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Marketing Roundtable Oct. 2021 meeting

Branding in the Age of

Cat Videos - Revisited

The Power of Leveraging

Intimate Connections

 When:             Wednesday, Oct. 27                                                           Click HERE to register.

12:00 - 1:30 p.m.


 Where:           Virtual/online

Moderator:      Ted Leonhardt

                          Branding design expert

                          (206) 914-8338

 Rick Bechtel: (206) 351-8604

                             NOTE: This will be a virtual meeting.  Please register using the link above.

                        You will receive the link(s) and instructions closer to the meeting date.


Cat videos continue to be some of the most watched, most shared, most popular videos on the social media platforms – second only to porn in online views. Why cat videos, of all things?  Because they testify to the ability of today’s modern technologies to facilitate and enhance our connection to needs we've always had.

The three most successful brands – Amazon, Apple and, Google – all make the same link, fulfilling pre-existing needs through digital technology and the internet. Amazon delivers anything we want, right to our doorstep. Apple puts the world in our pockets. And Google answers all of our questions.

But cats beat them all.

One theory holds that watching cat videos boosts our oxytocin levels. Also known as the "love hormone," oxytocin enhances social skills, decreases blood pressure and heart rate, increases immune function, and raises our tolerance for pain. Oxytocin also reduces stress, anger, and depression. Dogs and other pets produce similar feel-good results and have their own online followings. But cats outrank them all.

Facebook, Tesla, TikTok, Zoom, Spotify, and many others have achieved massive growth by leveraging new technology to meet social, emotional, and functional needs – in effect tapping into the power of the “love hormone.” They know that Millennials and Gen Z have moved move away from traditional brands to value-based  brands, seeking out products and services that align with their values. And they know that these values can easily be accessed online.

In the political sphere we've seen both Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump successfully leverage an emotional appeal in the same way, using technology to significantly alter the American political scene.

On October 27th, Seattle brand design thinker Ted Leonhardt will frame a discussion on what it takes to create and manage a successful brand in the age of cat videos and digital technology. 

Ted has spent his career creating and recreating brands for products, services, and companies. He built his brand design firm, first serving local and regional companies, then later national and international businesses including Nissan, Lego, and Charles Schwab. Today, he has a lively consulting practice helping creative individuals and firms grow their businesses.

All of which has framed Ted's perspective on how branding has changed. Reviews, games, YouTube how-to videos, Facebook friends, Twitter conversations, Pinterest boards, Instagram sharing. They all are activities that engage us on a far more personal level than in the past.

Discussion questions:

  • Cat videos connect on an emotional level. What can we learn from them? Can brands connect to people emotionally without offending?

  • Are logos and brand programs, in general, still relevant?  How?  Why?

  • What is the best way to prove the case for creating or recreating a brand?

  • When should company values be used as a brand message?

  • What brands have excelled at a value-first approach?

  • What opportunities do you see for leveraging new technology to meet current needs?  How might a value-based approach fit into that?

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