Big Cat Blog

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Big Cat’s dedicated events company, The Fair has been named in Event magazine’s 50 fab newcomers, which celebrates the most innovative agencies, organisers, suppliers and venues.

The list of businesses, which was revealed in Event Magazine’s June issue, was whittled down from more than 100 nominations.

The companies which made the list have been in business for less than five years, yet have already proven their drive to succeed by accumulating impressive client lists and working on a number of exciting and high-profile events. The Fab 50 Newcomers are named as Event’s ones to watch for the future!

Big Cat Group’s CEO, Nick Morgan reveled in the The Fair’s Award, “This recognition is a fantastic achievement and justifies all the hard work and high standards we set ourselves. This award is a real triumph for what The Fair stands for in terms of original thinking and our high production values.”

Find out more about the exciting work The Fair has produced for clients in our case studies section

See our company profile here

Posted by: BenBigCat on

The Big Cat pride roared a loud and proud happy 21st birthday to our PR Account Executive, Beth Meads.

Her birthday comes as part of a triple celebration, with Beth recently completing her final year at university and celebrating her promotion from an intern into a full time role at Big Cat.

A huge congratulations to our PR superstar!

Posted by: BenBigCat on

This month Big Cat are taking part in National Smile Month in collaboration with the British Dental Health Foundation. The aim of the month is to raise awareness for the importance of oral hygiene. The BDHF is encouraging the UK to flash their Hollywood smiles and show off their pearly whites. The cats have been getting involved by uploading our cheeky grins to the National Smile Month website to promote the cause and answering that age old question; can Cats smile?

We were also involved in the British Dental Health Foundations recent workshops to promote dental hygiene to school children. We created new education resource ‘Dental Buddy’ as well as engaging graphics, layouts and logos. We incorporated a ‘space’ theme to the workshops to captivate the young audience. Content was altered depending on age group and targeted to appeal to each specific age group. The project was a huge success and the cats tailored marketing materials for eight different workshops overall. More information on the work we did can be found here.

The British Dental Health Foundation is a great cause and Big Cat were proud to be part of the project. Click here to see our BDHF case study. If you want to find out more ways to get involved in National Smile Month, visit their website here.

Posted by: BethBigCat on

Is it time for charities to step up and start thinking of new innovative ways to catch our attention?

Is anyone else tired of being stopped in the Top 10 charity complaintsstreet every few metres or falling over the pile up of letters at your front door from charities? Big Cat wonder if this is really the most successful way of raising money. Since last year, the amount of complaints that have been generated from direct mail, telephone calls or doorstep/street ‘chuggers’ (charity muggers) have risen by 9%, showing our frustration with the attempts charities use to draw us in.

With masses of data at charities’ disposal, Big Cat have been looking at more effective methods that charities have been undertaking to create more integrated marketing campaigns.

Cancer Research was quick to get in the game using social media to improve engagement. As part of an alcohol awareness campaign, Cancer Research UK’s ‘Dryathalon’ managed to raise money through sponsorship, whilst simultaneously getting people to give up drinking for one month. Live updates and leader-boards fuelled competition and banter between friends and participants, and rewards (virtual ‘trophies’) were given at fundraising milestones to drive the Facebook campaign forward. This campaign alone raised £4 million, and combined two great causes by managing to get 35,000 people off the booze wagon for a month!

Making donating as easy as possible is vital, which can be seen in the rise of ‘one-off text donations’. We’re used to seeing these methods put into practice on radio and TV fundraising programmes, but text call to actions are still on the rise, becoming more and more prominent within charity adverts and also when you’re stopped on the street. This low commitment method allows people to support without having to share personal bank details or feeling trapped in a commitment they can’t or won’t keep. Vodafone’s partnership with Just Giving, Just Text Giving is a free service that charities can sign up to, allowing backers to donate quickly and easily, with 100% of the donation going to the charity.

The Cabinet Office’s recent report ‘Applying behavioural insights to charitable giving‘ conducted five behavioural trials. Zurich Community Trust, Home Retail Trust, HMRC, Deutsche Bank and Co-operative legal services all took part investigating how legacy giving through people’s wills and annual increases in donations in-line with inflation affect people’s opinions and likelihood to donate.

The HMRC trial stood out to us at Big Cat, as it investigated peer-to-peer advocacy and social influence. During the trial employees were sent e-cards with messages from other HMRC employees, who were already giving to charity, explaining why they do so and inviting the recipients to join them. One group received just the message, where another group received the message and a photo of existing donor – the second group saw more than double the sign up rates proving that putting a face to a campaign and making it more personable really does work.

The key to maximising fundraising opportunities is talking to the right people through the right platforms, suggesting that we’ll continue to see more fully integrated, multi-channel campaigns coming from charities, large and small.

Big Cat pride ourselves third sector expertise, if you would like to read more about our Big IssueBournville College or RoSPA case studies then please help yourself!

 

Posted by: EllieBigCat on

 

Last week Mintel forecasted a £1.13bn rise in the value of the UK pub industry, to £7.7bn by 2017. So we at Big Cat decided to dip our paws into this further to look at what the industry is doing to generate such growth.

The report quizzed approximately 1,500 people and explained that menu innovation is the key to our public houses future growth, with 60% of those surveyed visiting pubs for a meal. Nipping to the local for a tipple seems to be a second priority, as only 49% of respondents visited for this reason.

There seems to be some growing trends in the industry where innovation and Pub dinnersconsistency in marketing techniques rain supreme. Pubs are proving to beat the UK’s eating out sector through competitive pricing and effective marketing.

“Consumers are choosing to eat in pub restaurants over other types of restaurants and this trend is likely to continue over the next few years. Managed pubs are doing a brilliant job at appealing to today’s consumer by being flexible in their offer and price sensitive,” Horizons’ Managing Director Peter Backman said. 

It seems like managed pubs are doing something right, by filling the gap in alcohol sales with food sales. The rate that their going at it’s expected that the food will account for 50% of managed pub sales by 2023! And it’s no wonder as “they are offering consumers a product, service and atmosphere that they can’t get elsewhere”, as Backman said.

This popular theme of business innovation continues as independent bars such as Brewdog have re-positioned themselves to a  younger ale drinking market. They have re-branded beers to challenge the perceptions of ale being the tipple of choice for the stereotypes of ‘long-bearded middle-aged men’. Brewdog’s success is attributable to on-trend designs and a combination of social media platforms and pr stunts. Guerrilla marketing, social networks, blogs and videos are extremely influential and affordable ways to reach audiences. Brewdog identified the most influential beer writers and sent them samples of their new products, and for as little as $2,000 created a humorous YouTube video stream that quickly racked up 250,000 page views.

Punch Taverns are communicating their brand among licensees by creating a digital marketing pack which contains strategy CD’s designed to educate managers and employees on the importance of branding and maintaining a consistent image across all of their outlets.

Big Cat are well aware of the importance of re-branding and the use of innovative marketing techniques, which can be used to help create brand uniformity and aid the consistency of key messages. Big Cat regularly use such techniques in our leisure and restaurant clients and would be happy to discuss how we can use them for you.

 

Posted by: EllieBigCat on

A Big Cat Happy Birthday to our Events Manager and resident sweetener tooth, Mike Colledge.

 Let’s hope he can keep his title whilst Account Manager, Hayley Boulton is around!

 

Posted by: BenBigCat on

Anthony Tattum's Speech

As businesses increasingly abandon old marketing techniques in favour of exploiting lucrative digital avenues (as written about by Daniel Hunter), it can be claimed that the Arts have been a tad slow to react to cultural trends in marketing developments.

Big Cat’s MD, Anthony Tattum set out to change the attitudes towards digital innovation within arts and cultural organisations through the creation of Hello Culture.

Highlighting the technological and creative flair of the UK’s Tech City, the fourth day of the annual Digital Shoreditch event posed the ideal platform for Anthony to sing (sadly, not literally) the past praises of collaboration and blossoming partnerships forged between the digital and Arts worlds.

The ongoing success of these collaborations between the two worlds owes itself to Hello Culture’s past events organisational skill. Using its extensive contact list and events experience, Hello Culture has drawn in the support and participation of key stakeholders and industry experts.

By ensuring there was a two way learning and upskilling on new platforms, technology and developments in the digital space, a greater appreciation of the other was achieved and furthered the aim of collaboration. Digital innovators were further incentivised to network and form partnerships with the offering of a £5000 prize for a prototype trial with cultural organizations and artists.

Fortunately Anthony’s speech content and not his dress sense won much of the positive feedback,  Guardian live-blogger Lara Ratnaraja commented that “content needs to be responsive in order for it to be valuable”, whilst Arts Council England’s Trish Thomas praised the values of Hello Culture; stressing “connectivity is crucial” to future engagement between the Arts and customers.

Other notable highlights at Digital Shoreditch included a panel talk on ‘The role of Government in tech’ and Youth Media Agency’s Susana Giner’s session, ‘The power of youth media’.

Find out more about the event and Anthony’s talk using in our Storify round-up 

 

Posted by: BenBigCat on

Digital Shoreditch

Running for its third year, Digital Shoreditch highlights the technological and creative flair of the UK’s Tech City with a vast array of talks from industry thought leaders, exhibitions and workshops.

Scheduled to speak on the fourth day of the event is Big Cat’s Anthony Tattum who will be talking about transforming culture through digital means. If you’re down at the event tomorrow, you can catch Anthony’s speech at the Assembly Hall.

Digital Shoreditch runs through until the end of the week.

Follow the event on Twitter using #ds2013

 

Posted by: BenBigCat on

Anthony Tattum, what is marketing for?

What is marketing for? To stimulate demand according to Laurence Green, founder of Fallon London and journalist in his short essay in the new look and less frequent Marketing magazine.

In a world where new technological advances in mobile, social and location-based marketing occur at a dizzying speed, we should take the time to revisit and re-state the hidden assumptions of marketing.

‘To stimulate demand’ undoubtedly defines a distinctive and business-critical function for a role that is sometimes viewed with suspicion.

What happens if a business fails at demand-creation? Ultimately the business will fail. Sometimes marketers can get lost in detail, faff and not focusing on the job of more direct or powerful demand creation.

Marketing should be aligned behind an organisation’s common purpose, expectation and metric. Big Cat’s marketing teams in London and Birmingham work closely with their clients to ensure the strategic alignment of campaigns.

This approach safeguards a marketing campaign from being branded as purely tactical. Green suggests that to cement its strategic importance, perhaps marketing should be defined ‘to stimulate ongoing demand’.

I like this definition because in a flat economy, where growth is the number one imperative;  it gives clear, concise rallying call for us marketers to gather around.

Posted by: Anthony on

 

Recently I had the pleasure of attending Cheltenham Design Festival.

The festival is in its 2nd year and offers a series of debates, talks and interactive events about innovative design, with this year’s theme being ‘Who cares about the future of design?’ A very opinionated topic discussed by various professionals within the creative industry.

My Day kicked of with ‘Creativity within Education’, a Q&A session presented Sir Christopher Frayling, a British educationalist & writer, and Tim Lindsay, Chief Executive of D&AD.

The aim of this talk was to focus on the need for design in everything, including technologies and manufacturing, not just the creative industries and that fact the government does not recognise the value of design within the educational system especially across all secondary schools.

Sir Christopher Frayling made a comment, that design falls between all ‘core’ subjects such as science, they all need to start from an idea and then adapt this idea ‘creatively’ to achieve their required goals.

Another point made by Mr Frayling was that unlike subjects such as law, where you complete your university course then begin training at a professional level, a designer is expected to know the ‘language’ within the industry without given time to learn.

I would agree that creativity will play a big part within everyone from an early age, and should be seen as a mandatory subject rather that just vocational.

The second of the talks I attended was presented by Bruce Duckwork, Principal at Turner Duckworth agency, who are a large design agency located in London and San Francisco. His company has worked with clients such as Coca-Cola, Amazon, Levi’s, to name but a few.

The talk’s aim was all about how we think about a brand. He explained that there is 9 points that a brand needs to create a rich texture to engage the audience and how a brand needs to be communicated through all customer touch points.

  1. Dimension, consistency, and flexibility
  2. An iconic, unmistakable core is key
  3. Packaging has a natural place at the core – Why? Because is the most unmissable brand object
  4. Details count. Think big and small. Everything means something
  5. Design should be a rich experience. Salient peaks and hidden depths
  6. Simplicity alone is not enough.
  7. Familiar, and new. Looking back at the future. – Quite – Heritage is history with a future – never loose site of what your famous for
  8. A good idea presents infinite possibilities – reinterpret over and over again
  9. Do something worth remembering

The Third talk I attended was; ‘Pilfering the riches of human capacity’ presented by Craig Oldham

Craig’s presentation discussed ‘observation’ he explained that everything unless made by nature has been designed, and questioned that designers are not that special; everyone can be creative, designers just know how to harness this.

The main takeaway from this session in my opinion was that ‘Design is all about solving a problem or communicating an idea and designers need to look outside their comfort areas, for simple solutions to problems and don’t over think things. Remember every problem has a solution’.

Craig also had 5 points/words that he felt a brand should work with:

  1. Empathy
  2. Insight – Comprehensive understanding of the brand
  3. Knowledge
  4. Experience
  5. Observation

‘ Don’t over think ideas, be willing to make mistakes as these can lead to new ways of looking at concepts’

Richard Seymour, founder of the product design and innovation consultancy seymourpowell. With a career spreading over 30 years Richard had seen the first text message language being created and many other innovative creations presented the final talk.

Richard discussed about looking into the future – creating the future rather than it just waiting to happen.

The way we look at brands is different now, we trust more in what our friends and family recommend to us rather than the brand (itself) just selling to us. A brand now is an ethos, it is something we trust, Apple is a great example of this.

To end his talk Richard had 3 points to raise about the future of design and what we as designers should be looking at:

  1. Optimism: I can make something better
  2. Truth: Tell the truth or you will be found out
  3. Honour: In you and what you choose to do

Cheltenham Design festival is both a great design festival but also great value for money, and I think other (more expensive) design festivals should look at this in order to make them more accessible to everyone. If you would like to know more about the festival please visit: http://cheltenhamdesignfestival.com/

 

Posted by: Jason Hannon on

 

Formula One

Today our Design team are heading over to the NEC to visit long standing client, RoSPA, at the Safety & Health Expo 2013. The team have been fortunate enough to collaborate with the RoSPA team to design an exciting and polished stand that is sure to stand out from the crowd. The stand features the latest 2013 campaign graphics, and even a Formula One Simulator experience with a fantastic £500 up for grabs for the fastest driver. We’ve got our fingers crossed that Jason, Big Cat’s Lead Designer, can set a record time to rival Lewis Hamilton!

 

RoSPA Safety & Health Expo

 

 

Posted by: AnnaBigCat on

In a recent outburst, a leading public sector professional has warned that local councils are at risk of alienating their constituents unless they change their communications strategy in the run up to governmental cutbacks. Martin Reeves, president of the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives (SOLACE), advises local councils to make use of their PR teams ahead of the public scrutiny predicted following the extreme reduction in public funding in the next couple of months.

Reeves who has a PHD in Economics, emphasises the seriousness of public sector cuts on council services in an article written for PRWeek.com. He mentions the influential Office of Budget Responsibility study that suggests public sector funding restraints will result in approximately 900,000 public sector redundancies between 2000 and 2018, with 2013 and 2014 being the ‘toughest’ years.

Reeves remains adamant that unless fundamental changes are made, councils will end up with ‘eroded comms resources’ and ‘disconnected public relationships between stakeholders and local authorities’.

As ‘one of the most influential figures in local government under the age of 40′, Reeves suggested that the future of public sector PR stands as a more collaborative strategic approach. This will create a radical change to traditional PR methods and sees future PR activities focusing on ‘sharing an aspiration and driving singular conversations.’

Big Cat pride ourselves on adopting such a strategic approach throughout our Third Sector PR Clients. For more information on how we can deliver effective communications for your organisation, contact our Client Services Executive, Rukhsana Bentley.

 

Posted by: RochelleBigCat on

Professionals from a diverse range of industry sectors, embarked upon the ICC on May 2nd 2013 for this year’s glamorous event, celebrating the finest of Birmingham’s young talent.

BYPY organised by Birmingham Future and Big Cat’s Event Manager, Mike Colledge, commemorated the region’s gifted individuals from numerous industries including Finance, Recruitment and PR. Attended by nearly 1,000 professionals from in and around the Midlands, the annual BYPY event was presented by Sky News former Brummie Sarah Jane Mee.

This year was no different in it’s extravagance, think glitz, networking, dancing and epic wins. It was a double victory for Baskerville House based Sean Sales, who seized the leading man of the night award, collecting the ultimate prestigious trophy as Birmingham Young Professional of the Year and this year’s HR, Recruitment & Training Professional award title. His glamorous day job, is just as enthralling as his name; Sales is a graduate recruiter for the Multinational Global Banking and Financial Services company, Deutsche Bank. With it’s main headquarters in Germany, the Birmingham division personnel has substantially grown from a minuscule headcount of 30 to a gigantic mammoth labour force of 1,300 within the past 6 years!

Other winners of the night include;

- Winner of the legal category: Jamie Partington, Corporate Solicitor at law firm Higgs & Sons

- Financial category champ: David Roberts, Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer at payment app company Droplet took the Financial Services title.

- Gary Blowers, Director of Strategy at marketing agency VIVA Aspire, walked away with the Communications award.

- Title holder of the Entrepreneurial award was Daniella Genas, Chief Executive of not for profit events management company Aspire4U.

- Mark Leonard, Project Manager at Mace, secured the Property and Construction category.

- Trevor Foster collected the ‘Inspiring Leader’ award, a Director and Co-Shareholder at Nexus Professional Network.

- Lastly, Kashif Mehboob from the University of Birmingham won  the Aspiring Talent award (aimed at 16-23 year olds).

So there you have it, this year’s BYPY. For more information on BYPY and Birmingham Future, find out more information via the organisation’s website.

PS: Have a look at the Flickr stream to see what you missed out!

Posted by: RochelleBigCat on

It’s been an eventful month at Big Cat. The pride’s CEO, Nick Morgan has been trailing up and down, with a briefcase in tow, speaking at various prestigious networking events on a host of issues affecting the event industry. Our first in command has been showcased his insightful prowess on a wide range of business-focused themes including Hybrid Events and Event ROI.

The first event took place last week at Birmingham’s Austin Court and it reviewed the significant increase of Hybrid events in the events industry. Inspired by London 2012 Olympics, the insightful seminar hosted by the International Special Events Society (ISES) assessed the industry’s momentous role in facilitating the need for sporting brands, and their agencies, to create ‘live’ content experiences for audience engagement. Big Cat’s former clients, Roland Garros and LTA, was used as a successful example of Hybrid Event.

The second event, hosted by Forum Events , discussed the importance of Event ROI (Return on Investment.) ROI is a tool used to measure performance and evaluate the effectiveness of an investment (in this case, the event.) To determine ROI, the ‘event’ is divided by the cost of the investment minus the gain from investment. Nick delved into a diverse mixture of concerns surrounding Event ROI, examining why marketers and event professionals run events, a detailed hypothesis on how to measure the effectiveness of ROI and examples of ROI driven events including Big Cat clients such as Jägermeister. He concluded the seminar with a prediction into future related ROI trends, calling for the industry experts to adopt a new framework which measured multiple objectives, abandoning traditional approaches which solely focused on single outcomes.

For a glimpse into what you missed, check our Storify version of events. If you struggle to calculate the ROI of your event or wish to create your own hybrid experience with our help, contact our Client Service Executive, Rukhsana Bentley.

Posted by: RochelleBigCat on

Last week, Big Cat’s CEO Nick Morgan spoke about his experience with and importance of Hybrid Events. Think glamour, canapés and Singing Waiters! Yes you read right, classically trained waiters! The theatrical bonanza was hosted by the International Special Events Society (ISES) at the Austin Court in Birmingham City Centre.

Unlike a traditional event, Hybrid Events are live ‘in-person’ events with virtual online components, such as social media Twitter activity.

Big Cat’s first in command emphasised the importance for the industry to embark on such events, have a look at the Storify version of events. They amplify new audience participation on behalf of sports brands and large-scale sporting events, entail creating even greater ROI.

Nick Morgan referenced Big Cat’s clients including Roland Garros and LTA, demonstrating the successful execution of a successful Hybrid experience.

All in all, it seems the event was a great success. For more information on hybrid events and our event services, contact our Clients Service Executive, Rukhsana Bentley.

 

Posted by: RochelleBigCat on

 

Cheltenham Design Festival (Image courtesy of disciplesofdesign.co.uk)

It’s been an eventful week, hasn’t it? The sad passing of Lady Margaret Thatcher has dominated the headlines for both the right and wrong reasons. However, on a positive note, Big Cat’s leading designer, Jason Hannon set out on a soul searching journey of his own. Treading the seven seas that is British weather and transport– (well, he only went to Cheltenham!) for the annual 2013 Design Festival

The design shindig, now in it’s second consecutive year is the place to be for all creative types. The best of UK’s artistic talent gathered together to discuss the future of design! Over a period of four days, the events varied from motivating workshops providing career advice to fascinating seminars offering valuable insights into the implications of governmental policies and how it will affect the next generation of creatives.

When asked about his experience of the design fest, Hannon replied that he thoroughly enjoyed the jamboree and felt honoured to be in the company of the industry’s finest geniuses. Jason felt he was able to draw heaps of expertise and information to apply to his current work with clients such as RoSPA.

For more information and enthralling insights, check our Storify version of events.

Posted by: RochelleBigCat on

 

Jaguar Car

 

We’re excited to celebrate our Brummie roots with the return of the Birmingham Made Me Design Expo later this year.

Now in it’s second year, the Birmingham Made Me takes place from 6th-21st June and is set to be bigger and better than ever, featuring a giant interactive exhibition showcasing the best in Birmingham and Midlands brands and products. The expo also boasts a huge seminar programme featuring a whole host of world renowned speakers, including the 2013 Expo Chair and Aston Martin’s Chief Designer, Marek Reichman.

Created by “think and do” tank, Idea Birmingham, Birmingham Made Me promotes the reputation of the Birmingham and the Midlands for being a centre for design innovation.

There will be plenty of activities and events for businesses, creatives and families to get involved with so get it in your diary and we hope to see you down there.

Click here to register your interest and keep up to date with the latest speakers, brands and businesses involved, or visit birmingham-made-me.org to find out more.

Posted by: Hannah Wood on

Happy Birthday to Big Cat‘s Client Services Executive, Roxy. Hope you have a lovely day!

Posted by: TerriBigCat on

It’s that time of the year! The third most expensive public holiday! Yes, you’ve guessed it –It’s Easter. Hip hop hooray! Apart from stuffing our faces with chocolates and all things unhealthy, (although it is a daily ritual not just restricted to Easter at Big Cat,) we’ve also been checking out the latest PR campaigns on the World Wide Web! The competition for the craziest, wackiest PR campaigns this year is fierce.  Brands have been egg-cerising, shelling out and egg-perimenting with new technologies that puts Ford Motoring Company recent PR fiasco to shame! So without further ado, here’s a rundown of our top 3 PR campaigns:

Tesco 'FindTheEggs' - Credit: Brandchannel.com

It’s not been a brilliant start to the year dare we say for Tesco. First it was the loss of profits, then the ‘Horsemeat’ scandal public scrutiny. So how do you recover from such a public slaying? You launch an interactive online egg hunt, that’s how! #Find the Eggs, encourages users to enter their postcode online, which leads to Google Street View with countless number of virtual eggs in the user’s surrounding area. Everyone who enters wins a MaltEaster chocolate bunny and the winner who finds that very special golden egg wins a brand-spanking Samsung Galaxy Tab 2S. A great incentive if we must say so – we might just have to enter the competition ourselves come to think of it.

Side note: Let’s just hope the chocolate eggs actually contain chocolate!

Jewel Bar 'Creme Egg Cocktail' - Credit: NationalStudent.com

Just like Christmas, Easter is another excuse to gorge in foods that are bad for you! The 1000 calorie Crème Egg Cocktail proves that the simpler the PR idea, the greater the commercial success (Jewel Bar’s cocktail has been reported by the Mail Online, Metro and Yahoo!). It’s Pay day here, and Big Cat HQ can’t think of any better way to spend £8.50.

The Happy Egg Co Live Hatching Cam - Credit: Prexamples.com

Finally, The Happy Egg Co’s live hatching stream has been a personal favourite of Big Cat and it’s easy to see why.  Since the 25th March, Happy Egg have streaming via YouTube the incubation and hatching of 17 little baby chicks – ‘from the first cracks of the shell into gorgeous fluffy chicks’.  Twitter followers and Facebook whizzes have also been asked to suggest possible names for the fledgling chickens. The result? Apart from making the team all gooey and maternal, Happy Egg Co have proven how to stay relevant in this digital age.

Well that eggs-traordinary! What do you think of our eggs-cellent list? Do you agree? Or do you have any eggs-ceptional PR campaigns that you think should have made our top 3? We want to hear from you! So join the conversation on Twitter!

Happy Easter and that’s all yolks!

Posted by: RochelleBigCat on

The Eventice - Credit:  Event Magazine

We are still buzzing from last week’s Confex Bonanza. If you missed our daily posts due to (well, actually there’s no excuse!) Have no fear, Big Cat is here! Below is a mini catch up of Rob’s Eventice experience to ease the pain!

Big Cat was co-cordially invited by ESF Recruitment to take part in this year’s Eventice competition which sees young hopefuls battle it out over the coveted title. The Eventice contest aims to discover and develop the next generation of event industry talent. Similar to the BBC’s The Apprentice but without the reality TV wannabes, bickering and ‘Syed’ egos!

Big Cat’s very own Lord Sugar (Rob Dudley,) spent the afternoon at International Confex, navigating participants through a stream of extraneous tasks and briefs that would have Nick Holzsherr in a cold sweat!

It was survival of fittest, the best of the best, the King (or Queen) of the Jungle! Participants were put through their paces, paired into two and were given this challenging brief;

  • THE BRAND: Amazon Kindle.
  • THE CONCEPT: Kindle wanted to take 50 journalists to a European destination to showcase their new device.
  • THE DESTINATION: Within 4 hrs of London.
  • THE VENUE: Have a high level of quality and service!

The participants then had to visit a selected number of important destination stands (Austria, Norway, Turkey, etc,) and gather whatever information they thought pertinent within four minutes. Contestants then had to choose a location and develop a presentation about why they had chosen that specific location.

‘Lord’ Dudley shadowed three of the pairs as they spoke to the stands and took notes on their approach, rapport, insight and fed back to the judges who were industry royalty. Nail – biting stuff!

The winners were Mike Hughes, from Cardiff Metropolitan University and James Boardman, studying at Leeds Metropolitan University, who, in a fantastic twist of fate were offered two jobs with AV company Blitz. The only female winner Gabrielle Khaled, was also offered a job by George P Johnson, a great opportunity in such tough times when graduate jobs are scarce.

So there you have it! The Eventice 2013! We’re quietly sad that it’s over for this year, it was great fun! For more information on the latest happenings at Big Cat Events HQ and beyond, check out our Twitter page!

@BigCatEvents

Posted by: RochelleBigCat on

Ever heard of the famous proverb “A picture is worth a thousand words?”  Some say it’s of Japanese origin or maybe Chinese.  But assuming it is correct, imagine the power of moving pictures.

Internet video content is huge.  Youtube is the third most used site in the world with one hour of video being uploaded every second. People are clearly hungry for video content. Why have a page of 500 words when a 30 second film can get the same message across in a much more memorable and engaging way.

According to Ooyala’s latest study, approximately 1.5 billion people will engage in video content online by 2016. The study discovered that ​​the branded content viewer base grew 91 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012, with mobile leading the charge.

Forbes magazine in the States is even going on record to say online marketing is vital for your 2013 content marketing objectives, and who is going to question Forbes?

Over a six month period the SEOmoz.org tracker of website engagement saw that posts with videos create a significantly higher average time on site than those without videos.

I could go on but enough of the words here are some great examples of video marketing;

  • How a simple video for online use can raise the profile of your product.  Cornhole (I don’t know about you but I really want to play this now!)
  • Successful video branding – Tippex (I’m no longer scared of bears)
  • Just a favourite of mine, and I’m a girl! – Dollar Shave Club
  • And one for all you mothers out there – Fiat 500

Back to some stats. A January 2013 study conducted by CopyPress found that 51.9 percent of global marketing professionals believe that video communications generates the highest return on investment (ROI).

However, 49.8 percent of marketers felt that video was the toughest content format to create.  That’s where we come in.  Here at Big Cat we work alongside our video production partners HTF Media and can help you develop high quality, creative, relevant online video content.

So come on, hands up, who wants to be the next Youtube sensation???

Posted by: TerriBigCat on

With the various changes Google continues to make, SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) has become very complicated for us all to understand, and more importantly, implement.

Gone are the ‘quick fix’ days when repeating popular keywords several times in a paragraph or changing a few words and reposting an article would solve all our SEO problems. We now have to ensure our websites do not duplicate copy, have dodgy links or overuse the keywords…the Google algorithms see all and Google’s latest Panda update, will come and get you!!!

Essentially, the Google Panda’s job, (which is currently on update version 24),  is to search through all websites, separating the good from the bad – those websites who duplicate content and overuse keywords face ‘Google extinction’ while those with unique, high quality content are rewarded by improving their search result rankings. By high quality content, we simply mean creating content that will attract people to your business and will give the reader clear and concise information that will help provide them with a solution to their problem.

But fear not, Big Cat are here to help explain SEO and we all know that Tigers and Lions beat Panda’s any day of the week…

When considering your SEO, the first thought is always to research your keywords, and rightly so. However, with so many competitors out there for your organisation it is important that you not only focus on the obvious keywords, but go one step further by ‘thinking like your consumer’. Create more sophisticated keywords by anticipating the thought process of your target market when they will be searching for your website and reflect these thoughts in your keywords.

To do this you must consider the intent and mood of your consumers when searching for your website i.e. are they researching, buying or looking for answers to a specific problem? By planning out the various actions your audiences may take when visiting your website, you will be able to try and pre-empt what they will search for so you can create targeted website content based on customer insight. Having done this, you are already one step closer to a higher SERP (search engine result page) ranking.

Another influential factor in Google rankings is links, and to a lesser degree (but still important) your website traffic. The more traffic and links you have to your website, the higher your rankings – but bear in mind, the traffic needs to be from reputable sources bringing quality visitors to your website that engage with your content rather than just quickly click on the homepage and leave. By creating relevant, unique content, that is ‘adding value’ to your visitors experience they are more likely to link back to your website on their blogs or reviews, and as we all know, recommendations lead to more purchases. If Google can see you are trusted by others and are creating a social buzz you have once again increased your chances of improving your rankings.

Finally, other aspects to bear in mind when trying to improve your website performance are to keep your tone of voice relevant to your audience so you can keep them interested and engaged when they are on your site, and ensure the technical side of the website is up to scratch. We all know when a website is too slow, the links do not work, pages have limited information or there is too much technical jargon we get frustrated, and Google is the same.

Ultimately, Google is looking for the same thing the users are, so if you keep your content relevant and unique your SEO rankings will be better and you will be free of the Panda!

If this has got you thinking about your website SEO or if you’d like more information give us a call at the Big Cat HQ. Alternatively you can take a look at the digital training we offered SmartWater or the SEO audit we delivered for Forresters and see how it has benefited them.

Posted by: TerriBigCat on

 

International Confex

 

As some of you may know by now, our great leader Nick Morgan was given the prestigious opportunity to speak at International Confex to discuss, ‘What’s Next? Health and Safety after London 2012’.

It was a brilliant discussion with lively debate both in the room and on Twitter (see our Storify of the tweets here) .

The panel of speakers consisted of Terry Smith (Arena Group), Chris O’Neil (MUTA), Nick Morgan (Big Cat Group) and Gavin Bye (HSE Construction Division). The debate looked at the policies put in place for contractors working on all aspect of the games and the good practice that could be adopted from them. Below are some of the key takeaways from their lively discussion..

 

-  London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) demanded that every person working on any Olympic site had the event safety passport creating a legacy for the events industry that every worker is now acutely aware of their H&S responsibilities and the expectations of them whilst working on a site.

-  Terry Smith commented that his company have been encouraged to take a step back and ask themselves if they are doing enough – all companies should adopt such conscientiousness.

-  Gavin Bye said how his contractors have become more diligent at all points of a project. He commented that the teams that put structures up are on the whole more diligent to good practices where as the dismantling team have pressure to take things down quickly and it is here where focus on good practice can be lost.

-  Nick highlighted the concerns of contractors coming in from the construction industry to the event industry need to be aware of the challenges. “I would plead (to contractors) that it’s a very different culture, far less of a phased management process and much more intense in terms of the timescales involved.”

-  Unification was said to be needed throughout all local authorities to enable consistency and streamlining across all health and safety practices across multiple sites.

-  It’s important that we learn from mistakes. Problems must be reviewed and communicated across the organisation.

-  Nick also commented how a transparent hierarchy of roles and responsibilities were key to ensuring a successful and safe event.

-  It was highlighted that 11 hour working shifts were the max length allowed during 2012 Olympics. The question was asked whether this was to be adopted across the events industry as a whole.

 

The panel discussion closed with questions and comments from the floor and the key takeaway that ‘in times of austerity health and safety budgets should not be stripped or cut. Safety first!’

If you are interested in what Big Cat Group has learned from London’s Olympics then get in touch with Rukhsana Bentley. Discover how our expert events team can implement these strategies to make sure that your next event is the most successful yet!

 

Posted by: AnnaBigCat on

George Osborne - The March 2013 Budget

The Budget 2013 has come as a pleasant surprise to Big Cat HQ. For starters it wasn’t as brutal as forecasters predicted! The Guardian have labelled it as a ‘populist’ budget, the real winners have been beer drinkers, motorists and first time home buyers! Critics (or cynics,) believe that this was all in the name of winning the hearts and minds of marginal seat voters; however the jury is out on that opinion!

So here is the Budget 2013 at a glance:

So there you have it, the Budget! So what are your thoughts? What did you expect to see? Has the Budget affected you? We want to hear your opinions. Join the chat on Twitter at @BigCatMarketing.

Posted by: RochelleBigCat on

 

Our Group CEO Nick Morgan participated in a panel discussion at International Confex discussing the impact that London’s Olympics had on Health and Safety in the events industry.

See the Storify of the event’s tweets  here and Event Industry News’ roundup of the panel discussion here.

Posted by: AnnaBigCat on

 

They always say the recession is the best time for business. I know what you’re thinking, it’s crazy since there’s no money, no government funding, no respectable banks are lending, decrease in prospective volunteers, people aren’t giving as much as they were before and the rather depressing list goes on.  Without stating the obvious, times are tough – especially for the Third Sector. Public donations are down by 20%, a shocking statistic considering the Duchess of Cambridge’s nose is the most requested surgical procedure for women (priorities, much?)

In a recent blog post, we discussed how the Third Sector can survive the recession maximising marketing strategy through Smart Marketing. This week, we decided to delve further, into Fundraising Innovation. Yes you heard right I-n-n-o-v-a-t-i-o-n! But surely this is reserved for technology, construction…and well any other sphere other than the Third Territory. A foreign concept, yes, but up until now just like other millions of companies regardless of business area, had become too complacent. Like in the case of many businesses, companies have failed to move with the times and in most cases, failed to adapt in a more digitalised world. But as the great Vincent Van Gough once said, ‘If you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got’ and he has a point!

UK’s most recognised charities are finding pioneering methods snubbing sector rituals and rearing it on it’s ugly head with original, thought-provoking strategies. The digital line of attack rejects traditional fundraising approaches, resource exchange and volunteering schemes. These technological brainwaves are being backed by the governmental initiative, Innovation in Giving Fund managed by Nesta from the Cabinet Office.

Nicolle Wilkinson of the Guardian examines revolutionary practices of leading charitable organisations in depth. Wilkinson highlights some great examples which include the aid organisation, Age UK who have recently collaborated with sharing platform Ecomodo to develop a new giving platform. This forward thinking idea is based on skills giving, beneficial for both organisations to reach a far greater audience and larger social impact.

Cancer charity, Marie Curie has launched a loyalty-based gaming platform. The project shakes off the archaic, dull, charity public image with a witty game marketed to the masses.

Lastly, WWF and Scope have used ‘social psychology’ for it’s new mobile giving project. Mobile giving has rapidly evolved in the past couple of years, both WWF and Scope aim to improve ‘recruitment and retention of supporters’ as well as insight into the decline of public donations through this method.

For more information and a detailed comprehensible guide on how charities are initiating digitally stimulating fundraising concepts, check out The Guardian online article.

Big Cat Group offers a digital marketing service, finding innovating ways to get ‘big’ results .We project manage your marketing strategy from coming up with that big idea, to planning, research, implementation and right through to the evaluation. For advice on how to increase your charity’s ROI get in touch with our Client Services Executive,Rukhsana Bentley.

Posted by: RochelleBigCat on

Rob Dudley, Senior Events Manager

Forget about The Apprentice, it’s all about The Eventice which embarks upon London shores this week at International Confex!

The event industry equivalent to the highly addictive BBC TV series is a competition designed to bring the next generation of business flair into the world of events. So no, Lord Alan Sugar has not had a facelift, Botox, or even a skin peel, our very own Rob Dudley, Senior Events Manager will be judging the finest young talent out there and looking for the event industry’s next ‘Nick Holzherrs’.

Young contemporaries will be asked to present their ideas and take part in a number of demanding event management – related tests. Created by team building firm Bluehat, participants will be marked by the team of professionals.

It’s survival of the fittest, the best of the best! For information on the latest happenings and news updates on Confex and Eventice check out International Confex website or #Eventice

Posted by: RochelleBigCat on

 

 

Tomorrow I will be speaking at International Confex about the Health and Safety lessons that the events industry can learn after the success of our London 2012’s Olympic Games.

London 2012 was an immensely challenging event programme; nevertheless it delivered on the aspirations not only to complete ahead of time and within budget, but also to showcase UK construction at its very best to the world.

Achievements in health and safety, sustainability, equality and inclusion are better than anything achieved previously and we have set new standards for the future in the events industry.

Some of the key lessons I will be discussing at tomorrow’s conference decipher how London’s Games managed to maintain an accident rate that was well below the building industry’s average. And how amazingly there were no work-related fatalities on the whole London 2012 construction programme of 62 million hours worked!

Key lessons that stand out from the Olympic project revolve around the flexibility of approach, proactive contract management, upfront investment, dispute management, agility in governance, empowerment, partnering and engagement throughout the supply chain.

Keep up to date with key findings from tomorrow’s event at #bigcatinsights and @bigcatevents.

Nick Morgan, Group CEO

 

Posted by: AnnaBigCat on

Without stating the plain obvious, it is pretty simple to gain return on investment (ROI) for your event.  Everybody likes to know their event has been a success. I mean why wouldn’t you? The way in which success is measured is the big dilemma, especially if your event is not-for-profit. Although the term ‘return on objectives’ (ROO) is more applicable in this case.

Determining what success looks like, before the event takes place, is an integral to the planning process.  What do you want to achieve and what’s the desired outcome of the event?  Most organisations aim for a profitable event but ROI is more than monetary.  Did the event reach your target audience?  This could lead to an expanded customer database.  Is the event brand more visible?  Obviously all of these can lead to an increased bottom line in the long term but in the short term these can be seen as intangible ROI metrics.

The Event ROI Institute was founded in 2005. They offer courses and in-house training through a partnership of European consultants focused on improving value of meetings and events.  In their opinion ROI is not a tool, ‘it is a mindset’.

The Institute has created an Event ROI Methodology; which started as an evaluating tool but has quickly become a planning model. This methodology is endorsed by some of the largest industry associations and has become “the industry standard for measuring the effectiveness of meeting and event”.  According to this Institute their ‘Learning Pyramid’ is the way forward.

At the moment the events industry needs to consider three key methodologies;

1. The Event (expected attendance, media coverage, satisfaction): success gained from pre-event marketing

2. The Consumer Experience of the event (Value: Costs vs Benefits): focus on the success and quality of an event

3. The External response to the experience (Attitude and behavioural change).

Each stage of running an event should have set KPI’s to measure against. If these KPI’s are not set in advance of the event then what is the benchmark? Everything needs a starting point to grow from, only then can the true impact of the event be measured.

In the past it was believed that ROI was a relatively straight forward calculation;

(Return – Investment) 

Investment            x 100

But surely it isn’t that simple. At the Big Cat Group, we think an effective framework combines the 3 key methods of measurements mentioned above, alongside our event planning and management expertise, in order to cater for and evaluate your different event objectives.  This will allow your firm to trace how to increase ROI and highlight the ‘ripple effect’ of an event caused by effective pre and post event management.

By having KPI’s at each event management stage a combination of objective related equations will give a broadened but more focused analysis, a kind of multi-ROI event framework.  This will enable event managers to highlight strengths and weaknesses within their planning framework.

It’s common sense! Who doesn’t want to ensure that their valuable time, effort and precious money has been well spent. Considering it is seen to be this easy why isn’t everyone using it?

For advice on how to get the best ROI from your events get in touch with our Client Services Executive, Rukhsana Bentley.

Posted by: RochelleBigCat on

The stark reality of the economic downturn has meant there have been many hard-line fiscal cuts with the voluntary/charity sector, been hit the worst. It seems Mr Cameron’s ‘Big Society’ and ‘We’re all in this together’ has become somewhat of a political parody, when hearing of many poignant media stories of charitable organisations been forced to close. Since coming into office just under three years ago, the Coalition government have reportedly ‘turned off the tap’ on third sector financial support by a third. It seems George Osborne’s fiscal-slash spree is long term as Osborne announced at January’s 2013 World Economic Forum that the cuts in public spending were realistic and necessary for Britain to maintain its credibility.

The Chancellor’s Budget is yet to deliver the Spring Statement on the 20th March and many experts suggest the austerity measures will be even more brutal than the previous budgets. Experts such as Andrew Westland of financial firm, Grant Thornton (Leeds) predicts higher taxes will be hot on the agenda, ‘Tax is the new political battle ground as we claw our way out of recession and the Budget announcements on Wednesday 20 March will see plenty of effort to promote growth with little room for manoeuvre.’ Westland believes this is crunch time for the Coalition government before the next general election which is expected to be in 2015. The current government is yet to prove they can successfully lead the country out of the recession and for this reason, many insiders forecast even bleaker cost-effective measures.  According to Citywire.com, parliamentary implementations are likely to be ‘Tory-focused’ to win voters and expected to include:

  • Higher Income Taxes
  • Steeper National Insurance
  • The launch of Married Couples’ relief
  • Backing of SMEs and Entrepreneurship
  • Introduction of Mansion Tax
  • Increase in Inheritance Tax
  • More Governmental Focus on Pension Tax Avoidance
  • Rise in Energy and Fuel prices

The impact of previous monetary cut backs has not gone unnoticed. Jane Cavana, who was recently made redundant by Redcar charity, believes that many UK Charities where civic funding was the prime source of income will not survive in the fore-coming year. Cavana believes significant third sector services will face the brunt of this reality. It seems UK charities echo this same concern. In a latest survey conducted by Charities Aid Foundation, it has been reported that 1 in 6 charitable trusts believe they will close due to the shrink in public grant and donations.

So what is the solution? More and more charities are turning to Public Relations and Marketing services to promote and further company profiles. Third sector organisations are starting to realise that waiting for the financial rainbow moment at the end of the fiscal storm is less likely without a strong marketing strategy. Jude Habib of The Guardian.com suggests the following tips on how to elevate your company’s media profile:

  1. Use online comment sections as a ‘platform’ to further company agenda.  Comment sections are a useful tool to connect to likeminded individuals or authors whilst boosting company profile. Websites like The Guardian are a great starting point.
  2. Hootsuite can be a life saver! Hootsuite is a great tool to track the latest trends, hash tags and debate on Twitter. This can be a great way to find out the up-to-the-minute news broadcasts, latest events in your industry and opportunity to discuss online dialogue.
  3. Take inspiration from television and radio. Soaps can be a great social device to talk about difficult societal issues like domestic violence. Being a specialist in your field makes your status more desirable to journalists. Contact the right person and offer a professional opinion on such subject matters is again another great way to gain publicity for your charitable organisation.
  4. Become a social reporter! With the rise of the Citizen Journalism and technology, now is a great time to become a social commentator. With the rise of Twitter and other online media platforms, being in the right place at the right time can often be an advantage over traditional media outlets. Be part of modern media and create the story!
  5. Get your tools ready – invest in a multimedia kit! Goes without saying.

Big Cat Group offer a smart marketing service in which we complete a free audit suitable for all budgets. Our service is available to companies who wish to create excellent marketing and communications activity and to those who are under pressure to deliver more for less.

Posted by: RochelleBigCat on

Happy Mother’s Day to Mother of ‘Our Pride’!

We hope you have a fabulous day!

Posted by: RochelleBigCat on

For over two months now, the Horsemeat scandal has dominated our screens, radio waves and social media channels. Unless you’ve been living in Nova Scotia recently, you wouldn’t have been able to avoid the shocking development of how some of our favourite supermarkets have filled been filling our ‘beef’ products. The nation has been rocked by these ramblings –it’s even gone all the way to Number 10! It seems that this scandal has not only highlighted problems and made our stomach churn but highlighted the importance of social media trends for competing companies.

Brands such as Burger King and Mini Cooper have literally jumped on the bandwagon with their controversial and divisive campaigns. Mini Cooper’s ironically titled its Mini JCW Roadster advert ‘BEEF: WITH ALOT OF HORSES HIDDEN IN IT’ has being making a mad dash around the social-sphere. Responses have been generally positive however, one commenter on BuzzFeed did argue it may be too soon for horse jokes as it was too ‘emotional charged’ (see, what I did there – yeah, maybe not!)

Virgin Media’s published a ‘fake apology’. The latest marketing crusade from the Virgin team confirmed in what looked suspiciously like a public apology, stated that some of the ‘#moovies’ starring cows did in actual fact contain horses. Virgin also mentioned in the print ad, it’s Twitter page for further debate @MoviesonVM. Shocking, crude and clever! It’s like the age old saying – an old man’s trash is another man’s treasure. In this case, brands are cunningly seizing corporation misfortune and gaining free global advertisement in return. It’s not the first time Virgin have used latest news developments for branding opportunities. When UK parliament passed the ‘Same-Sex Marriage’ bill, Virgin tweeted through it’s #Virginholidays account, a picture titled ‘SAME SEX MARRIAGE BILL. PASSED. Time for a honeymoon.’

Although Virgin’s ‘Horse’ tweet garnered some attention, the level of attention was more of an industry inside joke. The tweet only received less than 300 retweets from users and Digital Spy, was the only media outlet to write an in-depth media analysis. As Liliana Dumitru-Steffens of Everything-PR.com correctly writes – due to the rota of followers (4000 to be exact) to retweets, you may argue this social engagement from followers can still be considered a success, nonetheless.

Whatever your personal opinion maybe on the timing, it cannot be disputed that both Virgin and Mini Cooper have creatively capitalised on the drama and turned it into a positive. The result? More Twitter followers and media attention for their brands.

Another great example of successful social media engagement and sheer originality would be the Oreo’s 2013 Superbowl tweet. Quick thinking and humorous wit exploited a dark moment in sporting history! Although Oreo weren’t the only brand to chirp away during the Superbowl 2013, critics’ favourite, Oreo tweeted: ‘Power Out. No problem [Insert picture of a delicious – looking Oreo biscuit,] You can still dunk in the dark.’ As of the 27th February 2013, the tweet has 16,076 retweets and been favourited a whooping 6, 187 times. According to Wired.com, Oreo had a 15-person social media team on standby, to tweet on the latest developments. We don’t suggest your brand should go to these commendable lengths, but Oreo have as a result now earned a promising reputation as go-to marketer for cultivating attention-grabbing-popular-culture-related tweets. While critics have universally agreed it was a hit, few opinions debate that this social media victory was down to just the power of the tweet. Ben Winkler, of OMD, an advertising agency argues that Oreo have in fact been slaving away at creating a strong following for the past 6 months and it’s ‘Twitter’ Moment wouldn’t of been as powerful if it’s wasn’t due to product placement during the Superbowl.

Rather than debate about the fine mechanics which is another downside to social media (you can’t always measure it’s influence in term of profit) it is agreed that Oreo, like so many other brands have unknowingly empathized the significance of social media power. Sarah Hofsetter, of digital marketing agency 360i, the brains behind the Oreo tweeting during the Superbowl maintains: “The new world order of communications today incorporates the whole of the way people are interacting with brands right now…Once the blackout happened, no one was distracted — there was nothing going on. The combination of speed and cultural relevance propelled it the forefront.”

In conclusion, a successful viral campaign whether it is a traditional campaign, a tweet or a ‘hacking’, has two key characteristics. According to David Sassons’ article for Retail Online Integration , the common features of a successful social media strategy are:

1. A sustainable social media plan that defines your audience, recognises readers’ habits – will engage your followers.
2. Good content that has substance rather than fluff will be well received by your audience and industry.

Even though in the case of Oreo, it is too early to determine the correlation between increase in sales and the power of the tweet, nevertheless Oreo has become a popular brand on Twitter, showing the effectiveness of digital branding, as it is a now a much talked about brand. As Hofsetter makes the case of Oreo: ‘“They are relevant, visible and constant. And they are a brave brand. So whether it was the Daily Twist program from this summer, their amazing 100th birthday celebration last year, or last night’s real-time culture-jacking, Oreo finds a way to be relevant and on brand,”

So there you go a lesson in the importance of social media trends. Did you know that after Burger King’s recent hacking they gained 30,000 more followers?

Posted by: RochelleBigCat on

BYPY is a prestigious award and ceremony, which proudly celebrates the finest professional talent Birmingham has to offer. Unlike other awards, BYPY recognises the gifted leaders of tomorrow within the business professional community.

The BYPY award categories include Communications, Business and Financial Services to name a few – honouring the hard working individuals, at the forefront of their industries and those who tiresomely make our city great.

Having been shortlisted candidate of the 2008 Entrepreneurial category myself, I cannot emphasise the importance of BYPY and the effect it has had on me both emotionally and professionally. Being shortlisted was a humbling experience and something I wouldn’t have been able to achieve without the support and hard work of the Big Cat team. When they announced my name I was shocked and elated that I had won. Being chosen out of the numerous talented professionals this fantastic city has to offer is still to this day an incredible achievement, that I am eternally grateful for.

BYPY has opened up a world of networking opportunities. I was fortunate to meet Paul Thandi, one of the members of the judging panel, who remains a great friend and mentor, and has taught me a lot with his expertise. Paul has provided me with a vital outsider perceptive and his knowledge has been invaluable. Many of his recommendations have been implemented at all levels of Big Cat Group.

I recommend BYPY to young professionals who want to improve their connections and create excellent business opportunities. BYPY is also a brilliant platform for the great global leaders of tomorrow.

Nick Morgan, Group CEO

Posted by: RochelleBigCat on

Punch Records Logo
Thinking about joining the marketing world but also interested in a career in the music industry? Then we think this is the perfect opportunity for you!

At Big Cat we recognise the importance in offering young marketers the best opportunities and chances to develop their skills and knowledge in the field, whether that is through our own internships, training courses or other great chances we hear about. And here’s one from Punch Records for any of you who dream about working in the music industry…

Punch Records, one of the UKs leading music development agencies, are offering a select few people the chance to get ‘The Lowdown’ about marketing in the music industry in an intimate Q & A session on 21st February at the Punch HQ.

‘The Lowdown’ is a new initiative from Punch Records which is giving young people the chance to get an insight into the industry; the various job roles and tips on how to make it in the music business.

The first session will focus on marketing and will be led by Aaisha Dadral, an expert in marketing in the music industry. Having worked with some of the biggest and most successful names in the UK and US (including Wretch 32, McFly, Tinchy Stryder and Cash Money stars, Lil Wayne, Drake and Nicki Minaj), we don’t think there is anyone better who could share their knowledge and experience on how all the big labels and brands do it.

With only 10 slots available for this event, we think this is the ideal opportunity for anyone interested in marketing in the music industry and will give you the perfect chance to learn exactly how to kick off your career in a small intimate group. For more information about the event click here or contact Waqar Azam on 0121 224 7440 / Waqar@punch-records.co.uk. If you are interested in registering, all you need to do is think of a few words on why you should be selected for this unique, one – off opportunity and send them over to Waqar.

Great idea from Punch Records – We look forward to hearing the feedback from any of you who attend!

Posted by: TerriBigCat on

As part of Poverty and Homelessness Action week, Birmingham YMCA and Big Cat PR got up early and popped down to BBC WM to take part in Pete Morgan’s breakfast show on 31st January.

BBC WM kindly dedicated the entire breakfast show to the Birmingham YMCA’s work with homeless individuals; broadcasting pre-recorded interviews with residents and phone-ins throughout the show. As well as a live interview with Hyacinth Blackburn; YMCA’s Director of Housing and Steve Ellison; former resident and now support worker.

Running from 26th January to 3rd February, Poverty and Homelessness Action week aims to draw attention to the growing homeless situation across the UK. What many people don’t realise is that homelessness doesn’t just mean you sleep in a door way – the actual government definition is “a person with no permanent residence”. This could include sofa surfers and people in housing facilities such as the YMCA’s Orchard unit in Erdington.

Working with the Birmingham YMCA for a number of years Big Cat PR have seen them expand into new premises, with The Orchard opening in late 2010 providing training, education and 83 new units of supported accommodation. However this year’s Poverty and Homelessness Action week has highlighted how Birmingham YMCA and many other charities amazing work and facilities are only just touching the surface of the problem.

If you’d like to find out more about the PR work we do with the Birmingham YMCA take a look at our case study or contact us to find out more.

Or if you’d like to support the Birmingham YMCA click here.

 

Posted by: AnnaBigCat on

Happy Birthday to Big Cat and The Fair‘s Events Manager, Rob Dudley… hope you have a lovely day and you like your card!

Posted by: Hannah Wood on

Rob Dudley Big Cat The Fair

 

Earlier this week Big Cat held another successful event in partnership with Hello Business. The event focused on the latest digital trends and technologies that are emerging in 2013 and was chaired by Henry Jerwood from Smarter Working West Midlands.

The panel was made up of various industry experts including our very own MD, Anthony Tattum, Gray Dudek – Senior Lecturer from Future Media and Planet 9 and Lisa Smith – Digital Marketeer and Lecturer at Future Media.

Henry opened the event by explaining how Smarter Workingis all about making people more productive, with new approaches to working practices, technology, premises, time and travel. He then went on to discuss the new technological trends that are emerging in 2013:  Big Data, eBooks & News, Cloud, Automation, On Demand Services, 3D Printing, Smart Phones/ Tablets, Gamefication, Social Business and Location Awareness.

Following this, Anthony focussed on ‘Big Data’, giving tips on how it should be used. He noted that one of the greatest challenges is people not knowing where to start with their company’s data. He talked about how large companies deal with their big data, explaining how they map out the customer journey, path to purchase and record this online activity through cookies.

Using Big Cat as an example, he also mentioned how companies use the ‘four R’s’:

  • Reach – targeting
  • Relevance – personalisation
  • Resonance – social amplification
  • ROI – evaluations

He explained how these points can help companies use their data to create faster and simpler marketing, better targeting, more relevant messaging, better planning and decision making. To close his section of the seminar, Antony left the audience with one final thought, ‘Think Big, Start Small’ meaning chose small targets and goals.

Gray Dudek then spoke about his predications for 2013 trends which he believes is on the convergence of ‘So Lo Mo’ – Social, Local and Mobile. He explained how he feels content and inbound marketing will rule in 2013 and that customers have become a lot more price conscious due to the internet, technology and shared deals.

The last panel member, Lisa Smith, focussed on the digital aspect of data and how there are many different tools that can be used such as Google Analytics, Hootsuite and Survey Monkey. She stated that before using these tools companies should also know what they currently use and what their goals are. Lisa linked back to Gray’s points, touching on the development of So Lo Mo and the idea of integrating digital platforms to work together with your company’s marketing strategy. She also stressed the importance of content strategy and explained to the audience that it should include the following:

-          What works/doesn’t?

-          Current collateral

-          New content

-          Types; basic, UGC, create demand, value add, social networks, online publishers, comparison sites, ratings, blogs and many other types of site

-          Campaign content

-          Sharability

-          SEO

-          Legal, copyright, creative commons, IP

 

Henry then closed the event with a lively and insightful question and answer session which enabled the audience to engage with the discussion and contribute their own experiences.

As with all our Big Cat / Hello Business events, Big Cat were there to provide a live twitter stream of the whole event which can be seen here.

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Over the past year, both brands and agencies have acquired an unquenchable thirst for consumer data. Big Data is the sum total of an individual’s interactions with things from TV consumption, websites visited, mobile usage, food and drink, and even the conversations they have – big brother stuff huh?

On a recent panel with a group of students from Birmingham University Business School, I asked them the question: what is the cash value of consumers’ lifestyle data? In other words, if brands are gaining from this data shouldn’t there be a reciprocal transaction value (commercial or social) back to the consumer?

BIS’s MIDATA Programme of Consumer Empowerment is designed to give consumers the statutory right to request an electronic copy of the data companies hold about them.

Control Shift has produced a paper called ‘midata where next?’ which seeks to ‘bring together an “inside view’” on how significant the move is.

As part of our digital conference, Hello Culture, we organise our own mini-hackathon, called DevLab. These events have been produced  because we were frustrated by hack’s being about the technology , the event and the short term solutions, rather than producing anything long term as a result of developing collaborative partnerships. This is illustrated by the lack of case studies or products from the ODI’s MIDATA hackathon.

Back to consumer data… Trendwatching has produced their 10 trends for 2013 and they are predicting that in 2013 “consumers seek to own and make the most of their lifestyle data” as savvy shoppers turn the tables on businesses.

In 2013, I will be very interested to see how consumers start to get a share of data’s value and turn this to their advantage. There must be new and innovative ways of commerce and consumers repurposing data to benefit both.

I spoke about 2013 Trends and Data at last month’s Hello Business seminar, to see the footage from this event click here or see a round up of the event content on our blog.

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Big Cat Events Tricks & Tips

Posted by: MikeBigCat on

This week saw the release of M&S’s new lingerie ad featuring Rosie Huntington-Whitely. The advert has caused a lot of controversy with people thinking it was too sexy for TV. Complaints were made to the Advertising Standards Agency but they rejected them. Thank god! The ad is called ‘Say it with Rosie’ and features her being playful on a bed in her newly designed lingerie. M&S has received a boost in sales for lingerie since hiring Rosie as brand ambassador and after seeing this advert, you can see why. It’s another clear indication that risqué adverts lead to sales. If you haven’t watched the ad yet, you can see it below and make your own mind up about it.

Posted by: RickyBigCat on

Twinings AdvertMusic that is featured in our favourite adverts often scales the charts and reaches the number one position but how does this help the brand? Well let’s look at the most recent example of an advert song taking the nation by storm. Gabrielle Aplin’s cover of ‘The Power of Love’ was featured in the John Lewis campaign for Christmas. During December the song peaked at number one in the official UK singles chart. But did this make a difference to John Lewis?

Yes it did! In a big way. John Lewis registered record breaking sales during the week. The retailer’s sales increased both in-store and online. John Lewis made £142m in the week ending Saturday 8th December. The store believed sales were driven by customers looking for ‘that special purchase’ which is the tagline used during the advert. Gloves and scarves were big sellers during the week, this leads to a direct relationship with the commercial that features a snowman going on a journey to get his snowwoman a pair of gloves. The advert and single have led to a holiday boom for John Lewis who have once again showed how to create a successful campaign.

This isn’t the first time a song has led to success for a brand. Last year Twinings released an advert which showcased Charlene Soraia’s ‘Wherever You Will Go’. Twinings received a boost in sales figures and Charlene Soraia reached the UK top 3 for the first time in her career.

Another successful example from 2012 was Microsoft’s advert for Internet Explorer 9. The ad featured Alex Clare’s song Too Close’. The song was originally released in 2011 to limited success in the UK but after it was used for the Microsoft ad, it achieved worldwide fame and conquered the UK and US charts. Microsoft also benefited from the ad with Internet Explorer 9 taking a big portion of the market share amongst web browsers.

If you select the right song for your ad campaign, it can lead to another success story for your brand and artist. So be on the lookout for the next big music star to feature. One thing to avoid is creating a song which annoys the nation; we’re obviously talking about Go Compare!

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In December Women’s Aid released ‘Blind Eye’, using 3D stereoscopic technology. The technology allows the viewer to edit the film in real time by swapping eyes that they are viewing the ad with. The technology used to create the commercial is groundbreaking and gives the viewer a unique opportunity to see two very different sides of a story.

Viewers are able to edit the hard-hitting commercial by opening and closing either their left or right eye at one single time. During the 65 second ad, two different situations play out at the same time. One of a woman preparing dinner in her kitchen and the other is a horrific tale of domestic violence within the home involving an abusive husband. This emotion evoking commercial was released with The Hobbit in December.

After watching The Hobbit and seeing the commercial I was instantly shocked at the graphic nature of the advert. The ad is effective and does cause shock within the viewer but was it used with the right film? The Hobbit is going to be viewed by young viewers within the UK so will they understand the content of the advert? The ad also has a graphic nature so how will they react to this?

The ad ends with the tagline “Will you turn a blind eye to domestic violence?” This is perfect for the advert as the viewer has the option to ignore domestic violence and just view a woman happily cooking dinner. Maybe this is why the advert has been used in connection with The Hobbit. Children might be seeing this within their homes everyday and not reacting. Domestic violence is a big issue within the UK, with one in four women suffering from some form of it. Evidence also suggests that teenagers are increasingly suffering from domestic violence so this could be a reason for showing it with The Hobbit.

The ad does make for uncomfortable viewing, but the duality of it makes it a perfect fit for the technology used. The different aspects of the ad are crucial, in one eye you see a peaceful scene and in the other you see the chaos of domestic violence.

You can watch the ad here and make your own opinion.

Posted by: RickyBigCat on

Posted by: RickyBigCat on

The IQ organisation has once again released an annual report looking at European festivals. The report looks at issues including festival attendance, ticket prices, top concerns and new technology. It has some interesting findings that any events expert would find useful.

Smaller festivals have been struggling recently and this is clear from the sample used. Last year, the report contained over 100 festivals but this year the figure has fallen to 80. This was down to various cancellations and finical problems for festival organisers. People have got less money to spend on entertainment because of the recession and this point is reflected within the report.

In terms of attendance, the report revealed that it has suffered a further 2.4% decrease from the previous year. This is a worrying fact for event organisers because they need those vital last percentage points to keep their festival profitable. The attendance to capacity ratio was down to 78.8% even though many organisations increased capacity. This move seemed to back fire for many organisers and it will be interesting to see if festivals begin to reduce capacity in 2013. Glastonbury is one of the UK’s premiere festivals but this didn’t take place in 2012 because of the Olympics so this could be a factor for the lower attendances for 2012.

Average ticket prices across all festivals increased by a small proportion. This isn’t surprising with the way the economy around Europe is at the moment. Artist fees and production costs haven’t frozen as of yet so promoters need to find a way to cover these costs. Only 35% of the festivals included within the report sold out, that means 65% were struggling to fill their locations. This is a worrying fact leading into 2013 for all festival organisers. We have lost many festivals and organisations throughout 2012 to bankruptcy and this trend looks set to continue into 2013. The top concern for many festival promoters is artist fees, which continue to increase where as profits for the festival are decreasing. Festivals need to bring in the big stars to attract bigger audiences but this means that they also have to pay big money.

Even though the festival industry suffered in 2012, we took part in Global Gathering that set new records for attendance in 2012. Over 50,000 people attended the dance festival in Stratford-upon-Avon. This proves that festivals are still a key part of British culture and could have a bright future in 2013. We look forward to working on even more festivals this year.

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On Friday, Mashable reported that a New York frozen yogurt chain has become one of the first companies to leverage ‘Snapchat’ as a promotional tool. Snapchat is a social network that allows users to share a moment in picture form on their mobile phones and allows it users to control how long they want the recipient to view the message for.

Snapchat was a huge success in 2012, users sent about 50 million pictures (called “Snaps”) a day on the platform. Its success has prompted Facebook to release a Snapchat competitor, ‘Poke’. Proof that the fast image sharing phenomenon is starting to catch on in a marketing capacity was shown last week when an Israeli lingerie brand called Delta used Poke to distribute a short advert, a ten second video which shows a model getting dressed with Delta’s lingerie and features a promotional message at the end for a sale on Delta’s website.

The New York frozen yogurt chain, ‘Love16Handles’ has used the platform to present customers with a coupon that self-destructs within 10 seconds if they snap a picture of themselves or their friends at a Love16Handles location tasting one of their flavours on Snapchat. In return, they send a coupon for anything from 16% to 100% off on your purchase, the customer then has 10 seconds to let the cashier scan the coupon.

It cannot be denied that time restrictions on messages bring limitations to using Poke or Snapchat in marketing but, its growing user popularity and novelty provides companies with a unique marketing platform to explore. It is too early to tell whether this new craze will catch on for marketers but we can see it already working for coupon-based promotions in particular, and if it can provide business for a frozen yogurt chain in the middle of winter, it might be worth looking into!

Posted by: AnnaBigCat on

 

Twas the night before Catmas, when all through the house
Not an animal was stirring, not even the mouse.

The kittens were snuggled, and tucked up in their beds,
While visions of cat snacks, danced in their heads.

Their stockings were hung by the cat bowls with care,
In hope that Father Catmas, soon would be there.

Out on the rooftop, there arose such a hissing,
I knew it was Father Catmas, that we’d all been missing.

I jumped on the couch, stuck my nose to the curtain.
“Here he is!” I purred “It is him, I’m certain!”

What to my deep blue eyes should appear,
But Father Catmas himself, in his Cat-sled gear.

He went about his work, with never a sigh.
Filling the stockings, with treats piled high.

He waved at me, with his mighty paw.
Although I was hiding, Twas my little tail he saw.

Out the cat flap he went, in oh such a rush.
He jumped on his sled and yelled out, “MUSH!”

The Big Cat team, were raring to go.
Excited for the next journey, their coats with a shiny glow.

I could hear him purring, as he disappeared that night.
“Merry Catmas to all! OK team, turn rrrrright!”

Posted by: RickyBigCat on

Christmas is upon us and you know what that means. Christmas themed advertising! Everybody associates the beginning of Christmas with the first time they see THAT Coca-Cola advert. The big red truck driving through the blissful town and Santa Claus enjoying an ice cold Coke. But how are other companies launching their festive campaigns?

Let’s start with the big winner from Christmas 2011, John Lewis. Their video campaign received over 4 million views on Youtube last year and contributed to the brand winning IPA’s Grand Prix title. Last year’s famous advert featured a young boy waiting for Christmas so that he could give his parents a Christmas present. The advert was highly emotional and when you were watching it with a group of people, you couldn’t help letting out the theatrical AWWWWWWWWW! They went with the tagline ‘For gifts that you can’t wait to give.’ John Lewis has again decided to pull on the nation’s heart strings. This time, the ad features a snowman’s quest to find the perfect present for his snowwoman. The final few seconds of the advert see the couple reunited and the snowwoman wearing new a new scarf and gloves. The tagline this time around is ‘Give a little more love this Christmas.’ The brand are emphasising the true meaning behind Christmas and presents; it’s the thought that counts. (This obviously doesn’t apply to me, I love big presents!) Since the advert has appeared on our television screens the company have raked in over £91m, showing that people are still willing to spend their money over Christmas if you use the right marketing strategy. Ann Summers created a naughty spoof of the advert which made the Big Cat family giggle. If you’re already being spoofed, you must be doing something right!

Marks & Spencer have dramatically changed their stance on Christmas marketing. They are trying to connect with the consumer and have got rid of big-name celebrity endorsements. They use the glitz and the glam of celebrity culture but connect it with ordinary people. Energetic dance routines to cheesy music with people from all backgrounds display the diversity within the UK.

The most controversial adverts have come from Morrisons and Asda who have gone with a similar approach and used the concept of ‘Supermom!’ Their adverts are centred on Mom being the focal point of Christmas. This hasn’t gone down well with men around the world. Fathers4Justice have launched an official complaint against Morrisons.  The adverts don’t connect with every consumer and even though the adverts are emotional it could end up being a bad Christmas period for Morrisons and Asda.

Littlewoods have performed a dramatic U-turn from their Christmas ads from 2011. Apparently Santa Claus is real again. They received a social media backlash last year after suggesting Father Christmas didn’t exist. Thankfully he has been revived this year to provide children (and some adults) presents. I did think my stocking wasn’t as full as it should have been last year. The brand ambassador, Myleene Klass plays a beautiful helper as Santa Claus lands his sleigh in a mysterious forest.

Another company who have performed a U-turn on Christmas ads is Debenhams. They return to the battle of Christmas adverts after taking no part for six years. Tough circumstances on the high street have resulted in a marketing push by the brand. Details have been kept tight lipped about their campaign but they will be released in the coming weeks.

The benefit of a successful Christmas marketing campaign can’t be undermined. If you create the right strategy your business can thrive over the festive period. Social networking is integral to marketing now with people expressing their views on ad campaigns immediately after seeing them via Twitter or Facebook. John Lewis dominated the Christmas marketing campaign battle last year using YouTube but whose going to be winner this time around. Only you can decide! The Mum’s of the country have already voted.

 

Posted by: RickyBigCat on

David Bailey Facebook Picture

Samsung have taken the UK by storm in recent months with a unique marketing campaign. It brings together so many different aspects of marketing and pays homage to the inspirational photographer David Bailey. It’s handy that it involves a free giveaway of new digital cameras but only if your name is David Bailey. You don’t have to be a famous photographer; as long as your name is David Bailey then you were given the chance to get your hands on Samsung’s new piece of kit

The main goal of the campaign was to prove that anybody could be a professional photographer, as long as they had the right camera of course. The campaign involved 250 men from different backgrounds around the country. Each man was given a Samsung NX1000 and told to snap away.

Nick White, head of digital imaging for Samsung said “our collaboration with David Bailey is an excellent way to help democratise great photography and show that with the Samsung NX range of cameras you don’t have to be the David Bailey to get professional-standard shots.”

To start this marketing revolution, each David Bailey was given the NX1000 camera and told to complete certain weekly online photography assignments. A selection of the best would then be used in Samsung’s adverting campaign. The camera has built in Wi-fi capabilities so photo sharing was easy for the amateur photographers. They posted the pictures onto Facebook for the world to see and experience the qualities of the new camera. The campaign aimed to democratise photography by crowd sourcing images from the public.

The ad campaign took to Twitter with the #WeAreDavidBailey hash tag trending worldwide. This trending topic lead people to the Facebook page and created public demand for the camera. Samsung successfully produced a campaign which engaged their audience.

They combined social media, print campaigns and Television ads together to generate publicity for the release of the camera. Public engagement was key to the campaign, they gave the public a chance to use the camera and promote it themselves.

Posted by: RickyBigCat on

 

Last week Big Cat ran ‘Transforming Your Business Through Digital Media’ panel discussion in partnership with Hello Business.

The event was a huge success and facilitated an informative and digitally themed discussion led by a prestigious panel of speakers. The speakers consisted of our very own MD Anthony Tattum, Charlotte Crossley – Head of Communications at Birmingham Science Park, Mark Brill – Managing Partner at Brand Emotivity, and chair David Osbaldestin – Subject Leader of Graphic Communication at Birmingham City University.

Each panel member discussed different aspects of using and incorporating digital technology in business. Anthony Tattum started off the discussion by giving advice on how to form a digital strategy, adapting it to relevant audiences, establishing key messages, maximising and integrating resources and confirming what success looks like so businesses can measure against it to monitor results.

Charlotte Crossley’s presentation centred on the message for businesses to ‘connect, communicate, collaborate and create’. She discussed the value of using WordPress, Eventbrite, Campaign monitor, E-newsletters, Twitter, LinkedIn and online advertising over print at the Science Park. Whilst discussing the importance of engaging content, Charlotte summarised that the keys to success when using digital are; regularity (maintaining momentum), consistent tone of voice, monitor Twitter (follower and Campaign Monitor stats) and choosing the best mediums.

Finally, Mark Brill discussed the impact of the smart phone revolution and preached five key things that a business can do to become more mobile.

  1.  Having a mobile website (10% of media time is spent on mobile devices, 7% is spent on print)
  2. Getting yourself found on mobile (optimise your search and local search)
  3. Connecting your advertising and PR (URL, Hashtags, Likes, Pins, QR codes)
  4. Don’t forget your existing customers (think about how your emails look and whether you can offer them better service)
  5. SoLoMo – New Opportunities (Social, Local, Mobile – Foursquare & augmented reality, you can co-create with Instagram & Pinterest)

The event closed with lively audience contributions and a questions and answers opportunity which enabled everyone in the room to consolidate their learning’s and contribute their own experiences.

To view content from the live tweeting at the event click here or see #HB2012.

The places for this free event filled up fast so if you are interested in attending other events from the Hello Business Digital Transformation programme, then please sign up as quickly as possible here.

See our speakers slides;

Anthony Tattum
Charlotte Crossley
Mark Brill

Posted by: AnnaBigCat on

 

The Big Cat Marketing girls are excited about these interactive in-window experience developments that will take window shopping to a whole new level! Nice one Adidas!

Posted by: AnnaBigCat on

The Design Commission is launching a report to investigate how good design practice can be used more often in public services and policy making.

The Commission is a group comprising of politicians and design industry representatives that was set up last year to examine obstacles and opportunities within design education. After the success of this research the commission is now investigating how design education is currently influencing the capacity and roles of design in local government, and specifically whether the UK is training enough service designers. It will also examine the challenges facing public services by asking what roles designers can play in generating social capital, civic engagement and establishing whether or not design is a missing skill set in Government.

To start off its investigation, the Design Commission released a video yesterday asking designers, people in local authorities (who are running public services), and policy makers in central government, to contact them with examples of either good or not so good design practice.

At Big Cat our Design department’s successful methodology involves frequent collaboration to deliver design briefs, but in addition to this, all of our designers have unique qualities and abilities from different skill areas such as Typography, Illustration and Branding across a variety of sectors including public services. These are all gained through experience and education, which they individually bring to all of our work.

The Commission commented yesterday that many of the failings in our range of public services are usually due to ‘outdated or inappropriately designed systems’. This poses the question of whether public services would benefit more from outsourcing design work to agencies that have a number of designers bringing different skills to the table, than using an internal system with a limited number of in-house designers, in order to overcome their failings.

Share with us your experiences and suggestions at @bigcatdesign or if you have examples for the Commission, the call for evidence is open until November and they can be submitted at www.policyconnect.org.uk.

Posted by: AnnaBigCat on

This week, Birmingham is playing host to the Prime Minister and his Conservative Party for their Annual Conference. Taking place at the ICC, the conference is expected to host over 13,000 delegates along with 1,600 national and international media bodies, all helping to put the UK’s second city on the map.

Conferences of this scale are thought to bring many positive impacts to our city, such as increased employability from the surge in demand for hospitality and leisure facilities in Birmingham. CEO of Marketing Birmingham, Neil Rami, has said that the Conservatives’ return to the city (for the third year running!) is a ‘clear endorsement of their confidence in the city’s ability to deliver first-class events’.

Major events for the city, such as this political conference, play a key role in bringing influential visitors and media to the city, hopefully resulting in the building of international relationships and business networking for the region. Mr Rami also stated: ‘the Conservative Conference is yet another opportunity for the city to get in the limelight, boost its reputation and show its 13,500 guests – and a vast media presence – what it has to offer.’

Last year Birmingham’s visitor numbers reached a high of 33.5 million, helping boost the value of its visitor economy to £4.9 billion, and it is hoped that this figure is to increase again this year by utilising all areas of the ICC and many areas of our local economy in the form of hotel, leisure and hospitality spend. In addition to the main conference, which will close with a speech from the Prime Minister, there will also be over 500 fringe events taking place which will see staff delivering 12 months worth of events in four days.

Despite all of these positive offerings, we must also consider the inevitable political protests that such a large conference will bring with it, for example activists dressed as the Grim Reaper stormed Labour’s Manchester Conference last week to protest against the illegal blacklisting of construction workers. In Birmingham we already have rowdy and raucous political protesters gathering on the streets outside the ICC; increasing security risks, road closures and traffic in the city.

Also, protesters have taken to Twitter in force using the tag #cpc12 in a political free-for-all which surrounds the city’s name with mixed political opinions. This potential negative association to the city poses the question of how these images of unruly crowds, traffic and dispute, can reflect on Birmingham’s tourism industry.

Nick Morgan, our CEO said: ‘This national political conference helps keep the city’s profile high both nationally and internationally. Time after time Birmingham has demonstrated its ability to orchestrate major events, therefore attracting other leading organisations to hold their events here. The event is expected to generate over £16.5million which can only be of benefit to the local economy in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors.

‘Like any other political events of this size, protests are unavoidable. It is how our city reacts and successfully manages the riots that will be publicised, and this should again promote Birmingham’s ability to effectively host national events.’

What are your thoughts on the impact that large scale events have on cities and their tourism infrastructure? Get in touch on twitter via @bigcatevents

Posted by: AnnaBigCat on

Our friends in the third sector authorities have been encouraged to take to Twitter to provide an insight into the world of local government.

The aim of this activity is to highlight the wide range of services provided by councils. The Local Government Association (LGA) has called on town halls and councillors to publicise their activity using the hashtag #OurDay.

Yesterday’s 24 hour tweeting session coincided with social media week and the launch of the LGA’s Social Media Friendly Mark, a tool which allows councils to demonstrate their commitment to social media.

Peter Fleming, Chairman of the LGA’s improvement and innovation board said that councillors and staff should be using this technology to demonstrate the wide range of work being done for local communities and to explain important services.

He added that ‘Council tax is the most visible tax people pay, which means we have to be much better than other parts of the public sector at explaining how money is being spent and what we are spending it on. Social media can really help. Not only does it allow us to send messages directly to local people but it also lets us receive and respond to feedback instantly.’

Posted by: AnnaBigCat on

Harry Moseley A charity in the name of Birmingham hero Harry Moseley was launched yesterday with the aim to raise awareness of brain cancer and to fundraise in order to help find a cure for the terrible disease.

Help Harry Help Others (HHHO) is be based in Yardley and aims to help support families who are going through the same thing as Harry’s family did last year, when he died from a brain tumour.

The courageous 11 year old devoted his life to raising money to help fellow sufferers, making nearly £650,000 by making and selling beaded bracelets. As a result of his fundraising work, Harry was not only named Britain’s Kindest Kid, but also became the first person to be awarded a posthumous star on Broad Street’s Walk of Stars in Birmingham last month.

More than 10,000 people took part in Free Radio’s Walk for Harry earlier this year, with the proceeds split between HHHO and Birmingham Children’s Hospital.

Harry’s mother Georgie Mosely said that “Ultimately our objective is to find a cure [for brain cancer], but every step of the way we want to support families that are going through the journey: whether it is practical help, or just creating smiles at Christmas; because sadly for some families like us, memories are all you get left with.”

You can check out the HHHO website here, and if you would like to donate £5 to the charity, simply text HARRY to 70800.

Posted by: AnnaBigCat on

Not only have Big Cat events been working at the major festivals this summer but we’ve also been working a little more locally, delivering two Birmingham City Council events. Bringing to life a real taste of Jamaica with Jamaica in the Square and coordinating The School Games, a two day sporting event for school pupils.

Having provided and managing the bar, as well as the technical production management our event management team worked with the Jamaica in the Square team to enhance the delivery of an artistic programme which reflected the Council’s objectives.

Thousands of people turned up at Victoria Square over the 5 day festival to celebrate Jamaican culture, music, history, business and tradition. And of course who could forget the atmosphere on Jamaica’s Independence Day which attracted many more festival goers to Jamaica in the Square, the day after we’d watched Usain Bolt win the 100m final on the big screen!

The School Games event management was a different kettle of fish, but no less exciting. We worked with the department for Young People in Sport and the LOC (Local Organisation Committees) to produce stage 3, the final stage, of the School Games competition; a two day sports day based at the University of Birmingham and the Alexander Stadium.

Pupils and teachers from 11 areas across the city took part in over 20 sports, all while our Birmingham events team handled the health and safety, logistics management, registration organisation, AV hire and venue dressing. Supported by Heart FM and Global Radio the event was a huge success with over 1,700 primary and secondary pupils attending over the two days.

Keep your eyes peeled for new case studies on all this summer’s events from our Birmingham event management team and if you want to find our more information of any of these events or how our event services can help you just drop us a line.

Posted by: Hannah Wood on

Jamaica in the Square 2012

In the battle for survival during our recession, it is common knowledge that some of our well loved high street stores are depleting fast. Household names such Habitat, Blacks, Peacocks and Game are feeling the pinch at the moment, whilst stores such as Clinton Cards are joining Woolworths in becoming a distant childhood memory of ours.

BUT all is not lost for our friends in the third sector. It seems that a combination of factors; trends for vintage clothing, online sales models, and our need to be thriftier with our cash, has resulted in 55% of us now using charity shops. It has recently been reported that charity shops are experiencing sales growth of 3.6% to £974m. Shockingly, there are now more than 9,000 charity shops and they are rebelliously growing in numbers, despite the country’s financial situation.

Management Today has published a rather interesting article on the factors behind our charity shops recent success and the impact it’s having. Click here to see the full article.

Posted by: Greg Beckett on

First Place for the Third Sector

I’ve just completed my 3-month internship with Big Cat, as Junior PR Account Executive, and just from looking back at my Big Cat portfolio; I can say it’s been amazing.

Starting a new job can be terrifying when you don’t know anybody, but on my first day I was welcomed into the Big Cat pride; being introduced to the team and even invited out for lunch. I quickly got comfortable at my desk, started talking to everyone, and even earned myself an office nickname!

I think I joined at a perfect, but very busy time at Big Cat, as the team were preparing for the East meets West concert at The Albert Hall, a huge performance in Birmingham, as well as a variety of other accounts.

I was quickly tasked with a range of jobs, whether this was writing press releases, or preparing media logs. At every level, I was given advice on how to improve my work and go further with my PR career.

My favourite project to work on has been ‘The Voyage’. I worked on the social media, press releases, and website for this event, that saw crowds of 15,000 attend. There’s nothing like seeing hundreds of positive tweets and articles to make you realise what a great job you and your team have done.

I can honestly say I’ve never been bored or at a loss for things to do. The Big Cat office is a hub of activity, and there’s always an interesting project to get involved in, from writing and tweeting about our latest case studies, to researching exciting new prospects.

It’s been a lot of fun at Big Cat, whether I’ve been working on this very website, learning new PR skills, or swinging from trees on the team building day. However, I think the most important thing for me was that I was never ‘just an intern’. I was always thanked, appreciated, and given recognition for the work that I’d done.

I’ve had a fantastic experience at Big Cat, and I’ve realised that PR and Communications is the perfect job role for me. With a brilliant portfolio and plenty of excellent advice, I’m ready to step into the PR world.

But, like I said to Nat – “Once a Big Cat, always a Big Cat!”

Hayley Lingard, PR Intern

Posted by: Greg Beckett on

 

My blog would end up being a book if I wrote about all of the events that I worked on, but here are just a few of my favourites:

Miss Bentley!

During the Birmingham school games, I don’t think we could have been rained on more whilst breaking down an event, ever. In spite of the unusual downpour during the opening ceremony, the school games were a great success. The sun was out for the secondary school event and brought with it nearly 1000 school pupils and young sports leaders. There were teams of children who were now coming towards the end of their secondary education who I had taught as primary school pupils, which made me feel a tiny bit old, but the familiar “Miss Bentley” being shouted at me whilst getting  1000 teenagers  into coaches did make me smile.

Mostly Jazz

From build to break, I was involved in the event in its entirety. The break of the event was probably the most memorable. Imagine (if you possibly can) two massive cubes made up of four pint jugs.  The problem: how do we get these out of the park intact? Add a lot of mud to the mix and then ask yourself, how do we get them out of the park clean and intact? String, gaffer tape and a generous dose of blood, sweat and tears (Roxy vs. the cube…the cube won) found them pushed, rolled and eventually finding their way back to the van and, in the lockup. The less said about the lock up and the four Pinters the better! Mostly Jazz was a whole heap of hard work and fun with a smattering of mud.

GlobalGathering

GlobalGathering could be likened to a small town in itself. The infrastructure in place covered everything you would need for 40,000 festival goers – 30,000 of which camped on site over the weekend. The health and safety role we had at Global called for a great deal of attention to detail, quick thinking and being able to deal with a sustained intensity through the entirety of the live event;  I couldn’t have asked for better experience in terms of live events. Thank you Nick for giving me to opportunity to be part of this and much respect to you and everyone involved in the event.  I take my hat off to you!

Bit cliché but…

Working with Big Cat has provided me with invaluable experience in all areas of event management. My skills were recognised and used effectively to work alongside the senior events manager here from whom I have learnt so very much. Working here has given me a solid grounding from which I can now move forward confidently and with a real desire to progress in this industry.  I am a great believer in somewhat cliché idea: you get out what you put in. My experience has confirmed this and I now know what I want to do with my life. So, for this and many other reasons; Big Cat shall always have a special place in my heart. Big up The Big Cat et merci beaucoup!

- Rukhsana Bentley, Events Intern

Posted by: Hayley Lingard on

 

Tape measure, gaffer tape, cable ties, Velcro…

Finishing my last job with thoughts of there being a little bit of a change of career needed, this became quite a significant change and a slightly risky one at that but hey, what’s life without a bit of risk…

I started my internship with Big Cat in April. Four months, 12 projects, more meetings than I could possibly remember, thousands of steps walked (I should have borrowed your pedometer Tat / Mike), many miles driven, numerous cups of tea and many moments of laughter (at or with me, I’m still not quite sure:) I have come to the end of an internship which has lead me to one conclusion… a career this industry is what I want to do with my life.

Clearly, the event world comes with its very own vocabulary…TEN, purple guide, licence variation, ped barrier, herras fencing, SAG, event manual. The list goes on and on and yes, I am pleased to say I can speak French, some Spanish & Italian and now, Events.

Ahhhhh!! Whilst creating the route for The Big Issue Night Walk, I managed to lose my route, say 6 times. I must explain that most of those were due to Rob interfering and the computer holding some kind of resentment towards him. Google maps has since found a place in my heart although; when lost somewhere near the NEC trying to find a Halfords, I would recommend not having your phone in French!

The RoSPA prints art expo gave an insight into working on exhibitions from the creation of prints to the design of a gallery with a colleague’s particular take on attention to detail, lots of easels and quite a bit of Velcro.

When the LTA commissioned a tennis court to be created in The Mailbox, our role was to install and maintain a professional standard tennis court promoting the AEGON Classic. Practically speaking, the build of the tennis court was a lesson in itself, not to mention using a tape measure properly. Who knew measurement was not my forte? Let’s just say, building and I may still need a bit of work.

 

 

- Rukhsana Bentley, Events Intern

Posted by: Hayley Lingard on

 

It’s come to our attention that even though Social Media has proven to be a fantastic marketing tool, charities often overlook social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, as they feel that it’s just not right for them.

This can be for a variety of reasons; whether it’s a matter of time and money or maybe just a lack of knowledge around the subject. However, social media can be incredibly beneficial to any business, regardless of what sector it may be in.

Of course there are exceptions, The British Heart Foundation for example, make their online community the focus of their campaigns, knowing that many people prefer to donate online. They invite users to “get social” with them, providing them with a choice of social networks and a description of  the interaction they can expect from the BHF on each platform. Through giving this information there is less confusion and users are more likely to be responsive on their preferred social network.

With a Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Flickr account, The British Heart Foundation maximises its audience reach by appealing to a range of users, whether they want to hear the BHF’s work, share this with their friends, or simply view videos and photos from events.

Smaller charities should follow this lead. At minimal cost, charities can promote themselves to audiences who otherwise might have not heard about the work that they do, or the events and campaigns that they are planning.

However, it is important to focus on the key areas that need to be developed, and the goals you want to achieve by using social media. This way a social media strategy can be devised that will utilise the best marketing tools and ultimately produce the best results possible.

Social media can empower employees, as they suddenly become the voice of a campaign and a brand. It can engage users in a whole new way, allowing direct communication and unique audience insight.

So what are you waiting for? Jump aboard the social media train; but look before you leap, consider your audience, motives and your expectations in order to get the most from your social media presence.

Posted by: Hayley Lingard on

The emergence and growth of social networks has changed the marketing world substantially, with the power having (arguably) been largely shifted from brand to consumer.

You only have to look at the success of the latest KitKat promotion to see social media in action. When the four limited edition flavours were launched earlier in the year, my twitter feed was inundated with people on a mission to find all four.

So now, my desperate friends were actually going round various shops not just to buy one chocolate bar, but four. They then had to try each again and again, so as to cast a fair vote for their favourite. This was of course being documented on their Twitter profiles, and eventually photographed for Facebook and Instagram.

The campaign was a success, with social networks rejoicing about the availability of the new Peanut Butter KitKat, chosen and voted for by the consumer, the follower, the fan.

Perhaps even more inventive is Edgar Wrights ‘Brandon Generator’. This five episode crowd sourced animated feature tells the story of Brandon, a struggling writer, who falls asleep, only to wake up to discover that he’s got a number of new ideas.

The twist? The messages left on his dictaphone, the drawings on his notepad and the stories on his laptop were left by followers, fans, and visitors of the website. Each new inspiring thought was animated into the next episode, allowing users to see their own ideas come to life week by week. In total, 9000 tweeters left art, prose and voicemails on the website.

However, there’s an amount of trust involved in giving strangers control over campaigns. Last month, American chain Walmart launched a competition, inviting fans to like their individual City pages. As a reward, pop star Pitbull would make a special guest appearance at the Walmart with the most likes. However, the campaign was hijacked by a prankster trying to ‘Exile Pitbull’ by ensuring that he played in the most remote location possible. As a result, the Alaskan City of Kodiak won the special appearance – receiving over 60,000 likes – nearly ten times the actual population.

What’s clear, is that advertisers must know their market, and be well prepared for their reaction. Giving consumers the ‘power’ is a fantastic way to get people directly involved, and spread the message from follower to follower, fan to fan, and friend to friend.

Posted by: Hayley Lingard on

A new law has been passed recently here in the advertising world which restricts the use of certain words and phrases associated with the 2012 Olympic Games. Working in advertising, I am aware of these restrictions but it is only recently I have found just how deep these boundaries go, not to mention the trouble one can get in to for not following these temporary rules. The full list of rules and regulations can be seen here.

Although this ban is temporary, it could have some serious effects on advertisers who are not even trying to associate their brand with the Games. Some of the restrictions could be used unintentionally and the company could get penalised for this. The list of rules also states that not every restraint is listed and that some advertisements may be subject to penalisation if the content is deemed to be associated with the Games. This means that advertisers have to be especially careful when designing campaigns to be released during this time as practically anything could be deemed to be associated with the Games.

As frustrating as these measurements may seem to advertisers and marketers, they are all for a good reason. Preventing ambush advertising is high on the list of must-dos this summer. After all, companies such as McDonalds and Cadburys are paying hundreds of thousands of pounds to be official sponsors; it would be unfair allow other brands to claim that they are involved in the Olympics to boost their sales. The restrictions are tight, forbidding anybody to even use the Olympic colours or images of any sport, despite this there are some blogs claiming to give marketers advice on how to get around these rules. Encouraging brands to play on the fact that the Olympic Games tap into the emotion of nationalistic pride rather than using any visual stimuli relating to the Games could be just as effective when it comes to making a brand stand out from the ‘noise’.

I am all for preventing ambush advertising and respecting the sponsors’ input to the events but I am curious as to whether anybody will manage to overcome the restrictions in a new and creative way. The Olympic ban starts today, and I will be keeping my eyes peeled.

Posted by: Greg Beckett on

We are big fans at Big Cat of any innovative digital marketing campaigns, and Grolsch’s newest campaign is likely to be one of the marketing highlights of the year. Hosted on the Grolsch website, consumers are introduced to Journt Von Deg, a silent police officer who has a large network of informants, making him one of the best investigators in his country. You are then beckoned to text your name to his number, and if he has heard of you, Grolsch will give you a free 4 pack (which can be redeemed at various retail outlets).

This builds on the unique strengths offered by digital marketing channels, where you can interact and engage with consumers. Previous interactive campaigns have proven to be highly successful at driving up sales and improving brand perception; Old Spice’s famous “Smell like a man, man” campaign generated over 42,000,000 views on Youtube, and according to Nielsen led to a 55% sales increase in the three months following the campaign launch. It will be interesting to see if Grolsch can match these impressive returns.

If you want a chance to score some free beers, or simply want to see Grolsch’s interactive campaign in action, click here.

 

Posted by: Greg Beckett on

Over the years marketeers have attempted to implement a wide variety of metrics when it comes to evaluating the value of Facebook campaigns. No one methodology has been outlined as ‘the one’ though however there are case studies coming to light of brands who seem to have found a way.

Last week Heineken’s cider brand, Bulmers determined that each one of its Facebook fans was worth £3.82, which is pretty precise. You can find the full article on Marketing Week’s website.

Econsultancy has today published a rather interesting article on the ROI of Facebook with a number of quotes from researchers and marketeers. Click here to see the full article.

Posted by: Chris Brown on

San Carlo restaurants, a multi award winning Italian restaurant group and long standing client of Big Cat, has announced an increase in turnover of 36.8% to more than £27 million. This success has helped grow the company even further, leading to the latest addition, Fumo in Birmingham. This cicchetti style bar/restaurant has ignited its presence firmly in the Colmore business district in central Birmingham, and we can speak from experience, it is incredible!

So what is this success down to? When asked about this accomplishment, Carlo Distefano (Chairman) commented on the continued development of the San Carlo brand, which increased the operations in all the restaurants. He went on to say “We expect to continually develop the San Carlo brand into 2012 and further increase the operations at all restaurants throughout England”. Big Cat are proud to be working with such a successful client. For 6 years we have played a large role in their marketing campaigns and helped to develop the San Carlo brand. Many congratulations to the Italian Restaurant empire and we are sure of more triumphs to come!

For the full report click here

 

Posted by: Natalie Hartland on

I first saw this concept in Singapore. Well done Bullring  for this innovative use of empty shop units.

Posted by: Anthony on

Well done to the guys at Dior on the amazing backdrop for the Raf Simons’s debut collection for Dior. Looks amazing… watch the video to see how it was built in 4 days.

Posted by: Natalie Hartland on

One of the things I love about working in marketing is that it is constantly evolving and changing. I recently read an article that made me reflect on the impact that digital technologies have had on how we approach marketing campaigns for our clients.

Publishing

Digital technology has had a huge impact on publishing. Low prices on Internet retailers like Amazon are threatening high street retailers who cannot match online prices. Despite this, we are beginning to see some really clever ideas coming out of New York publishers Melville House, who are embracing digital technologies and integrating ‘added value’ to high street stockists through hybrid books. They have started to release books where readers are able to unlock bonus features by scanning a QR code which links to content such as author Q+As or books discussion pages. This is setting the high street apart from online retailers as readers can get better value for money.

Digital hardware like the iPad has opened up another avenue for publishers to work with and flex their creative muscles. One of the challenges they have had to overcome is the loss of interaction without a physical book to hold. This is especially true of children’s popup books; however publishers can now include puzzles, animations or sound effects to fully exploit the iPad’s technology and enhance the reader’s experience.

Will and Kate Digital Book

Television

Television viewers are increasingly participating in a dual screen experience with their tablets or laptops whilst watching TV. This has posed questions to advertisers who are competing for the attention of a distracted audience, but these questions are being answered with the use of social media. By featuring hashtags in their adverts, audiences are invited by marketers to use their ‘distracting’ second screen to discuss adverts and interact with what they are watching. Television producers are using a similar tactic as well. Programmes like X Factor, which tweets backstage photos of contestants, guest performers and presenters, are using social networks effectively to interact with their audiences. YouTube can also be a useful way of attracting audiences, as Family Feud proved in America. By uploading ‘too rude for TV’ clips, the show attracted 45 million hits online, as well as a 40% rise in viewing figures.

Social interaction on TV show the X-Factor

Outdoor

Digital technology is having a really exciting influence on how we approach outdoor advertising. Traditionally we would be looking at static 6 Sheet or 48 Sheet opportunities, but with the introduction of digital screens we are beginning to see some really cool campaigns emerging. Unilever’s campaign for Lynx using outdoor screens went viral on YouTube when videos were posted of Angels ‘falling’ onto the streets of Birmingham and London. Pedestrians were invited to stand in front of digital screens and watch as the Angels surrounded them. Augmented reality is a rapidly developing technology and I’m sure we will see this being integrated a lot more over the next 12 months.

In conclusion; new technologies can threaten the way we do our work, but you can guarantee that it will lead to the marketing industry coming up with even better ways of doing things, and getting the best results for our clients. I for one am excited about what the future holds for digital technology and how we can use this to our advantage and integrate it into our campaigns.

Posted by: Ruston Butcher on

With Wimbledon in full swing and the Grand Final just around the corner, there’s been a surge of people taking up their rackets in Birmingham as The Mailbox teamed up with the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) and installed an open-air tennis court in the Ground Floor of the complex.

Big Cat Events were first to serve on the court as they managed the logistics and build of the court in celebration of The Mailbox’s partnership with AEGON Classic Tennis Tournament.

 

Running from 2nd June – 8th July, tennis amateurs and professionals alike can book 50 minute tournaments by visiting The Mailbox’s website.

Posted by: Chris Brown on

So yesterday was a big day for the Big Cat PR team, with The Voyage setting sail from Birmingham. The team really were all hands on deck as Channel 4 News, National ITV, Sky News, Central News, Midlands Today and BBC WM were all reporting from the HMS Olympia.

Feedback has been fantastic for the project and we’re particualry proud of this little piece with Channel 4′s Culture Editor, Matthew Cain.

To give you a sneak peek behind the scenes, make sure you check out the image gallery below.

Posted by: Chris Brown on

The recent news about Tesco’s profits falling within the UK came as a bit of surprise, but it wasn’t totally unexpected.

Tesco have fallen out of touch with their consumers through out of date marketing campaigns that have been overshadowed by their competitors.  Here are just a few ways that Tesco could rejuvenate there image with interactive marketing campaigns.

Greggs

What we love about Gregg’s new campaign is that it reaches over many platforms, and even includes bus-stops pumping out the delightful smell of bacon rolls and coffee.  With a dedicated micro-site, as well as mobile apps for iOS and Android, Greggs is defiantly keeping on trend and in their customer’s minds.  Have a look over here.

Waitrose

Waitrose’s Christmas ad worked perfectly in bringing together the Christmas traditions of old with new exciting ideas.  Working alongside Delia and Heston, Waitrose weren’t selling their customers food, but rather a very merry Christmas experience.  This worked brilliantly as it captured the imagination of the consumer and allowed them to build their Christmas around Waitrose products.

Starbucks

You’ve probably already noticed that Starbucks are now asking customers to ‘introduce’ themselves.  Caffeine lovers were overjoyed when Starbucks offered a free latte to anybody who came and introduced themselves.  This resulted in the hashtag #freestarbucks trending on Twitter, with support from celebrities like Jimmy Carr.  This promotion got thousands of new customers through the door, and made existing customers feel valued.

So Tesco take note.  Customers love to feel valued and are looking to interact and be entertained by their products.  No longer can you win our hearts with a value ready meal for one!

 

Posted by: Ruston Butcher on

With the 2nd term of university in full flow, Big Cat were called into action by current clients Glide Utilities to deliver a number of fairs based at campuses around the UK for over 10,000 students.

After creating a bespoke events calendar tailored to best suit Glide’s needs, the Big Cat events team were tasked with the planning, logistics and execution of fairs and Student Lifestyle Festivals in London, Glasgow and Portsmouth to name just a few. In order to draw students to engage with Glide, Big Cat used the one item that all students crave whilst at university… food; and in particular, freshly made popcorn.

 

With just the right levels of oil, sugar and corn the key element to the ideal ‘pop’, over the past month the events team have perfected the fine art of popcorn-making, whilst obviously testing each batch to ensure 100% quality!

Being well-travelled and clocking up over 1,500 miles and 30kg of sugar, it was clear that all the fairs were a great success and it is safe to say the Big Cat events team will be steering clear of popcorn for the foreseeable future!

 

Posted by: Chris Brown on

How well do you know your city and the people that live in it? Ever wondered how city life changes when the sun sets? Well this year Big Cat have teamed up with one of the UK’s leading social enterprises, The Big Issue to offer you a unique look at Birmingham at the dead of night through The Night Walk, a rather different type of fundraising event.

The Night Walk is exactly what it says on the tin, a walk in the dead of night. Having been successfully run in London for the past 3 years, The Big Issue felt it was about time they took it out of the Big Smoke to give more people the opportunity to show their support for such a fantastic cause.

Taking place in April, The Night Walk is a 25KM sponsored walk where urban ramblers will be able to experience the city in a new light whilst in the safety of an organised group. The route will let walkers take in the astounding architecture of some of the city’s most distinctive buildings. There may even be a surprise or two along the way with a sneak peek into the buildings.

This is the first time The Night Walk has taken place outside of London and Big Cat is proud to be able to provide event management support to such a fantastic cause.

All money raised on the expedition will go straight towards supporting The Big Issue foundation and the work that it does to help the homeless.

Keep your eyes peeled on The Big Issue website to see how you can get involved in The Night Walk

Posted by: Chris Brown on