An Alpha Strategy from the “Cool” Dog Brand
When it comes to social media marketing, BarkBox is raising the “woof!” Between creative techniques and a robust targeted engagement approach, BarkBox has developed an ear-raising marketing strategy worth rolling over for.
The Fur-1–1 on BarkBox
In the world of pet subscription services, there are many options to choose from. However, only BarkBox offers the creativity and innovation that captivates the modern dog parent and kickstarts wagging tails.
Customers looking to get their paws on a subscription box of their own are in for a treat! Dog treat, that is. BarkBox offers monthly packages filled with toys, treats and bonus goodies for every K-9 friend. Like any other pet subscription service, BarkBox offers pet necessities bundled with the convenience of home delivery. Unlike other subscription services, BarkBox delivers a howlin’ good time with a unique theme for each monthly package. Each themed delivery is an exciting experience with a fun story to share!
“What we provide are the products that go into the box, but really what they are getting is an experience when they open the box together with their dog,” shares Henrik Werdelin, Co-Founder of BarkBox (Bond, Bishop, & Dennis, 2020). Past themes include “Sniffin Safari,” “Shakespeare In The Dog Park, ” and “Chewrassic Bark.” All themes are accompanied by matching toys and treats such as “A Midsummer Night’s Duck,” and “Jurassic Pork.”
BarkBox Target Paw-dience
BarkBox’s themed pet packages are not the average subscription package for the average pet owner. In fact, this spunky, dog-lovin’ brand strives to reach a specific pack of dog enthusiasts who are eager to spoil their four-legged pals.
BarkBox is intended for the “cool” dog-mom and dog-dad searching for an efficient and entertaining way to care for their fur baby. The ideal BarkBox consumer not only likes dogs, but is dog-obsessed! Their top priority is to “make their dog even happier,” (BarkBox). These proud parents are active in sharing pictures of their dogs over social media and enjoy the digital humor found in memes and videos.
The ideal age for a modern “cool” dog parent overlaps at the younger Millennial cusp and older Gen Z spectrum. Such groups display active social lives and a full work schedule, creating a fluctuating imbalance between time and finances. As a result, making time to shop for pet products is placed on the back burner.
BarkBox understands that life can be hectic for the modern pet owner. To combat this, BarkBox is finding solutions to help their target audience create a dog-inclusive lifestyle. The brand pledges to, “loyally serve as the voice for dogs in a human-led world,” (BarkBox). Therefore, subscribers are encouraged to participate in #BarkBoxDay. BarkBox aims to strengthen the relationship between dogs and humans by creating fun memories. When a new BarkBox has been delivered, happy subscribers can share their unboxing excitement on social media using the hashtag #BarkBoxDay.
Beware of Squirrel
BarkBox is skilled in generating creative content that breaks marketing boundaries and accurately reflects a proud pro-doggy message. Their confident social presence successfully appeals to intended “cool” dog parents and emphasizes an entertainment over selling approach.
Dog related content is expected from a dog-based subscription service, but BarkBox embraces the atypical. Their wit and innovation led to the execution of a successful social campaign centered around National Squirrel Day. All aspects of the BarkBox social media were changed to appear as if squirrels had taken over the brand. This was reflected in a range of defiant content changes including posted pictures of angry squirrels and a brazen profile bio. A catchy tagline, “Down With BarkBox” and memes were used to encourage engagement and spark conversation. The brand rallied further attention by playing into the nutty event as a real PR crisis and even produced a mock press statement.
A Dog-gone Good Strategy
The cherry on top of a head turning campaign, such as this, is the absence of a call-to-action. BarkBox has found success in driving efforts away from promotion and purchase-heavy copy. “Rather than telling customers what to do next, BarkBox found a creative way to get people talking about them,” (Sievers, 2020). This strategy takes the pressure off of consumers to buy and allows them to genuinely connect with the core foundation of the brand. Customer loyalty develops and metrics improve, in this case, “tens of thousands of likes,” on Instagram (Sievers, 2020).
Stacie Grissom, Head of Content at BarkBox, explains the brand’s entertainment over selling approach on social media. “If you look at the entire landscape of content that we put out in the world, it’s around 80% content completely unrelated to BarkBox and 20% content involving our product,” (Jacobs, 2018). Great ideas for entertaining content are pulled from over 100 pieces of weekly posted micro-content: images, dog narratives, and UGC. “If a piece of content performs well and connects with folks as a small moment, we will produce something higher, lift around that insight and it usually pays off,” (Jacobs, 2018.)
Unleashing More Fun
BarkBox has successfully designed an alpha approach for a ruff and tough social media strategy. They have sniffed out their ideal target market and created a strong community using entertainment, rather than product push. As if loving dogs wasn’t easy enough, BarkBox goes above and beyond to strengthen the bond between dogs and their humans!
BarkBox. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.barkbox.com/
Bond, J., Bishop, J., & Dennis, K. (2020, January 08). Startup Spotlight: BarkBox. Retrieved from https://ragingbull.com/editorial/startup-spotlight-BarkBox/
Jacobs, B. (2018, January 17). What it’s like to be part of the BarkBox content team — An… Retrieved from https://blog.socialmediastrategiessummit.com/smssummit-speaker-stacie-Grissom
Sievers, C. (2020, April 21). Case Study: BarkBox and National Squirrel Appreciation Day. Retrieved from https://pinckneymarketing.com/barkbox-case-study/