As we scroll through Instagram this week, there’s no doubt our feeds will be filled with countless images of pooches sitting pretty in office chairs or causing havoc in the meeting room. That’s right — #BringYourDogToWorkDay is fast approaching.
We can all agree that it’s a fun excuse to admire each other’s office dogs, but the popularity of national days such as #BringYourDogToWorkDay brings to light just how important four-legged friends have become in our lives. So much so that brands across the world are hopping onto these pet-related calendar dates in a bid to reach one of the fastest-growing markets: millennial pet owners.
Here, account consultant Zoe Gaffney explores the rise in pet ownership, how it has influenced consumer purchasing habits, and how brands can capitalise on these trends.
Assessing the rise in pet ownership
While it’s fair to say that the UK has always been a nation of pet lovers, the pandemic encouraged more people than ever to seek the companionship of cats and dogs. In fact, it was reported that an additional 3 million dogs were welcomed into UK homes throughout 2020. This meant that, while a number of businesses struggled to stay afloat amid lockdown, the pet market boomed.
A key driver of this trend is younger millennials aged 19-28, as reported in a Mintel investigation, who represent the fastest-growing sector in the consumer space. And the same report found that 51% of them would “rather cut back spending money on themselves than on their pets”. This suggests that millennials take their pets’ wellbeing much more seriously than their generational predecessors.
So, what does this mean for brands?
Reaching the new age of pet owners
With millennials being at the forefront of the pet arena, it’s important for brands to understand their shopping habits to reach them in a way that’s impactful. More and more, social media plays a huge role in millennial purchasing decisions, allowing brands a more direct way to communicate with the audience.
With spottydog’s portfolio of pet clients, we’ve found that customers use platforms like Instagram and Facebook as a shop window when looking for their pet products. However, successful pet PR is more than simply pushing products; it’s about showcasing your brand story, demonstrating that you know the customer, and ultimately building trust.
For example, pet influencers on Instagram have led the way for consumers sharing cute images of their furry friends online. With this in mind, we recently created a pet photography competition for our client HiLife, a leading pet food brand, that invited owners to share cute images of their cats and dogs for a chance to win a prize bundle. Not only did this result in high reach and engagement, but it also showed HiLife’s audience that we understand their lifestyle habits.
Merging pet and lifestyle brands
As the data shows, the pet world no longer occupies a niche market, which means that an increasing number of lifestyle brands see value in targeting cat and dog owners. Just recently, blind brand Hillarys launched a campaign to find a ‘Dog Bed Tester’ to test their new prototypes. And other brands such as Glossybox, a beauty subscription service who recently launched a box dedicated to pampered pets, have also jumped on the trend.
So, returning to the hashtag in question, national days like #BringYourDogToWorkDay represent a perfect opportunity for lifestyle brands looking to reach the fast-growing pet audience to get started. And equally, these national days serve to strengthen the already-booming pet market, offering pet businesses a springboard to make their communications even more successful.
To keep on top of all the upcoming national days and key calendar dates in the pet sector, download our free Opportunity Spots calendar here.
If you’re a pet or lifestyle brand looking to elevate your communications strategy, get in touch with us today.