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Portent’s Kitten Moodinator: When Content Isn’t Words


For a highly visual medium, the Internet has been slow to attract marketers with a graphic bent.  Perhaps due to proliferation of search engine optimization, or web browsers originating as text-based applications, many of us have focused on the word, not the image, video, or application.

But words aren’t attracting the attention they used to.  There are just too many of them.  So as marketers, we need to look to new content methods for garnering attention, branding our message, and engaging meaningfully with our target audience.

At Portent, we like to make things, experiment, and philosophize.  And under the “make things” and “experiment” categories falls our newest effort, the Kitten Moodinator – an app that allows a user to answer a simple question which leads to a “predictive mood.”  In turn, this predictive mood appears as a very cute kitten picture:

Katie is friendly

The idea originated from my ex-mother-in-law’s frequent Facebook “mood” posts.  “Anne is 70% happy today,” “Anne is 30% happy today.”  I thought, what better way to communicate a mood – be it good or bad – than with an amazingly adorable kitten?

But ultimately, the Internet is full of kittens.  Why would we invest time and energy into something that we’re not making any cash off of?  …Which leads to another question: why does anyone invest in content at all?  It’s not measurable like PPC or quantifiable like CRO – it doesn’t have SEO’s trackability.

In fact, unless you charge for it, there is no direct correlation between content and revenue at all.

And yet, it’s what makes your business successful.  People buy what they know about.  People buy what they like.  And unless you’re prepared to go door-to-door hocking your wares, that means content.

So I gathered our internal teams – content, design, development, social and paid search – and we set out to make something fun.  It wasn’t the worst work on earth, that’s for sure.  We chose Facebook for its sharability, hoping (of course) for virality.

But, as Portent’s president says, “so what?”  So the Moodinator goes viral – what does that achieve?

Our internal goals for the Kitten Moodinator are three-fold:

1. Attention

Most messages on today’s Internet are the equivalent of yelling in Lambeau Field.  Whether selling steak knives or online marketing services, getting the attention of an audience is daunting at best, impossible at worst.  This is why words are often not enough – at least not on their own.

The competition loosens up a bit, however, as content shifts away from the written and more toward the visual.  Not only are fewer firms doing it, a user can more quickly and easily digest images.  And who can resist a catchy, cute kitten photo?

So before the Kitten Moodinator can accomplish the two goals below, it needs to capture audience interest.

2. Engagement

On some level, all content is ‘engaging,’ even if the audience is merely reading.  But the best kind of engagement involves a back-and-forth.  The user takes action.  There is a response to that initial action that invites them to take subsequent action.  These exchanges are the best way of building the engagement, and ultimately, the buy-in of your audience.

And once you have that, you’re able to establish your…

3. Brand

This is our greatest goal with the Moodinator – to likably convey our expertise in content creation and social media strategy while differentiating ourselves from the competition.

Along with basic product or service messaging, branding is the major goal of content – it’s where you separate and elevate yourself in the minds of your core audience.  It’s why, all things being equal, they choose your offering over your competition’s.

How we’ll (attempt to) measure success

What does success look like to us?  As noted above, there is no calculable monetary ROI for the Kitten Moodinator (absent some future client stating ‘the only reason I’m hiring you is the Kitten Moodinator’).

Consequently, the metrics we’ll be looking at to evaluate success are:

  • Social referral traffic, reach, shares, and engagement
  • Repeat interactions
  • Page views on
  • Links
  • Press coverage and “buzz”
  • Client reaction now and in the future
  • An expanded knowledge base in-house, allowing us to better serve current and future clients

Will it work?  We think so, but time will tell.

And for now, as the great Jay-Z says, on to the next one, on to the next one.

Have you used the Kitten Moodinator?  If so, let us know in the comments. 

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    1. Thanks Rhonda…
      We worked really hard on it and I’m glad it made you happy this World Cat Day!

  1. This Kitten Moodinator is a really innovative idea. I like how you used a popular Internet meme and turned it toward a marketing idea. Thanks for the post.

    1. Thanks for the comment Laura. Glad you dug it. Kittens and the web are the PB&J of the 21st century 🙂 Thanks for reading!

  2. While I agree that content nowadays should have images and videos, I’d still go for the textual kind. It should be the base, with images and videos as compliments or for added explanation.
    Nice article!

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