Warrior Cats is a book series with a global fanbase numbering in the millions. Aimed at 8 to 12-year old children, it is described as the cat version of Game of Thrones. We were tasked to understand the brand’s fanbase and to create a growth-oriented strategy to engage, strengthen and grow that global fan base.
We started off by assessing the brand’s reach and global influence with a targeted survey and fan interviews. We surveyed more than 30,000 fans from 100+ countries, and held face to face interviews in seven different countries; we then applied our bespoke Fandom model to codify and define fandom into component parts. We were able to define the profile of a Warrior Cats fan and map out their needs and ideal experiences.
After our analysis, it became clear that Warriors fans were an incredibly engaged and creative community with immense unused potential – especially within the digital world – and we wanted to celebrate this community.
We proposed to create an all-new, fresh digital experience tailored for any type of Warriors fan. A platform for fans to find and engage with the best digital Warrior Cats content.
We developed a digital identity and design principles which we followed to create the website, app and all digital interactive content. These designs were also used to create and influence successful merchandise in the online store.
We created invisible UI and frictionless experiences to designated pieces of content, and we also hid content containing narrative spoilers by using our spoiler filter – based on what book the user is reading. We tested this using task-based usability studies.
By engaging with the community we crafted a content strategy that featured both official and user-generated content.
We called on a set of super-fans to create a 'Family Tree' of the entire Warrior Cats universe, which details the complex and intricate relationships between the 450+ characters found in the series. We also created the ‘Moonpool’ – a fun tool that lets users ask questions which get answered by StarClan, the home of the spirits of all cats’ warrior ancestors.
The site was built with GDPR and COPPA compliance in mind – creating a safe ‘walled garden’ that is appropriate for users aged 13 and under.
The Warriors hub is now the official digital destination for the global fan community, and in the first five days after its launch, readers from 152 different countries visited the website.
“The growth of Warrior Cats over the years, and especially since the launch of the online hub, has been amazing.” says Naomi Dare, Director of Digital, Coolabi Group.
For the second anniversary of the site Coolabi approached us about creating a game/interactive content to promote the launch of their Mini Warrior figurine products. It needed to integrate with both the existing website and app, giving all fans the best experience possible.
Using the unique chibi style of the figurines we developed a customisable cat maker, we knew that it was important for fans to be able to creatively express themselves and there was already a rich fan history of creating their own characters and stories within the Warriors world. Users can fully customise a cat of their choice with: different body parts, colours, accessories and their clan allegiance.
It was well received, creating a large buzz on multiple social platforms at launch, creating a viral moment on Twitter. We have subsequently released further updates to add even more styles and poses as the product line has expanded.