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What seminar isn’t enhanced by some pictures of cats?

How can you use popular trends to tell your story


Recently I attended a conference hosted by one of my clients, RE Today. And although I wasn’t able to stay for long, I did get the opportunity to sit in one one of the sessions. It began with all the normal introductions. And then a picture of some adorable kittens. Because as Lat Blaylock, editor of the eminently respected REtoday magazine and the presenter of the session asked of us:

“What seminar isn’t enhanced by some pictures of cats?”

Lat went on to demonstrate some excellent examples of children’s RE work and how the cats and kittens illustrated a story from the Qur’an, making that first picture relevant and current. It started me thinking…

How can businesses use popular trends to tell not sell their story?

You may have seen the new McVitie’s biscuit advert where we see a nervous student sharing his packet of chocolate biscuits, but instead of biscuits we see cute little kittens? Not only that, but McVities’s also offer an app that when pointed at a pack of chocolate digestives, gives shoppers their own virtual, Tamagotichi style kitten. McVities have see that if they have kittens or cats in their adverts they’ll get our attention; cats being the most viewed ‘thing’ online.

The offices of D&B are strictly ruled by our ‘office dogs’ but we get the cat thing!

So with trends, fads and the social media landscape changing so quickly how can the small business stay current and relevant?

  • A good plan.  Being reactive to trends and current affairs is important but stay focused on the issues that affect your business.  Any campaign, whether reactive or proactive should sit within an overall plan. 
  • Be aware of key events.  National holidays or awareness days offer excellent ‘hooks’ to hang your activities, whatever the media. For instance, if you own a pet shop then then you could build campaigns around #nationaldogday; giving out sample dog food, running ‘happy hound’ photo competitions, come to our puppy party events etc
  • Keep an eye on social treads. Set aside time each day to check your twitter feed to check out hashtags and trending topics. Have a look at your competitor’s social media too and see how they use their platforms to engage with their followers. You can use social media and on line surveys, such as surveymonkey, to explore what customers are buying or what they think of different products or services for example.

So back to Lat’s question and whether his use of kittens to grab delegates attention was gratuitous! Been the consummate professional he had woven the kittens into the context of his seminar. And we should do the same. By all means look to current trends, fads and fashions but use them to support your business story, keeping your marketing messages consistent and clear.