Creating Branded Content and Style Guide for Great Wolf Lodge

by | Dec 11, 2023 | Blog | 0 comments

Great Wolf Lodge is the number two family vacation destination in North America next to Disney; with 19 Lodges and 10 + million visitors a year, they are expanding into Canada, Mexico and Europe.  The business was founded in 1997 in Wisconsin and was family owned for decades.  As part of the Lodges creation, the kids in the family created characters as walkabout Characters to help entertain the guests; these were a group of animals you would find in the forest – a couple of wolves, a bear, a squirrel, a raccoon, an otter. But they never gave them a story. So, while guests liked the idea of these characters, there was never much affinity for them. The Lodges also lacked a central style guide around any content – and every lodge reflected these characters in their own way. 


That’s where I came in.  Great Wolf Lodge recruited me as a Consultant in 2018 to create a comprehensive Branded Content Strategy and Style Guide around these characters in order to build Brand equity and affinity, drive growth, provide a unifying story and look to fuel cross-functional executions (music, consumer products, books, live events, etc.) – and to create authentic and engaging stories for kids and their families. That was key to me. The stories needed to be compelling regardless of the Brand behind them.  Audiences can “smell a rat” if one creates content around a Brand without authentic storytelling underpinning it.


I worked with leadership to help define and articulate the Brand’s DNA and Purpose and created a  cross functional transmedia roadmap.  I identified and hired an A-list award winning team to create the core Bible and a series of episodes and shorts as well as a music strategy and songs.  This team included Kent Redecker (EP of Doc McStuffins and Spirit Rangers), Six Point Harness (Academy Award animation company behind Hair Love), Chris Bailey (award winning Director of Scooby Doo and Alvin and the Chipmunks), and Karyn Rachtman (award winning music supervisor of films from Pulp Fiction to Spongebob).  


Our resulting DTC movie and shorts have been very well received with the audience garnering, for example, 8.5/10 Google rating. Our content has gone on to inspire a redesign of the walkabout Characters and have become a ballast for the lodge across multiple lines of business. GWL is also expanding their music initiatives with in lodge events and public interfacing soundtracks and play lists.




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