Seems apropos right on the heels (tail?) of the Super Bowl to post about American marketing’s obsession with pets, especially dogs. Yet, we’ve been thinking about them all year long serving CPG brands in pet food, snacks, cat litter and dog gear/accessories. Last fall a post pointing out the rise of the dog social influencer, or “dogfluencer” caught our attention.
While we don’t know if that name will catch on, we do understand what’s behind the trend’s legitimacy. We’ve accomplished quite a bit of learning, research and insights building thanks to our activity in the Pet category and totally get why a dog is a perfect brand advocate, even if they’re a surrogate for the human form of one.
Social influencers are valuable assets to a brand these days and Concentric is routinely deploying influencer tactics in our marcom plans. It’s a great way to build credibility for a new brand, generate buzz, inspire trial, and project authenticity. All of those things are true for human influencers, and they are just as true for canines. The difference is that dogs are even better brand ambassadors. Here’s why.
For one, dogs simply don’t carry the emotional baggage that humans do. We, the general public, are far less judgmental and more accepting of dogs. We don’t have the cultural hangups or the racial or gender biasing. Social media can be a place that, sadly, amplifies our human faults—both as the publisher or the responder. We’ve seen this with all the flaming and trolling lately. Would trolls attack a dog? (Makes me wonder, if humans actually did treat each other like dogs, would that be such a bad thing?)
Concentric’s work for Feline Pine, a natural cat litter, used cats with their own social media accounts to mount a fun revolution-inspired social movement to inform about the drawbacks of clay/bentonite cat litter. Kitties don’t want to poop in chemicals, right? The cats could literally do and say things we, as humans, could not. When we got a cease and desist request from a “consumer” organization representing the clay industry our “cats” sprung into action with a blog post wondering why such a responsible product would need lobbyists and lawyers. It’s hard to argue with cats, even for the most skilled attorney.
Dogs make for easy-to-get messages. In a communications sense, clichés and stereotypes are useful things as they work as shorthand for a world that doesn’t like to read a lot or spend a lot of time thinking about branding. People like marketing better when they just naturally “get it.” Dogs, and their various breeds, are perfectly suited to this quick-get symbolism: the nervous small dog, the lazy porch hound, the tough bulldog, the helpful St. Bernard, the dutiful German shepherd. Even the mutt—we like to cheer for this non-breed underdog who is the regular Joe of canines. In fact, many of social media’s top pet stars are rescues. One even starred in a sunglasses line campaign.
Dogs also impart attributes to your brand that might be useful. Imagine you are in a traditional and conservative industry that needs a touch of warmth. Dogs can bring it. They can bring humor, excitement, reliability, security, love and a carefree air as well. These attributes are valuable to a brand because they are emotional, which largely drives purchase behavior.
All we can say is, Go, Dog. Go!
Dogs and stars: The rise of the canine social influencer, Marilisa Racco, Special to The Globe and Mail, Oct. 04, 2016. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/fashion-and-beauty/fashion/dogs-and-stars-the-rise-of-the-canine-social-influencer/article32241929/