Tag Archives: Big Cat Group

It’s Christmas time….

Well it’s been a busy old few weeks here at the Big Cat office. Usually during the run up to Christmas people start winding down, brew the mulled wine and pop open the mince pies…no such luck here, it’s been hands on deck.

Last Friday saw the launch of NEC Funworld, Europe’s most exciting funfair, which Big Cat PR and Marketing had a helping hand in promoting. Featuring over 60 adrenaline fuelled rides including The Superstar, Frisbee and Frog, it’s enough to turn your stomach (which Chris Brown can testify too).

As with any launch though, you have to have a high-profile celebrity, and boy did we have an act. X-Factor legends John and Edward performed a number hits on the night which included their very own interpretation of “Ghostbusters”. The hall was buzzing with atmosphere, with a crowd of screaming girls (and a few boys) chanting “JEDWARD! JEDWARD!”. Some of the girls had been queuing up since 1:00pm in the afternoon and during the time had practiced a little routine to wow the twins with.

The launch event was a great success though with the Big Cat team even having some time on the rides themselves….well we had to make sure all the rides worked ok.

But, no rest for the wicked though. 3 days left till we break up for Christmas and we still have a pile of work to get through. Some great projects coming up in the New Year though which we’re really excited about, however it’s all a bit hush hush at the moment so you’ll have to wait and see what they are.

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Filed under Big Cat Group, Big Cat Social, Marketing, PR

Tips on Social Media from our Bournville account

In the interests of Social Media and idea sharing, I would like to do a small post on our work with Bournville College.

bournvilleBournville College is a sixth form and adult education establishment just outside Birmingham city centre. They’re an extremely innovative college that were looking to use social media as a tool for connecting with current and prospective students. They contacted us on the matter and off we went.

As with all things, the campaign evolved and adapted throughout its duration. We had a water tight strategy but it is impossible to foresee trends and patterns in student viewing habits. Our campaign was based around the existing Bournville Blog that had been left dormant for sometime and we set up a bouquet of social media applications that were to satellite the blog acting as a referral tool and a real time conversational app.

bournville2As it is impossible to forecast the best social media apps for reaching students, we started with a blanket campaign over all the apps including Twitter, Bebo, MySpace, YouTube, Facebook, Digg, StumbleUpon and Delicious. Each was given equal weight and attention until it became clear which ones were effective and which ones were not.

We applied the same ‘survival of the fittest’ mentality to the blog which was the ‘meat on the bone’ of the campaign. We initially wrote a new blog post every day with each post covering a different school subject everyday. We tried to make all posts appeal to inquisitive teens so we did posts on things such as the science behind a bacon sandwich and discussing what ‘Only fools and horses’ taught us about finance as well as live social reporting from Bournville’s open days and fayres.bournville3

Conversation was the foundation of our campaign and our main goal from start to finish was to create content that would provoke comments. Dialogue is the most important part of social media. Our initial posts, although well visited, were not gaining the frequency of comments we were hoping for. A more question based blogging style was to be used. We wanted to talk about relevant topics and ask the audience for their feedback. It was a great deal more successful and our blog and Facebook pages soon became forums for people to comment on.

With regards to applications and portals, there is no cast iron one that works for everyone. With our young audience we had anticipated a lot more from our Bebo page but it was Facebook, Stumble and Digg that were our big hitters, so we pulled out of the other applications and put our energies into making them a success. Twitter was a slight disappointment which I think may have been a result of Twitter being a more adult toy, certainly for our other accounts, particularly Bodies Revealed, Twitter has been an excellent conversational tool and information portal.Facebook

The question asking and dialogue through Facebook kept interest up during the summer holidays where we were expecting a down turn. Our social reporting was gaining a lot of hits and a small community was growing. As the campaign drew to its climax and prospectus downloads became the paramount target, our posts across all apps became a lot more sales driven.

In the end, Bournville received a record high enrollment and they will now be using social media as a regular tool for communication within the college.

We don’t profess to be social media geniuses but there were some valuable lessons we learnt on the way.

1. Always adapt – new trends and apps pop up all the time and devices you thought may be successful often may not be

2. Know you end and goal and stick at it – if you want comments, write posts that provoke comments

3. Reply to everything – it’s obvious but people don’t do it. Social media is two way and that is its sole purpose.

Without wanting to sound a bit shameless, Alma Aganovic of Bournville College had this to say about it all:

Social media is a very innovative marketing approach for the FE sector, with Bournville taking the lead, with Big Cat’s help. Using several social networking websites, as well as our own website blog, we have opened dialogues with potential students and the local community. This has in turn led to increased traffic on our website and an increase in downloaded brochures, both of which have been great news.

Working with Big Cat has been productive and enjoyable. We have monitored the campaign very closely, adapting activities to meet our targets. Big Cat have been very responsive and creative in terms of coming up with suggestions for adjusting campaign objectives, making the most of activities taking place at the College (e.g. Live blogging from Open Days etc). Following the success of the summer campaign, we are continuing to work with Big Cat this year to promote our Open Days. I have no hesitation in recommending this agency as a social media partner.

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The future of the Custard Factory – Part 2

Some time ago I wrote a blog post about what might be the future of the Custard Factory, claiming that its capacity as a music venue had somewhat reached its terminal velocity. Every big night is full but you can’t expand financially until you expand physically.

Time for the Custard Factory to fulfil its potential
Time for the Custard Factory to fulfil its potential

The answer to the conundrum may be answered by the forthcoming Bodies Revealed exhibition and similar events. Bodies Revealed is open all day, six days a week and is expected to bring 6,500 people through the doors of Custard Factory’s Space 2. That is a consistent number that doing big club nights simply can’t compete with. In addition to that, every visitor will no doubt drop into ‘Yumm’ for their lunch, The Old Crown for a pint and do some shopping in the flea market or COW. The knock on effects for the local economy could be profound.

It also provides invaluable PR for the Custard Factory. A new breed of customer will be taken into the creative beehive and see what everyone gets so excited about. It could inspire bigger exhibitions or events to use the Custard Factory, in turn perpetuating more business to the complex and its neighboring amenities.Bodies Revealed

The Gallery, Old Library, Theatre and Factory Club could all benefit from the extra exposure and visitor footfall. The potential of the Custard Factory has been the talk of creative Birmingham for some time, maybe now it is the chance to fulfil it.

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Bodies Revealed comes to the Custard Factory

Visit www.bodiesbirmingham.co.uk

After traveling the world and receiving spectacular reviews from New York to Athens, with the help of Big Cat group, Bodies Revealed is here!
Tropicanna Hotel and Casino Resort
The extraordinary anatomical exhibition is coming to the heart of England and can be seen from the 30th October at the Custard Factory, Birmingham. Without a doubt this is one of the most fascinating and bizarre exhibitions ever to grace the venue, but in conjunction with Dr Roy Glover, the Chief Medical Director and his expert team, we look to educate and inform the public in a truly amazing manner.

This exclusive exhibition gives people of all ages a chance to explore the complex inner workings of our own bodies in an exciting and educational way.

Bodies Revealed is an exciting and pioneering exhibition that revolutionises the way in which we look at our bodies. Using polymer preservation techniques Dr Roy Glover, presents a fantastic opportunity to view the complex systems that we all rely on to live.

‘Opening yourself to a greater knowledge of your own body will enable you to make more informed decisions about its care and keeping. If you are successful at doing this, then the countless hours of work that have gone into developing and preparing the exhibition for you to enjoy will have been richly rewarded.’ Dr. Roy Glover, Chief Medical director. Tropicanna Hotel and Casino Resort

The intimate workings of our bodies has fascinated humans since the dawn of the species, from the first recorded medical dissection by the ancient Greeks in 500 B.C, to the beginnings of the Human Genome project in 2003. Bodies Revealed offers a unique opportunity for the public to see what is really happening inside the human body. Using real human specimens and the pioneering technique of polymer preservation, the effects of a bad diet, excessive drinking and smoking, can bee seen in amazing detail.

It really is an opportunity not to be missed. The incredible instrument that is the human body is stripped bare and all of its deepest and previously hidden wonders are on display for all to see.

Visit www.bodiesbirmingham.co.uk for more information. Bodies Revealed Social Media can be found on Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, Digg and FriendFeed.

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ArtsFest: Great free cultural event or waste of public money

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ArtsFest: Another top notch free event

This weekend Artsfest 2009 is upon us bringing its usual mix of eclectic musical tastes and drip feed of theatre.

Free for all public events is what makes a city in my opinion; it gives you a reason to live or visit somewhere and, credit where its due, Birmingham City Council do make proactive strides to ensure Birmingham is regularly updated with municipal events.
The Council House At ArtsFest 2008_thumb[4]
Frankfurt German Market, Taste of Birmingham, International Food Market, the list goes on. Every month or so an event worth attending rears its head, not only that, a (usually) free event. Music (or perhaps arts) and food seem to be the common themes and, although not particularly varied, they are themes worth persuing.

Art representation grows year on year in Birmingham with Digbeth as its cradle and champion, while food has unexpectedly put Birmingham on the map, with its newly awarded Michelin star restaurants as its flagship. Perhaps food shouldn’t be such a surprise, Birmingham is after all the birth place of Cadbury’s.

So get down to Artsfest, enjoy free, high quality music, because few other places offer it and few others do it at such quality.

And for once let’s doff our caps to the people at BCC who are helping to bring a new identity to the city’s public areas.

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On piano-playing cats and the future of film making

Written by Anthony Tattum on 26 Aug 09 at 10:20am

I am no expert on film making. There, I have said it, so my following comments are based on observations and research. Film making is changing. More specifically: how to make a living from it as a small indie.

Nora playing the piano

Nora playing the piano

I was participating in a conference, Hello Digital, a screen and digital media conference and festival which we [Big Cat] helped organise last year. Film makers were asking a guy from Channel 4 how to make money from film making any more when people download them for free?

The internet has forced a lot of traditional industries to rethink their business models. The media, high street retail and insurance to name but a few have seen revenues decimated by online competition.

There may be a light at the end of the tunnel. Rupert Neate reported in the Telegraph today that the Google owned website YouTube has extended a scheme to share advertising revenues with prolific creators to include one-off video which “goes viral” and proves very popular. The notion of employing global social platforms to distribute content and gain infamy or money is nothing new.

Lauren Luke, a 27-year old from Newcastle-upon-Tyne has dropped out of school and become Britain’s most successful YouTube video creator offering beauty how-to tips.

At present only US-based users will be able to participate, but YouTube has said it intends to extend the scheme internationally. But does this mean that to make a living our highly creative film makers will have to “sell out” and produce piano-playing kitten videos or film their friends doing death defying stunts?

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