If I was to ever start a theme park, and let’s say my mascot is Chupey Chupacabra, I’d be 100% sure to offer a goofy looking Chupey Chupacabra hat. Every theme park has their own trademark-toting version of the Chupey Hat because tourists eat those kinds of things up! They will spend some hard earned cash on items they will only wear while at a theme park. Folks, this is a hat you will never wear again… yet you will wear it for the length of your vacation until a permanent indention forms on your forehead from the sweatband. You will shriek in panic if you leave it behind on a ride. You will run back to your hotel to grab it before you dinner reservation at our five-star restaurant.
You won’t wear it while shoveling snow in Pocatello, Idaho. You certainly wont wear it walking down the street in Dover, Ohio. There is a special aura that theme parks give off, especially in their merchandise. So what makes theme parks such a hot bed for impulse fashion decisions?
- For starters, they are telling a story that tourists can get into. Tourists are allowed to have fun, believe, and pretend.
- Also, there is great power in being surrounded by like-minded others.
- Lastly, everything the tourists are experiencing enhances and pushes the story further. The theme park supports and enables the Chupey Hat culture.
We need to capture this for ourselves! We need to tell stories about us that others can get behind. We need to give people are reason to believe in our ideas, our innovations, our plans for the future. We need to foster the culture around us so that our supporters aren’t one or two individuals, but rather a massive crowd gathered to watch a parade and maybe some fireworks later. And because they’ve gathered, we need to show that we can drive the story, ideas, innovations further. We are going to reward and support those who carry our banner.
And yet, when tourists go home, they put their Chupey Hats and other souvenirs away. So how can we lengthen the effects of their Chupey Hat? How can we recreate the excitement of our rollercoasters of innovation?
There are two paths: We can give them a take-home version, or we can encourage and enable repeat visits.
- Take-home versions are compact, often watered down, and don’t affect their worldview. At best, take-home versions are distractions to their daily life, if they have time. They will most likely be put in a box in the garage and then reminisced over when they are told to clean the garage because we can’t park a car in this mess.
- This path is not effective, yet. I think it could be reinvented to be more optimal.
- Repeat visits encourages them to take care of their Chupey Hat. It deepens the hold the story has within their heart and mind. Someone who visits repeatedly is more likely to have memorabilia all over their house. They are planning a return visit to the theme park of you before their current visit is over. They are probably stock holders; they are invested in your success.
- This is the good path!
As I am writing this, I can identify who wears the Chupey Hats in the theme park of me. They are amazing people and I’m honored that they even visit much less be such adamant supporters. However I can not rest on my laurels. I have to add new rides, I have to give them better experiences. I’ve got to expand and develop the Chupey Chupacabra storyline because these tourists are the early adopters. And what they’ve early-adopted was a belief in me.
- What is the main story in the theme park of you?
- What kind of merchandise can we get in the theme park of you?
- How are you going to make tourists want to come back?