How Can Brands Use Pets In Visual Storytelling to Create Emotional Connections?

How Can Brands Use Pets In Visual Storytelling to Create Emotional Connections?

How Can Brands Use Pets In Visual Storytelling to Create Emotional Connections?

How Can Brands Use Pets In Visual Storytelling to Create Emotional Connections? 366 222 Shlomi Ron

Do you find yourself walking down the street, and as soon you see someone taking out their dog for a walk – can’t resist the emotional surge to come over and shower the pet with love?

Advertisers – including non-pet brands – have been using pets in their advertising for a long time for exactly that emotional excitement people feel towards pets.

Just think of the puppy and Clydesdale “Best Buds” commercials, which aired during Super Bowls 2014 and 2015, and have been ranked as the most popular ads ever to air in the history of the NFL’s main event.

Other ads may come to your mind like Taco Bell’s Chihuahua, Target’s Bull Terrier, Aflac’s Duck, or Gateway’s cow-spotted boxes (a company I used to work for a while ago).

And many more.

First, Let’s Look At The Numbers

According to the 2023-2024 American Pet Products Association’s (APPA) National Pet Owners Survey, 86.9 million, or 66% of, households in the U.S. reported owning a pet.

5 million more pets in the U.S. since the pandemic broke out, with a prediction of 8% annual growth in the pet industry by 2030 (source: Morgan Stanley). No wonder, pets have also helped out soften the blow of social distancing.

Globally, the pet industry is about to grow to $350 billion by 2027 (source: Global Market Insights).

What’s The Secret?

As you can imagine when you integrate a powerful “empathy trigger” like a dog or a cat into your story, users are more prone to pay attention, experience positive emotions that often cross over to the brand.

Confirming this dynamic, a study by Nichefire found that posts containing pets increased by 63% higher than the average post, while another study from NewsWhip discovered that posts with pets can generate a boost of 89% in comments and 19% in likes.

Meet The Expert

To help me unpack this exciting topic, I had the pleasure to chat with Mindy Dutka, Founder and Chief Storyteller at Dogs I Meet. I met Mindy right here in my newsletter community.

She is a professional pet photographer with over 20 years of corporate experience in marketing leadership, event planning, fundraising, and sales.

At Dogs I Meet, she helps businesses and animal rescue organizations tell their stories through compelling, captivating photography.

I like her brand’s clever tag line “ Because every dog has a tale” 🙂

How Can Brands Use Pets In Visual Storytelling to Create Emotional Connections?

Humanizing the dog with breakfast in bed moment (Created by Mindy Dutka for pet brand, EverPub)

We talked about her career journey, why pets are effective at conveying messages, her visual storytelling process when working with brands, typical challenges, her top 3 tips for telling effective stories using pets, and much more.

How Can Brands Use Pets In Visual Storytelling to Create Emotional Connections?

Even non-pet brands, like hotels, can use pets to stand out from the competition by emphasizing a dog-friendly facility that allows their audience to vividly visualize the experience (created by Mindy Dutka for Lambert’s Cove Inn)

It’s all in the latest episode of the Visual Storytelling Today podcast.

Watch the full video recording of this interview with lots of illustrative examples:

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You can also listen to the audio recording of this episode. Subscribe to the Visual Storytelling Today podcast on iTunes,
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What do you think?

What stories have you told using pets? What was your audience response like? Feel free to share a comment.

Until next time continue exploring “new emotional bridges” to tell your stories on.

Shlomi Ron

Shlomi Ron is the founder and CEO of the Visual Storytelling Institute, a Miami-based think tank with a mission to bring the gospel of visual storytelling from the world of art to more human-centric and purpose-driven marketing. A digital marketing veteran with over 20 years of experience working both on the agency and brand sides for Fortune 100/500 brands such as Nokia, IBM, and American Express. He started VSI to combine his marketing expertise with his passion for visual stories stemming from his interests in classic Italian cinema and managing the estate of video art pioneer, Buky Schwartz. At VSI, he helps brands rise above the communication noise through visual storytelling consulting, training, and thought leadership. Select clients include Estée Lauder, Microsoft, and Cable & Wireless – to name a few. He currently teaches Brand Storytelling at the University of Miami’s Business School. Thought leader and speaker at key marketing conferences. He is also the host of the Visual Storytelling Today podcast, which ranks in the top 10 best business storytelling podcasts on the Web. His book: Total Acuity: Tales with Marketing Morals to Help You Create Richer Visual Brand Stories. Outside work, he is a nascent bread baker, The Moth fan, and longtime fedora wearer likely to jive with his classic Italian cinema interest.

All stories by: Shlomi Ron

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