Are you evolving with your marketplace?

One of the challenges for any mature business to to balance the two ideals — staying true to your brand's core and yet still being nimble enough to evolve with your marketplace.

As you may know, I am a bonafide Disneyophile.  I have been to Walt Disney World at least once a year since it opened in 1971.  Back in the late 70's and 80's, the only real competition to Disney was SeaWorld in Orlando and if you wanted to make the drive, Busch Gardens in Tampa.

I can remember leaving Disney property to head to SeaWorld as a kid.  It was a great day — Shamu the whale, feeding the dolphins the dead fish and watching a water skiing show.  There were many things to see and watch, but there wasn't a lot to do.  As a pre-teen boy, I was full of energy and loved thrill rides, like roller coasters.  So after our initial SeaWorld visit, my parents couldn't convince me that going back was worth losing a day of Disney's rides.

In the late 90's, Universal Studios added to the market by building two theme parks, packed with thrill rides.  Which I'm sure added even more pressure to Sea World.  They had two choices.  Stick with just Shamu & gang or branch out and add a thrill ride or two.  They opted for #2 and just last week opened The Manta.

Want to see how it might feel to ride the Manta?  Check out this POV animation of what the ride will be like.

What do you think?  I'm a little torn.  They did a good job of keeping the ride tied to their brand.  And I'm sure it will help them attract more young families, whose kids want thrill rides.

But on the flip side, their brand is about learning more about sea life and getting up close and personal.  Did Orlando really need another roller coaster?

If you were on the planning team at Sea World, would you have recommended the thrill ride or something different to keep up with the marketplace?

Check out Sea World's new Manta roller coaster!

P.S.  The logo below tells you that I heard about the Manta from IZEA and because I'm using their link, I'll get paid a whopping 50 cents per click.  I use that sort of money to pay for mailing out the free books etc. that we do here on the blog.  Pretty sure I'll never break even but you never know! ;-}

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6 comments on “Are you evolving with your marketplace?

  1. Kamy Herbst says:

    wow… never thought a video clip could make me sick to my stomach. Shouldn’t have watched that.
    I agree with your comment of “another roller coaster” I like that you can take your child to Sea World and have incredible excitement & memories with out the distraction of roller coaster & rides. (That is purely from a mother’s perspective.)
    But then again, it was a good decision to add a few “things to do.” You can keep the entire family satisfied with a little compromise. (I’m going for all ages here, my 3 yr old has very little to do at an amusement park, but a 12 yr old would thrive!)

  2. Matt says:

    I would tend to lean on not adding a roller coaster. Mimicking the market for the sake of keeping up really only harms you in the long run and saturates your brand.

    Sea World is known for an educational, yet fun experience and that has been something that their brand has always been tied to. Instead of adding a roller coaster, maybe Sea World should have looked into adding experience driven learning. Make learning more about sea-life interactive- not by a roller coaster. I do not have any ideas flowing off the top of my head, but keeping up with a market that you do not fit into will ultimately damage your brand. Stick to your core business plan and beliefs.

  3. Kamy,

    Sorry — I should have put a warning label on the video. Does this mean you are not a roller coaster fan?

    I can only imagine the challenge that it is to manage/plan for an amusement park of any kind. But when you have to compete against the likes of Disney and Universal, it has to be even tougher.


  4. Matt,

    Without a doubt — commit to your core business and the brand. I suppose it depends on if Sea World sees itself as an educational brand or an entertainment brand, eh?


  5. Jordan,

    Thanks for adding the info. Do they have lots of rides or just a handful?


  6. Jordan,

    Thanks for the update. Do you know, has it increased/decreased their attendance numbers?


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