Why does the cat always catch the mouse? When you think of how agile and quick a mouse can be, it should easily outmaneuver the cat. Yet, most of the time, the cat will catch the mouse.
That’s not just a fun question. It’s actually a way of thinking that applies to PR and business.
First off, I’m not an expert on mice or cats. I’m allergic to cats and I hate mice. But as a person who lives in Brooklyn, and every New Yorker will tell you – “if you have mice, get a cat and the problem will go away.”
I got to thinking about that concept when watching of all things – Tom and Jerry – with my son. It got me thinking of the relationship between cat and mice, and the reporter and publicist. Here’s a closer look at what the classic cat and mouse game can teach us about media strategy.
Cat and Mouse – What They Teach us about PR
A cat traditionally studies its prey before it attacks. It doesn’t just pounce. Instead, it observes the mouse’s movements, speed and agility from a distance. The cat takes his time approaching the mouse, waiting for the right moment to pounce while the mouse is preoccupied with what’s in front of him.
This is a similar approach in the world of PR. The best publicists study and understand the journalists they want to pitch. They also understand the value of communication because we only get one chance to sell a story.
If you fire off that story idea before it is completely developed, you risk losing any opportunity for coverage. I saw this many times as a producer with NBC and CBS. Publicists would pitch me a story idea that wasn’t completely fleshed out, or didn’t have the elements. If the elements weren’t there, it was easy to move on and ignore the next pitch from this publicist.
The Speed of PR
Many clients want to see results quickly, and as a business owner, I understand. I want to see a high rate of return as well on my marketing budget. But if you rush an angle before it’s developed, you risk losing out on media placements.
As for the mouse, I will never understand why he continually gets caught. He is faster and more agile and should be able to run circles around the cat.
I’ve watched mice move on the streets of New York. Trust me, I couldn’t catch one in my house but I guarantee you I can catch a cat anywhere. The mice gets caught because he is afraid.
No Fear with your PR Strategy
A creative media strategy requires confidence in an idea and strength with the execution. You can’t be afraid of creative ideas when pitching reporters. Sure, I’ve come up with some crazy publicity stunts and not all of them worked. But a good majority did. If I were afraid of failure, I would have missed out on the home runs. The same applies to your business. You can’t be afraid like that little mouse.
Finally, the mouse fails because he doesn’t think. If you have observed any mouse in a kitchen after turning on the light, you’ll see they don’t react to change well. Their bodies scramble without direction. It’s like they are immobilized by the sudden change in environment.
Fear Undermines the PR Strategy and Stifles CreativityIf you’re trying to succeed with media placements, you really do need to think like a cat but move like a mouse. If an idea doesn’t seem to be catching on, listen to the feedback of reporters.
Are you missing an element with your idea? Does the reporter need more evidence to support the story? Be nimble and respond to their questions; Be like the mouse – fast, agile and quick to respond; Be like the cat – strategic on your approach, measuring the situation before attacking
In the cartoon, Tom & Jerry, the mouse always won because he out- thought the big, slow cat. Of course, that is the land of fiction, but since the Tom & Jerry narrative was created by a real person, I can now understand why little Jerry won every time the two battled wits.
ABOUT MACIAS PR
Our founder – Mark Macias – is a former Executive Producer with NBC and Senior Producer with CBS in New York. City & State Magazine named him a PR Power Player in New York in 2021, while marketing peers named MACIAS PR the 2017-2020 Strategic PR Firm of the Year. In 2015, 2016 and 2017, Finance Monthly named MACIAS PR the Financial PR Firm of the Year.