Visionary collaboration between Big Cat Agency and university academics scoops leading award

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Friday 2nd November, 2018

A trailblazing partnership between leading marketing communications agency Big Cat and University academics has won a major regional business award.

The collaborative project beat several other leading projects from the West Midlands to secure the ‘Partnership of the Year’ award at a ceremony last night (1 November 2018) for the Birmingham Post’s Business Awards 2018.

Big Cat worked with Professor Jeannette Littlemore, Dr Paula Pérez-Sobrino, and Samantha Ford BA (Hons) from the University’s Linguistics Department and Dr David Houghton from the Business School’s Marketing department to investigate how figurative messaging (the use of metaphors and other types of figurative language) could enhance creative campaigns and brand websites Big Cat are developing for their portfolio of b2b and consumer clients. Clients including, RightTrack Learning, Solihull Community Housing and the Aspire Channel Swim campaign were the first projects to be officially tested through the new partnership.

The team from the Linguistics Department combined state-of-the-art technology measuring people’s responses to visual images with approaches developed during the EMMA (Exploring Multimodal Metaphor (and Metonymy) in Advertising) project that ran from 2015-2017, led by the University.

Dr David Houghton, co-investigator on EMMA, brought a marketing and interpersonal communication perspective to the partnership. Looking at the use of emotion and physiological responses to figurative language in marketing, the team investigated how people perceive these new campaigns.

The six-month partnership resulted in some key insights into how people respond to websites and figurative messaging online. This has informed both Big Cat consultants’ and academics’ future research and client campaigns, website design, and communication.

Hannah Davies, Managing Director from Big Cat says; “We’re extremely proud to have won this award. The Birmingham Post Business Awards is an important date on the city’s business calendar so it’s an honour to be part of it. It’s really encouraging to be recognised for the work we’re doing with The University of Birmingham as we genuinely believe collaborations of this kind, where the academic and commercial worlds come together, can only positively impact our industry moving forward.

“Investment in technology to gain a better understanding of the varied ways in which consumers engage with messaging will shape the future of our industry, so we’re delighted to be at the forefront of such a forward-thinking partnership.”

Professor Littlemore says; “This award is fantastic news for the University and Big Cat. We have really enjoyed working with the team at the agency and the partnership gave us an invaluable opportunity to apply and test our findings in a real environment. The award is also a cognition of how cutting-edge Humanities and Social Science research can help businesses become smarter and provide better products for their clients.”

The award coincides with the successful partnership announcing the continuation of its innovative and visionary collaboration for another 12 months.

Written by Christie Buet Communications Director

Friday 2nd November, 2018

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