Tag Archives: PR

Big Cat brings CSI: The Experience to Birmingham

Birmingham based 3600 agency Big Cat, have secured a deal as the UK territory partner for an exciting new interactive entertainment experience, from EMS Exhibits the official international booking agent and promoter of CSI: The Experience – coming to Birmingham in February. Big Cat has been selected to deliver the event management & logistics, PR, social media marketing and design implementation.

February 26 sees the UK premier of CSI: The Experience which takes visitors on an exhilarating journey through dark alleys and hot deserts, to gather evidence and crack the case. CSI: The Experience will be making its UK debut in Birmingham next month in the country’s busiest shopping centre, Bullring Birmingham. The hugely successful attraction will challenge and stimulate all its visitors. CSI: The Experience is developed by the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History and produced by EMS Exhibits, a division of Event Marketing Service GmbH under a license from CBS Consumer Products.

Nick Morgan, CEO of Big Cat Group said: “This year is set to be an exciting year for Big Cat. CSI: The Experience will be the second international attraction that we have opened in Birmingham after a successful 3 month run of Bodies Revealed at the Custard Factory; part of a wider initiative to bring world class events to Birmingham as oppose to London and Manchester.

“We’ve been meticulously planning the project for some time now, and are excited to see all of the teams hard work come to fruition. The Bullring is a fantastic location for CSI: The Experience and we are delighted to be opening the first attraction in the busy shopping centre.

“The show has already visited Vienna, Dublin, Warsaw, Budapest and Las Vegas, all of which have been great successes. We’re hoping that the Birmingham experience will continue the trend.”

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10 reasons why you should hire a PR company

I came across a blog last week entitled “10 reasons why you should get rid of your PR firm”. Personally I feel all the reasons are rubbish, well for Big Cat at least.

In response to the blog I thought I’d do my own “10 reasons why you should hire a PR company”

Now I’m not one of those types that thinks every company in the world needs a PR firm, it all depends on circumstance, resources, what you actually want to accomplish and whether or not you can achieve it yourself.

Most PR companies deserve your time because……

1) We know our market

There are a vast range of resources out there which allow PR companies to analyse their market, whether it be software such as Media Disk which allows us to find the right journalist for the right story, or online websites such as Mintel which contain a whole wealth of stats and figures on any topic you could imagine. If you want to know your market you’ve got to put the time and research in.

2) We speak English

Many PR firms have a number of B2B clients which specalise in technical goods that Joe-Public aren’t interested in. Due to the type of market, much of the material has to be technical as well, however you have to be careful not to overload it. If you’re writing for the trade press, the reader will know much of the technical info already so you can get straight to the point. There’s no need to skirt around the topic, most times its better to dive in straight to the point.

There’s also an opposite to this. As PR’s we’re often asked to “flower-up” a release, make it more interesting and appealing to the reader. Again, this is another trap that a good PR knows to avoid. It’s ok adding the extra multi-syllable word here and there, but you have to be careful not to overdo it, otherwise your release ends up looking like an 18th century novel rather than an article for a newspaper.

A good PR can write a release to fit any subject area, whether it be B2B or for the general public. Through research, practice and meticulous proof reading you can ensure that any release is ready for its target audience and is easily understandable.

3) We’re not journalists

Journalists are 100% essential for any PR. Building rapport with journalists makes life a hell of a lot easier, and I’m not on about sending them gifts (which I’m sure they love), just treat them normally. A couple of my closest friends are journalists and the one thing they hate is people who brown nose. Just show a general interest, they’re not aliens (which surprisingly many people still believe). It seems (despite how much both sides disagree) journalists and PR folk are more a like than either of them realise.

4) We care

I’m relatively new to the industry however I still get a buzz when I get a piece of coverage, it doesn’t matter how big it is or whether its national or in a small local paper, to me coverage is coverage. Hopefully I’ll always feel like that.

One thing I can’t stand is blanketing out a press release to a million journalists. If you’re a good PR you have your contacts and know who to target. If you’re venturing into a new arena, do your research and pick up the phone. However its better to find out when journalists aren’t on a deadline though and time your calls for then.

Sending out a release to 14 titles isn’t a result to me, it’s not until I see the story in the appropriate publication that I know the job is done. I’m pretty sure this is how the client feels as well as telling them the release has been sent out isn’t what their paying for.

5) We manage our resources

I’m going to use the old cliché here and say that all businesses are under pressure to generate the same if not greater results on far fewer resources. However its upto the good PR to keep tabs on the resources and manage client expectations accordingly. Over-servicing has become essential over recent months, however the majority of the time its the only way to get the results. Quality should always overcome quantity.

6) We’re good at publicity

This is sort of self-explanatory. How else would you know about a good PR company unless their good at publicity? There are so many platforms to promote a company whether it be via newspapers, trade titles or social media. However word of mouth and recommendations still seems to be the best way to get new clients.

7) We don’t like ruts

Any good PR loves a challenge and something new to dig their teeth into. That doesn’t necessarily mean a new client though. It’s a PR’s job to make their own work interesting, that’s the challenge. Injecting life and new ideas into a campaign not only keeps the client happy but also the agency team.

8 ) We choose good clients

We’re not all money grabbing Fat Cats, many of us like to pick who we work with and for very carefully. There are a number of PR firms in Birmingham, including Big Cat who are proud of who they work for and the results they achieve. A lot of the time people think its the client that chooses the PR firm, but the PR firm has to have some say in it as well otherwise the campaign will never succeed.

9) We make the industry look good

All in all the majority of PR agencies do a dam good job. Every single one is different, each with their own methodology, quirks and perks. I’m not saying that all agencies are fantastic, far from it, however they don’t deserve the bad reputation which they seem to have developed over recent years.

Some of the countries greatest product awareness stunts were designed and implemented by PR firms, so next time think before you come out with a comment such as “Oh, you’re one of those.”

10) We love what we do

Simple as that. We, the team at Big Cat love what we do. We love our clients, we love our work and we love each other (well  most of the time). Becuase of this we do a damn good job, and this is why we continue to work with some of the best clients in the country

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New Kid on the block

Hi I’m Chris, 22, originally from Wolverhampton, now living in Birmingham. My favourite film is “A tale of 2 sisters”, favourite food is Cornish pasty and favourite band is Epica.

Right, that’s the introductions out the way. If you’d hadn’t guessed from all the tweeting I’m the new Senior Account Executive here at Big Cat, working alongside Natalie in the PR team.

This is the start of my third week here at Big Cat, and in all honesty the first chance I’ve had to blog. It’s been an incredibly busy two weeks in the office, filled with client meetings, tenders and the occasional rubbing of shoulders with celebrities…what a life eh.

My role here at Big Cat will be to support Natalie on all fronts as well as look after clients’ needs/wants in regards to social media. So if you have any questions about what’s trending in the world of social media or just want some advice, don’t be afraid to drop me a line.

Stay tuned to the Big Cat Comms blog as we’ll be keeping you up to date with the goings on in the office and what’s happening in world of PR.

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Does Birmingham have the right qualifications?

The 27th annual climb in A level grades were announced yesterday to great fanfares of cynicism and howls of “dumbing down”. Thousands of Birmingham youngsters share in the bumper year’s results but they are discovering that A levels are a debased currency when it comes to a university place.

Up to 6 students are chasing every place available through the clearing system as the best cohort in history fight for entry to a degree course. By mid morning yesterday the elite universities had already announced they were full.

Birmingham University by Tom Thorpe

Birmingham University by Tom Thorpe

Today’s headlines have got me thinking about whether Birmingham has the qualifications to retain its students after they have graduated from our universities and colleges?

A cynic (who me?) could say Broad Street is now a cultural and literal wasteland. The once über cool Arcadian Centre has lost its shine. Pubs and Clubs are being closed in Digbeth because of noise bleed and poor planning policy. The dire lack of support for independent retail has resulted in a homogenous shopping experience in the city centre.

Can Birmingham ever compete against London in the graduate retention stakes?

The more I think about it the more I like the idea of a Greater Birmingham. I doubt this will ever happen but when I consider how we gain maximum leverage from our local assets I can only see benefit from the region having a shared and thus louder voice with its combined assets and a coherent communications strategy with synergistic objectives. The surrounding towns and boroughs will not lose their identity or charm any more than Chelsea or Wimbledon did during the creation of Greater London in the ‘60s.

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Sharkey and George are back!!!

That time again… here to give you a sneak preview into the goings on in the Big Cat office.

The rain has been getting the Big Cat team down, so to cheer themselves up they decided to have a go-karting team building day! Its not safe for goldfish to go go-karting so we stayed in the safety of the board room. Well done to Nick Morgan & Julie Edge for winning the group race and Anthony Tattum for winning overall day!

go karting

We have seen some new faces in the office – Leila Campbell who sits with the events team and Sarah Stephenson who has been in the design studio. Its nice to see more ladies in the office.

This month has also seen the launch of departmental blogs. We did ask if we could have one but the boss said no – this regular post once a month is enough *sob sob*.

Events team has been working on events all over the city as everyone’s favourite venue The Old Library undergoes a refurbishment. This will include a new floor, new lighting system and a lick of paint amongst other things.

The PR, Social Media and events team had great news that they will be working together on 2 new projects. Events and Social Media will be working together on the West Midlands Police’s Safer Students campaign; the team working on this project will be making the road show interactive both physically and via the web to encourage trust in the police amongst the youth community.

Another departmental collaboration will be the Chamberlain Awards, the PR and events department will be working together to promote the ceremony and ensure the smooth running on the evening – I hope we get invited so I can wear my tux.

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Big Cat Communication blog is launched

As promised last week, Big Cat’s seperate departments have started launching their own blogs.

We have lift off!

We have lift off!

The first to go up is our PR blog run by Natalie Hartland. She will be giving advice, comment, ideas and general thoughts from the world of PR and communications. The blog has its own twitter feed also.

Obviously it is a very much industry focused blog that will hopefully become a valuable resource for people in the sector.

Our marketing and events blogs are very close to launch and I will of course keep you updated on their happenings.

This blog will start to focus more on Birmingham and Social Media rather than trying to cover advice and comment from our four departments.

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Hi again, Sharkey and George reporting from the board room……

We have been having a great time in the BigCat office this month, lots of visitors and interesting things to report on….

After recently celebrating Birmingham Pride here in the fish bowl (George is gay) we became excited to over hear that the creative team will be working on floats for Pride London on the 4th of July. The home office has commissioned us to create their float … rumour is that it will be a Shakespeare themed float, that ties in with this years ‘Come out and play’ theme. George is more than excited and is hoping for an invite to ride along on the float.
P17-04-09_14.55
The PR and Marketing team have had yet another success within the mystical world of social media after winning a contract for Bournville College. Sadly I don’t think the College has anything to do with Bournville chocolate – It would be a major perk of the job if we got some freebees thrown into the bowl.

Another visitor we have had is a nice chap called Alan Fraser; he’s the CEO of the YMCA Erdington and has been working hard to raise money to build a big social housing development. Alan has asked the PR team to help him raise the remaining £1.5 million needed to complete the build – imagine all the fish bowls you could buy with that!!

As we are Brummies born and bred (Seacago, Brindley Canal) we are in full support of the new Buy Birmingham campaign, we have had a huge response from companies that would like to sign up and pledge to encourage prosperity within Birmingham. Let the team know if you would like more information or would like to join up….they are a friendly bunch and would be happy to help!

We overheard Katy will be leaving us after a year of work experience, we will miss her as she used to clean our bowl, not sure who will do it now?! Arghh!! Katy will continue her summer working in a glamorous events job in America, we may have to jump into the canal and swim to holiday with her – she’s worth it!

If you can’t pop into the office to meet us then please write to us, we enjoy receiving fan mail.

Goodbye for another month, next month I hope we will have some more exciting stories to tell you

Enjoy the sunshine – Sharkey and George x

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