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- the story of how a little cloth fox became the focus of a social media campaign


article by Andrea Dohle, ZENIT GmbH:

#Reachingthepeoplewhomatter - this is the motto of the communication strategy of the worldwide Enterprise Europe Network. In this network 600 organisations in Europe and beyond are working to support small and medium-sized enterprises on their way to internationalisation and further growth. But what does the little fox have to do with it now?


From idea to implementation

Actually, the idea of our team in Mülheim an der Ruhr was just to get a gadget for the customers of our NRW.Europa information stand to generate more visitors there. We had observed a company which had great success with the distribution of small elk plush animals.

For a long time we thought about which animal would be the right one to associate a statement, a message with it and then my colleague Rebecca Großmann suggested the little fox. Immediately the idea became concrete: One of our customers is a clever fox! A positive statement and then connected with the success stories of other smart customers. Great. The idea was born. Now we only had to implement it and think about the advertising slogans.

The fox was delivered and a colleague was so enthusiastic that he directly talked me out of two foxes for his children at home. That same evening he sent me photos of the foxes' new home from his children's bedrooms via WhatsApp. How cool!


Further development of the idea: linking conservative advertising media with social media

The idea developed quite naturally to do a social media action with the fox. I wanted to see more photos of how the fox moves into a new home or where he accompanies our customers on cooperation exchanges. I was very surprised that especially older colleagues took the fox straight to their hearts and that it was not too silly for them to take photos of and with the fox during a company visit at our customers, like here at our customer, the company Bültmann GmbH. One should not underestimate the topic of emotion in marketing. And emotion also shows effects.

You are right to ask now: And what did the action bring? Figures? Dates? Facts?

The action is not yet finished, so I can't provide final figures. But I was able to stop the declining trend in the number of visitors to our project website with this campaign. The photo material provides us with a super pool for all social media channels with a very personal touch. The tweet with the photo of the fox with the cat "Trixi" from our boss to the #WorldCatsDay brought super impressions and was the top media tweet of the month August.

With every photo we can connect a little story. This is very entertaining and offers attractive content. On our website you get an insight into the life and travels of the fox. Almost as beautiful as the experiences of the children's book rabbit Felix, whose stories also impressed me very much. A highlight in the month of October was the international meeting of about 800 EEN consultants* from all over the world, where #BeACleverFox also participated and took the hearts of the worldwide colleagues* by storm.

The fox still has a lot of plans, he reports from international meetings and is present when our customers* establish international cooperations. You can find the traces of the fox under his hashtag #BeACleverFox - Innovate and grow with us!


Who would like to know more about our service offers, can contact me via I also look forward to your feedback on this story.


About us:

In NRW.Europa, a consortium of ZENIT GmbH, NRW.BANK and NRW.International GmbH, ZENIT GmbH is part of a European Commission consulting network comprising more than 60 countries, which supports representatives from business and science in the areas of internationalisation and innovation promotion as well as technology and knowledge transfer.

As NRW.Europa expert Andrea Dohle is responsible for the communication and marketing of the Enterprise Europe Network in North Rhine-Westphalia. Since November she has also assumed the role of Communication Champion for the entire German Enterprise Europe Network (#EEN_Deutschland).

Website of the Enterprise Europe Network

Link to some photos of adventures of #BeACleverFox



Andrea Dohle