Julie Barnes and Kathrin Burckhardt set up their business, Cat in a Flat, after Julie struggled to find someone to look after her own cat when she wanted to go on holiday. It occurred to them that Julie probably wasn’t the only person with this problem so they both changed their jobs to work a four-day week which quickly turned into sabbaticals as their cat sitting business began to take off. Now they offer a fully-insured service of either daily visits or overnight stays for feline friends which as well as feeding, includes playtime and cuddles and daily updates and photos while you are away. They also invite cat lovers to join their network to become cat sitters in their own areas.
What made you take on the services of a PR company and what were you hoping to achieve?
We wanted to build brand awareness amongst our target audience in places that are harder to reach for us. When you do online marketing it is natural to be drawn to places where you know you are going to get a positive reception – in our case to animal lovers – but by focusing so specifically on that audience we were in danger of missing out on many more groups that might be interested in our services. The question was who were they and how could we to go about finding them?
It didn’t take us long to realise that through great PR it is possible to tell your story in a genuine and unique way and gain credibility as a trustworthy company. Whatever your business, you also have to have the right story to tell and that’s where we very quickly knew we had to trust our PR company.
Panpathic was great at guiding us as to what was a good story to tell that would get us noticed by the wider public. We genuinely now believe that appreciation and trust for your brand can be achieved through PR in a way that’s just not possible through paid-for advertising. We wanted to broaden our reach to potential audiences and diversify our ways to do so and we couldn’t do that by ourselves.
What sort of strategy and coverage have you had since you hired Panpathic Communications?
At first, we tried to do the marketing and PR ourselves but it didn’t really work out for us. We soon realised how much work goes into it behind the scenes. We didn’t know how to approach journalists, or which journalists to approach or even how to pitch our ideas. Panpathic was brilliant at that. We have had coverage in The Sunday Express, Closer magazine, Cotswold Life, Yours magazine, Metro online and City AM. Our Christmas campaign generated around 25 pieces of coverage which was worth over £40k.
Would you recommend hiring a PR company to other start-up businesses and would you recommend Panpathic?
Yes, we would definitely recommend Panpathic. They are very helpful and they guide you through the PR process from start to finish. Panpathic has managed to get us into some great publications. A lot of work and time goes into PR and when you are building a business there are so many other things to concentrate on and the PR and marketing can get lost in the chaos unless you hand it over to people who really know what they are doing.
It’s so easy to get so embroiled in setting up the business that you can forget that you need to tell people about yourselves and what you are doing too, otherwise how are they going to know what you have to offer? We would say to any busy start-up that it’s definitely worth having the extra help and expertise. Getting the right media articles out there can be very rewarding and of course will help increase your revenue.
Our company is now expanding around the globe. We are available throughout the UK, in Germany, the Netherlands, Austria and Ireland and although we don’t use Panpathic all the time, it is definitely the company we go to whenever we need help.