Brand Marketing And Pets: Opportunities For Innovation


New Zealand has one of the highest levels of pet ownership in the world. In fact 64 percent of New Zealand households own a pet. And Kiwis love of their pets offers great opportunities for brands to innovate their marketing messages. Now while the majority of pet-related spend still goes on food, veterinary care or kennels and boarding, pets have increasingly become a lifestyle accessory which sees them travel and exercise with us, require stimulating day care and pet pampering, eat organic food, even doze on luxury fabrics. And so many global brands such as Toyota and Subaru have begun to exploit our love of pets to make stronger connections with customers. Let’s find out how they have done it and give you food for thought as to how you might do the same.

  1. Find ways to connect your brand to activities customers do with their pets.

Apart from the more obvious running and walking, there are plenty of other activities that your customers do with pets, from taking them on holiday to talking to them or even watching TV together. So use your imagination and get creative in making new and innovative connections with your pet-loving customers.

  1. Make the pet the hero of your marketing.

Don’t include a fluffy kitten or cute rabbit in your marketing just for the sake of it. To really resonate with pet-mad customers you need to make the pet a central part of the brand message. Follow the example of Subaru who built a whole marketing campaign and website for the Forester wagon around dogs, declaring the car to be “dog-tested”.  It was a simple but very effective idea that really caught the imagination of the target market such that there’s even a Subaru Dog-Tested Facebook page!

  1. Create campaigns that include interaction with pets.

Purina’s iPad game for clever cats is a great example of a fun marketing campaign that really engages and appeals to pet owners. Similarly Nestle recently run a TV ad campaign featuring a dog whistle that humans couldn’t hear.

  1. Look for ways to actively serve the needs of pet owners.

And why not look beyond branding and imagery to new and innovative ways to serve the needs of your pet-owning customers? Ikea Germany have done just that by introducing dog-parking lots which are AstroTurf beds where you can park your dog while you go shopping. This initiative not only takes the idea of pet friendliness to another level, it also offers a service of real value to consumers.

What’s more, there are obvious connections between natural foods and pet nutrition, financial services and pet insurance, or a vacuum cleaner that can handle pet hair. And the furniture design companies out there could consider creating pet-proof furniture and fabric.

So get creative and take advantage of the increasingly important market of pet-loving consumers out there.