A large entertainment enterprise

Study Objective

Help our client understand why revenues were suddenly dropping in some aspects of their operation for no apparent reason.

Type of Study

Wisdom of Crowds using online reviews from the client and their competitors.

Research set size

A total of over 8,000 online reviews were used.

One of many aspects of our research involved the costumed characters that our client and competitor venues use to engage with customers.

By listening to the words of hundreds of guests who spoke about this, we proved why some characters provide far better ROI than others.

Using Emotional Modeling to analyze the characters from many different venues we found a clear difference in the way people spoke about the characters, like these:

“The characters were very attentive to our four- year-old and she absolutely loved them. She’s already begging us to go back.”

“Characters in safari clothes came around for photo ops”

“Very underwhelming. Characters were rushed and kids were disappointed.”

By connecting the dots through the many stories told by guests, and by researching the character behavior at various parks, we found the secret sauce:

Characters who talk make a far more memorable impression than those who only pantomime.

The insight was to always pair a talking character with a pantomime.

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The Details

  • This data comes from unsolicited online reviews where no questions are asked. People only talk about what is top of mind.
  • 48% of all guests across all character venues mentioned the characters, both positively and negatively.
  • At the buzziest venue, 87% of guests mentioned characters, while at the sleepiest, just 10% of guests mentioned it.
  • All results were measured against a baseline of combined Loyalty and Emotional Bond.
  • Some venues in this set featured famous characters known from TV or movies. However, venues featuring the most famous characters had middling results.
  • Across the board, guests showed 11% more Loyalty/Emotional Bond with the venue when they mentioned characters. But there was one clear winner where guests indicated 100% MORE Fandom when mentioning characters.
  • The difference? The characters in this winning venue could ALL speak – they bantered and laughed with the guests, took selfies, etc. It’s not just about the character, or even how famous a character is. It’s all about the guest interaction.

It’s really important to note that, of course, no guest review ever said,
“I prefer talking characters over pantomimes.”
It’s only because Metis could translate the data in a way that spotted the difference in emotional productivity by characters, and could recognize the differences between venues that offer talking and non-talking characters, that this important Unspoken Need could be revealed.