Many of the travelers on the interwebs spend their time watching cat videos. There is no denying it and you’ve probably done so yourself if you’re being completely honest. Kind of sad. Trillions of dollars of investment in hardware, software, and infrastructure all you we can gasp at how cute kitty is.
As it turns out, there may actually be a reason why so many of us watch cat videos and what’s really scary is that there might be a business lesson buried within that reason. Now before you become fixed in your opinion that I’ve finally lost it, here is what Dr. Radha O’Meara of Massey University in New Zealand has to say about them:
“Cats appear to perform oblivious to the camera. That seems quite a contrast to other similar videos online. Especially other ‘cute’ videos …things like videos of babies and dogs. Cat videos are comparably much more popular and cats don’t seem to acknowledge the camera at all and just do whatever they like, they are oblivious to it. I think that’s really appealing to audiences who are so used to being under the gaze of the camera these days.”
She goes on to say that the unselfconsciousness of cats in online videos offers viewers two key pleasures. It first allows viewers to imagine the possibility of freedom from surveillance and also to experience the power of using surveillance without it causing problems for those being watched. Without getting off track and onto a rant on privacy, I find something useful in that notion which I can summarize in three words:
Cats don’t care.
We can learn from that. Obviously not in the “we shouldn’t care” sense – you know that’s not remotely close to what I advocate as good business behavior. I mean it in the sense of being who we are or what our corporate identity is at its core. Many firms spend a lot of time worrying about refining their image instead of being honest about what lies behind the brand and letting consumers appreciate them. If we behaved more like the cat in the videos – openly, honestly, and without a care about who is watching – perhaps we’d get the attention most companies and brands are constantly seeking.
What do you think?