Merlin Entertainments

Building compelling global brands leading to successful IPO

Merlin is one of the business success stories of the 21st century.

In 2000 Merlin was valued at £50m but by 2013 it had achieved a fantastically successful IPO which valued the business at £3.4bn. Brand Vista is proud to have accompanied Merlin on that journey. 

Merlin operates some of the world’s most successful attraction brands: LEGOLAND, SEALIFE, Madame Tussauds, Dungeons, Observational Brands (London Eye) In the UK: Alton Towers, Warwick Castle, Thorpe Park, Chessington World of Adventures.

Our challenge from Merlin was to help them develop compelling brands which they can deliver profitably to over 60 million visitors every year.

Consumer and business aligned brand visions with practical plans to deliver

Compelling brands need both compelling visions and plans which operationalise them.

The visions and plans must be aligned to the business ambition, driven by consumers and developed as a team. Then they have a chance of focusing and galvanising the business and delivering financial success. 

We work very closely with all the Merlin teams conducting and interrogating insight, facilitating visioning programmes and creating operationalising plans. The process has been inclusive an fun and we feel totally embedded in the Merlin team.

Each of Merlin’s brands is unique and has it own demands and these have to be incorporated in the visions and plans although they are all developed within Merlin’s unique way of branding which we have helped to create. The job is never finished though; we measure progress and use insight to continually inform strategy and tactics to ensure that Merlin continues its spectacular rise to the top of the global attraction ladder and continues to be one of the success stories of the century. 


“The difference between Brand Vista and other so called agencies is that I have seen other agencies, they come in and present some deeply theological approach to branding which frankly in my perspective, having worked all my life in brands is like telling a grandmother how to suck eggs and quite frankly, I don’t want to see that.  I want to see practical understanding of our brands, practical understanding of the issues we are trying to address and really I think that is the Brand Vista approach..."

"...It is a very convivial, inclusive way of working,  they get under the skin of our business, our people and the way we feel. There is no bulls#*t, jargon or stupid management theory; it is practical, down to earth and it gets to the core of what we are trying to do cutting away all the rubbish." 

Nick Varney, CEO Merlin Entertainments