Bristol WOW! Gorillas & Goal-setting

by Paula on September 12, 2011

Wow! Gorilla Hubert My first GorillaNo-one in Bristol can have failed to notice the colourful WOW! Gorillas dotted around our city and beyond this Summer, and a large proportion of you will have done more than just notice them. As they were being scooped up and carted away last week for their final destinations before auction, it got me thinking about how different individuals related to them and what this tells us about goal-setting.

I first heard about the Gorillas via Twitter via posts from Bristol Zoo and gave little further thought to it until on a bus into town one day, the one outside the Colston Hall caught my eye. Indeed I did say WOW! and a few hours later outside a hotel in town I asked my colleague to take a photo of me with my first Gorilla. The following day I met some friends for lunch in Clifton and this started the “going out of my way to see a Gorilla” stage and the “asking passers-by to take a photo of me with the Gorilla” stage. The following weekend, we had a map, we had a guide book and it was the start of a family summer activity.

I got talking with a Bristol friend, Peter Holt, during the summer about the surprise impact of the Gorillas on the city and the huge, and unexpected, buzz surrounding them. I also noticed for myself at each Gorilla the different types of people that were there and the different reasons they had for being there. I got talking to people at a number of the Gorillas and found that most people fell into one of the following camps:

  1. Those whose goal was to tick all the Gorillas off their list in the quickest time possible. These people would pull up opposite a Gorilla (often on Double-Yellow lines!), jump out of the car ‘en famille’, take a pic then jump back in the car and were gone to the next one in a blur!
  2. Those who had a goal to tick them all of but time didn’t matter. They would some days see one or two, sometimes 10, but steadily they were working towards their completion in whatever time it took.
  3. Those who were focusing on the method of getting to the Gorillas. Proud that they had reached them all by bike, or by walking, or by public transport, showing commitment to achieving something via a specific route.
  4. Those who were enjoying the ride. Not desperately needing to have seem them all but enjoying the activity of going out somewhere, having a focus for their day out, and using them as a reason for exploring somewhere new.

Wow! Gorilla Mondo One of my favouriteWe definitely fell into the last category and having managed to see about 55 of the 61, feel satisfied that we achieved our goals. We did lots of walking, we visited places we wouldn’t necessarily have gone otherwise (Slimbridge for example) and we met some lovely people along the way. There was a definite community amongst the followers that developed into hashtag sharing on Twitter and a Facebook page with photo-sharing. Wonderful stuff!

So what does this show us about goal-setting and how does this relate to our businesses?

Well, on a daily basis I work with people and with businesses who come to me to get advice and training on their Social Media use. Is there one answer? Is there one piece of teaching? No, if there was I could just record myself speaking and pass it out to all who are interested. The important thing that makes each and every business different is “What are their business goals?”. Understanding where they are in their business, what they are working towards, and what their expectations and goals are for Social Media, helps me ensure that the work they put in is sending them in the right direction.

Are they Gorilla Type 1 where timing is everything? Do they want a 1000 followers on Twitter and they don’t care who or how, but the quickest route to getting there is all they are interested in?

Are they Gorilla Type 2 where their goal is about quality and building the right types of followers and they understand and recognise the time and attention this takes?

Perhaps they are Gorilla Type 3. They are interested in the route to getting people on board. They want to demonstrate that they did it all “organically” by conversation and winning people over and with no tools or software to get followers on board.

Or are they Gorilla Type 4 enjoying the ride? Wanting to explore the options, try different things, and flex what they are doing to what suits?

The clear point here is that there is no “one size fits all” and understanding that people and businesses are different and that people have different reasons for doing this, helps ensure that we all are offering our clients the service they want and and not the one we think they want.

Thank you WOW! Gorillas for a fab insight into people, a great way to spend the summer, and for inspiration for my blog. And to all those of you who are mourning the loss of the Gorillas. Have you tried Geocaching? Exploring new places, ticking achievements off, and even finding treasure makes this a perfect replacement to those of you who are looking for that next goal to focus on :-)




Matt October 5, 2011 at 6:13 pm

Glad you enjoyed the Wow! Gorilas campaign and the social media was a real hoot! Watch this space for more fun! :)

paula October 6, 2011 at 7:53 am

Thanks for the comment Matt. Ooh my over-active imagination is reading into you saying it was a real “hoot”. Are we having owls next…? 😉

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