Hands up if you remember the kids card game Top Trumps (get your hands on Google if you don’t). Well, a chance encounter on Twitter led to a potential creative twist on the traditional CV for Daniel Cattanach.
by Daniel Cattanach
A funny thing happened on Friday. I was just winding down from a busy week when I spotted a tweet about the eagerly-anticipated first edition of the brand new comms2point0 eMag. Feeling playful, I responded with a tongue-in-cheek tweet featuring an old Smash Hits magazine cover from the 1980s and a request for a giant double-sided poster with the new comms2point0 magazine. What followed was a brilliant example of collaboration which highlights what makes this job – and the comms community – so great.
Darren Caveney often talks about the ‘magic 10% time’ in which we have the space and freedom to create brilliant and imaginative ideas – whether it’s out on a lunchtime walk (make sure you take a proper break every day, folks), waiting in the car for kids clubs to finish, having a shower/ bath or even sat on the loo. Alan Oram has also blogged about this recently. The point is that you can’t really schedule a time to brainstorm together – and it never works within the confines of a meeting room.
So, back to Friday – within minutes we were bouncing ideas around the Twittersphere. Darren suggested rock goddess Wendy James for the poster, while Josephine Graham pitched in with The Sugarcubes (both of which would get my vote).
Then the ideas escalated. I asked whether we could do a "Comms Hits" poster – with comms folk posing in the style of their pop idols. Josephine chipped in with the brilliant idea of fancy dress at this year’s UnAwards event, while Alan created a magical image of Darren playing a Comms Unplugged washboard with Morrissey.
However, things went up a notch when the wonderful Kim Sklinar (@dosomethingkim) tweeted three incredible words: "Comms Top Trumps!!"
Yes, I know. My heart skipped a beat too.
Later that evening, and after much fiddling around with the Canva app on my phone, this finally dropped (as I believe the kids of today say)…
I was overwhelmed by the positive reactions to it. Literally overwhelmed as a number of people asked me to make Comms Trumps cards for them too. Over the course of Saturday (in between doing the housework, running the kids to and from clubs, and mistakenly turning up to a fancy dress party two weeks early), I set to work on building up the pack. Armed with individual stats provided by my comms peers Josephine, Kim, Kate Jones and Donna Jordan, I created another four tailor-made cards just for them – using info in their Twitter bios as inspiration to provide little write-ups for them too. When I received Darren’s stats I of course did his Comms Trumps in black and white.😉
What’s the deal?
So why did I do it?
First of all IT’S FUN. Well it’s fun to me at least. I do silly things like this to unwind – I always have – I can’t help it. I fear my head might explode if I don’t get the ideas out. When I was a teenager me and a bunch of mates filmed a sequel to Terminator 2 on an old VHS-C video camera. We called it "Terminator 3: Bonfire Night" and had to shoot it in sequence as we had no editing capabilities back then. Mercifully it never went on general release (now that would’ve been a Dark Fate), but we still hold very fond memories of the fun we had making it. Likewise, I love to get over-the-top creative sometimes and "
Comms Trumps’ did just that (especially throwing in the category of "Comms Magic").
Secondly, I do stuff like this to help me test out useful comms apps and learn more about what they can help me to do in the day job. In this case I learned more about the functionality of the design and photo apps Canva and Pixlr, but I’ve also run similar fun tests with the video editing app Kinemaster as well as audio editors, SoundCloud and GIF creators. I can’t recommend enough the benefits of learning through play (it’s not just for kids!)
Thirdly, it’s helped me to boost my confidence and build connections with others. We can all suffer from imposter syndrome and face anxiety that we’re not good enough. Therefore it was a tremendous boost to gain such positive feedback from my comms peers and know that I’d reached my audience in the right way. Don’t get me wrong – I wasn’t seeking praise (it was primarily about the fun for me) but I’m not going to lie that this was an added bonus. I’d like to think that it’s also helped others to consider their own Comms Trumps scoring and raise their belief in their abilities and comms prowess.
Finally, (and again quite unexpectedly), it turns out that there may actually be some mileage in the Comms Trumps concept.
Fellow comms pro Ruth Fry joked that she was starting a petition to make this the default template for all CVs. Which got me thinking…🤔
Meanwhile the friendly pack behind the @CommsHero feed suggested making a slight rebrand to call it #CommsHeroTopTrumps, with chartered marketer Asif Choudry adding: "If this takes off then how about producing a proper designed and printed set of top trumps cards 1st series.
In addition, one Head of Comms DMed me to praise the idea and suggest that the concept could possibly be worked up into a set of calling cards for their comms team to share with the rest of the organisation to help raise their understanding of what specialist skills each team member offers.
Since I originally produced the Comms Top Trumps cards, I’ve been overwhelmed by people from our comms pack wanting to get their hands on one. Therefore I’ve made a template image which you can upload to Canva (other apps are available) and make your own or deal out to your comms colleagues. Enjoy!
So there you have it – the next time you find your mind wandering and you come up with a bizarre idea; roll with it. You might just find that you come up trumps.
Daniel Cattanach is a senior communications officer working in regional government. You can say hello to him on Twitter at @DanielCattanach