hugh Woods

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