Dog Branding

by T Taylor

“I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love. For me they are the role model for being alive.”
Gilda Radner

A photographer asked if she could help a local Animal Rescue Center. She noticed that the photos of the dogs up for adoption were pretty sad; bad lighting, bad angles, bad everything. And since all were taken without the poor critters being cleaned up—and with a cage or wire fence before them—most looked like canine criminals. The photographer decided she would use her skills and equipment to do “professional” portraits of them.

She staged each dog in an environment that showed off his or her best features and qualities. Soon there were dozens of beautiful, high-quality photos like a female Dachshund with a pearl necklace laying on an elegant sofa; a nicely groomed Collie mix with a blue bandana; a Labrador Retriever in a colorful vest holding its paw out to shake hands, puppies together on a bed…

These wonderful, new artistic photos graced the adoption website, replacing the old post office-like Polaroid pics.

After a week or two there was some big news. The Rescue Center was having a record number of pets being adopted! In fact, whereas half of the animals in the past had to be moved or destroyed—now 100% of the dogs were being adopted.

The only change: better photos.

In our brand-dominated society, image is everything. Our eyes are so inundated with impressions, that we are instinctively aware and acutely discerning about quality, or lack thereof.

Our memories and emotional recall of beloved pets register so deeply that if we see a line-up of dogs (or cats) up for adoption, it’s difficult to walk away without a strong urge to adopt.

Add in some strong brand marketing from a caring and professional photographer, and we are hooked! We now relate to these animals more like family, instead of seeing them just as pets.

Now many Rescue Centers and Humane Societies around the country are doing this—and getting similar results.

And why not? Dogs are the most consistently friendly and loveable members in any family. They are always happy to see you, never have anything bad to say, enjoy a good walk, are great listeners and are loyal to the bitter end.

For those of you who have had dogs throughout your life, you know how heartbroken it is to lose these trusted friends and companions. My dad used to say that he loved dogs more than people. I can see why.

This is a simple lesson in brand marketing.

How do you come across to your clients and/or customers? Are you happy? Do you listen? How does your office, your store, your website look? Do your customers love it when they’re around you?  Do they trust you? Are you loyal to them? Do you go out of your way to please, or even delight them?

In other words, do you treat them as well as a dog would?

“You can say any fool thing to a dog, and the dog will give you this look that says, `My God, you’re RIGHT! I NEVER would’ve thought of that!’”
Dave Barry