Our motto is ‘never say die’ which reflects the tenacity of our founder, Hannah Kapff, a former news producer and documentary-maker who insists on digging deeper and going the extra mile to ‘tell the story well’. We go ‘above and beyond’ to meet our clients’ needs. We would say, that wouldn’t we? But we have a unique culture that shouts ‘everyone is important’, which nurtures creativity and challenges us to think big when devising campaigns.
When Nature is concerned – as with the Cats and Cat Owners campaign for charity, SongBird Survival – the stakes are high. Planet Earth is witnessing its 6th mass extinction, so as communicators, we are compelled to show the public HOW they can support wildlife. ‘Keeping the dawn chorus alive’ was our shared mission with the charity, and we set out to achieve it – albeit in ways that wouldn’t alienate any stakeholder. Cat ownership has increased in recent decades, and simultaneously, 50% of UK songbirds have disappeared in 50 years, BUT the reasons are highly complex, so our campaign had to avoid the ‘blame game’.
WHAT GETS US OUT OF BED IN THE MORNING?
A great man with a big moustache and ‘E=MC2’ passion said, ‘If you can’t explain it, you don’t understand it well enough’. Einstein was correct, and our ethos is to understand 100% our client, its work, its needs, its opportunities. And then we go all-out to explain their story, their offering, their messages. We bring a tailored approach, not a one-size-fits-all one.
Our managing director gained her degree in Environmental Science when only three British universities offered this course – it was considered somewhat ‘esoteric’. Fast forward to the 2020s: we need environment heroes, but also communications experts to unpick the compex science towards solving our existential crises.
A key driver at Curious PR is ‘making science sexy’. Another is ‘generating huge media audiences’. We harnessed both to issue compelling new research, make SongBird Survival known for funding top quality science, (its tagline is ‘Saving songbirds with science’) and educate the public how to support UK songbirds. Importantly, we were determined to ensure the University of Exeter’s elegantly-designed research did not ‘gather dust on a shelf’.
The charity hadn’t engaged any PR support before, so this would mark a step change in its evolution. We set about putting ourselves in the minds of our target audiences and ensuring meaningful messages hit their targets: people of all ages and locations – from professor to pupil – even those indifferent to biodiversity decline, but whose curiosity could still be stoked…
Our job required conveying complex science whilst being 100% sure not to deviate from that science. We have years of experience in Science, Tech and Healthcare – arguably the most sensitive sectors to work in 0 which ensured accuracy prevailed and scientists’ reputations were never at risk. Our work also involved careful, trust-building collaboration with partners such as iCatCare and the RSPCA. Together we’d deliver clear, concise messages regarding the alarming decline of Songbirds in the UK, and how to help stem that loss by harmlessly intervening to prevent pet cats from hunting birds. It was important to empower, not to alienate, anyone.
“We are extremely proud of our media outreach for Songbird Survival Charity’s “Cats and Cat Owners” Campaign. We issued our stories via three separate ‘waves’ – all of which went global, reaching an unprecedented audience of billions, despite the client’s limited budget spend,”
In Wave 1, we issued engaging materials to the media including a ‘citizen science’ quiz which asked, “What type of cat owner are YOU?”. It was completed by over 25,000 cat owners around the world, and resulting media coverage achieved a combined MUU of well over half a billion ~673,034,856.
At Curious PR we understand the importance of word-of-mouth recommendation to drive perception change, and thereby, behaviour change. We also know now to engage with journalists at traditional media platforms – TV, Radio and Print – to get people talking.
Our social media strategy and activation worked in tandem to generate conversation via Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Our Wave 2 media outreach included scientific findings about ‘Diet & Play’: playing with your cat for 5-10 minutes a day – and – feeding it a premium, meat-rich food presents owners with a win-win scenario for both cat and owner – and helps support bird populations.
We dubbed Wave 3 In October 2021 ‘The Cat’s Whiskers’: chemical isotope analysis of whiskers showed that cats were not being driven to hunt from ‘missing’ nutritional needs, but by behavioural motivations, so owners wondering whether to prevent their cats hunting need not worry on that score.
Together, Wave 2 and 3 secured a combined audience totalling almost 2 Billion ~1,907,239,246 monthly unique users, with the story covered by major broadcasters including ITV News, CNN, BBC Radio and others.
PICTURES TELL A THOUSAND WORDS
Our team created multiple infographics to convey the University of Exeter’s complex science into ‘bitesize’ messages, ensuring key messages were understood at a glance. For example, “3 simple steps to reduce hunting behaviours in cats” demonstrated how we can ALL take action to support threatened UK species.
We continue to be delighted with the results of this campaign, and regularly meet people who heard playing with their cat is a key solution. It was satisfying to boost scientists’ reputations whilst putting on the map a small, brave, independent charity that really is ‘saving songbirds with science’.
Being nominated for the UK Agency Awards has been a wonderful incentive for Curious PR to carry on doing what we do best: bring #FactsToLife to the public for the greater good. It’s what gets us out of bed in the morning -, even if the birds beat us to it with their exquisite song.