Who knew when the internet was in its fledgling stage what a glorious friendship it would form with one of humanity’s most treasured companions? The internet has taken to cats like ducks to water and dare I suggest the former phrase be supplanted by the latter in future generations. And lo! here we are, an Internet Marketing company with “cat” actually IN our name (bearing in mind our name has nothing to with cats). We refer to ourselves on the daily as Attacats, and as an adolescent Atta-kitten myself, I must ask the question: What type of cat would an Attacat be if an Attacat could be a cat?
For those of you not particularly feline-inclined, let me first explain myself. Yes, I love cats and I will go on and on about them given the chance. But this little exercise can reveal much more than a simple fascination with the different breeds of pets we have running around our homes. Taken from a brand positioning perspective, we can reveal a great deal about how we feel about our brand by assigning it a pseudo-personality (like a cat breed).
Still a little hesitant? Let’s give it a go.
The British Shorthair
My first instinct is to go for country-based ties; British Shorthairs and Scottish Folds spring to mind. On the surface, this seems like a good match, but I can’t in good faith call Attacat a British Shorthair (or a Scottish Fold, them being the shorthair’s similar but foldy-eared cousins). I own a British Shorthair. It took her nearly a year to realise there was a counter in the kitchen she could jump on. She had just never tried to do it before because it was too difficult. She ran into something face first so hard she scratched her cornea. Twice. She’s a lovely little cat but, well, there’s a reason I don’t really trust her to go outside. Her name is Bramble and I could talk about her for years.
Persian cats are refined, placid, and friendly towards strangers. They also have a propensity towards smearing food all over their faces when they try to eat anything wet and need constant grooming lest they get large mats of unsightly fur. We’re getting a little closer to Attacat here, but I think we could still do a little better. After all, it’s been weeks and weeks since there’s been any gravy related incidents in the office. And Attacat Steve has really stepped up his table manners lately.
The Russian Blue
These cats are slick as all get out, both in looks and demeanour. When the world is crumbling around them (i.e. when children are pulling their tails), they remain tranquil but alert. They can even be trained to do simple tricks like fetch. But should we really be so easily impressed by cheap tricks? What would be neat is if Russian Blues were known for having an innate understanding of computational physics or cooking dinner for you before you got home from work. I mean, even Bramble can fetch and she often bites her own tail because she forgets that it’s attached to her. Sure, doing tricks can be interesting, for a while. But I like to think the skill sets of Attacat extend beyond a few basic tricks.
This classic breed is known for its energy. Intelligent and playful, they’re the type of cat who will refuse to take a nap on your lap even if you’ve just upturned an entire tin of tuna on yourself. They’ll be too busy exploring and playing with their favourite mousy toy and scaling wardrobes. This would be a great choice for an embodiment of Attacat if it weren’t for one fatal flaw: Abyssinians are fussy. Left to their own devices for too long, they easily become depressed and hopeless for lack of attention. Where’s the fight? Where’s the spirit? Attacats aren’t the type of cats to cry themselves to sleep because no one would play with them that day.
The American Shorthair
If you don’t happen to be a cat fancier, it may be difficult to spot a true American Shorthair when it is surrounded by a handful of typical tomcats and tabbies. But finding a real American Shorthair is a treat, indeed. Above all, they’re known for their versatility and adaptability. Bred to be workers on farms and ships, these easy-going cats easily adjust to new situations and are friendly with strangers. Many strays and moggies in the U.S. are often mistakenly referred to as American Shorthairs, but actually, this is a distinct and pedigree breed officially recognised by The International Cat Association. And I’ll tell you what, they know their cats. This cat is strong. This cat is friendly. This cat is an everyman’s cat.
My own background may be swaying me a bit in this, but geographical sacrilege aside, the American Shorthair is definitely my choice for the Attacat breed. Bred to work and decked with coats of many colours, an American shorthair is the perfect blend of mouse-hunting wrath and cuddly fluff. I can’t think of a better symbol for when the Attacats are curled up in the pub on a Friday night after a hard week of algorithm changes.
This may all seem a bit silly and useless at first; it certainly took me awhile to explain to my superiors why I kept googling cat pictures. But this type of exercise is an incredibly useful tool in a company rebrand. Attacat Danielle led us through a particularly insightful brand-positioning exercise just like this when our logo and website began their changes at the beginning of the year. Standout suggestions from our exercise included:
If Attacat was a celebrity, it would be: Joe Wilkinson
If Attacat was a cheese it would be: Chili Cheddar
If Attacat was a music genre it would be: Electro Folk (I don’t even know what this is…)
The key to the exercise wasn’t really deciding exactly what cheese epitomised Attacat. Rather, it was a way to open up discussion about our company’s image and values. What do we stand for? What do we care about? In our defences of our choices we find invaluable insight into how we feel about our brand.
So what kind of cat is your company? What kind of cheese? Ask around at the company Christmas party – you may be surprised at what people come up with (and it’s a great game to play while sipping some mulled wine).