With Ganesh Ramani of MARS Petcare, we decode the Pedigree India marketing strategy and the role of social media in category penetration.
The ongoing pandemic might have changed the world like never before. As the roads and streets came to a standstill during the lockdown days, the issue of stray animals dying of hunger, escalated. Innumerable organizations stepped up to help in the cause. One of the brands being Pedigree India launched #FeedTheStrays as an initiative to help feed stray dogs across cities.
We speak with Ganesh Ramani, General Manager, MARS petcare to deep-dive into the Pedigree India marketing strategy, their latest initiative, and more.
Behind #FeedTheStrays Initiative
A brand of MARS Petcare, Pedigree thrives on its tagline of ‘Feed the Good’ which has come from its purpose towards preserving and nurturing the innate goodness that only dogs can bring to the world. In 2020, when the world was battling to survive the pandemic, Pedigree focused all its efforts on social media to come to the aid of the dogs who were in danger of being neglected. This gave birth to the #FeedTheStrays campaign in collaboration with BBDO India and ZEE5.
“This initiative was an action-oriented extension of our tagline to mobilize our internal teams, dog parents, and regular people towards caring for our stray friends”, said, Ramani. To intensify the effort, the brand partnered with DonateKart. Both Pedigree and DonateKart would together be providing 9000 meals free for feeding the strays. Influencers like Pooja Gor were a part of the campaign on social media.
The brand intends to continue focusing on the campaign for the coming months with more influencer activities planned to keep the momentum going.
Marketing Strategy & Role of Digital
The core ethos of the marketing strategy for brand Pedigree lies in bringing out the best in dogs by feeding them complete and balanced nutrition so that they can live a happy and healthy life.
The brand marketing also revolves around educating the target consumers on the benefits of manufactured Pet Food VS Home-cooked incomplete nutritious food.
At a time when crisis loomed, Pedigree advertising moved from being brand focused to supporting causes and assisting new pet parenthood by providing relevant information for new pet parents in 2020. It played an active role in feeding the strays and partnering with several NGOs for improving the welfare of dogs as part of their initiatives.
The top trends in the pet food category have been on increasing pet households, calorie conversion spike in dog food due to convenience and demand for economy products.
Pedigree marketing seems to be significantly driven by digital media. Ramani shares, “Within digital media we focus on reaching out to more pet parents through YouTube and drive engagement with them on social media. We have very specific content and conversations for each channel that help us deliver our targets for the brand.”
During the initial days of the pandemic, the brand witnessed a spike in pet parents entering the category. On meeting the demand of these new consumers in the set, Ramani explains, “Since Pedigree is ‘Made in India’, we were able to engineer our factories & supply chain quickly to respond to this increased demand from pet parents.” To further ease the issue, the brand was even present across social media channels for information, awareness and more, during the crisis.
Currently, the brand is focusing the marketing spends on digital platforms along with a 360-degree media approach across print, digital, and television and intends to continue with the formula in 2021.
Also read: Prega News Social Media Strategy: Understanding the role influencers & multi-lingual content
Social Media Play
The brand utilizes social media in a significant manner. It garners the maximum number of followers on YouTube with 65.6K subscribers, followed by Facebook with 61.7K followers.
The Pedigree advertising strategy on the platform largely revolves around YouTube that plays the role on building awareness for the brand while the other social channels work as means to break the message down, creating more relevance for the brand and its audience. “From a product lens, the focus has been on providing health and nutrition content that educates dog parents about the benefits of all the products across Pedigree. This is also complemented by a robust ORM strategy that answers inquiries that many dog parents have across platforms.
Apart from amplifying YouTube videos on social media, Pedigree’s YouTube page shares Dos and Don’ts of petcare, especially during the pandemic.
Instagram & Facebook
The brand’s Instagram handle places more focus on constant and immediate engagement and therefore is the primary platform for speaking to the audience.
Hashtags used by the brand include – #Pedigree, #PedigreeIndia, #Dog, #DogsOfTwitter, #DogsOfInstagram, #DogLife, #DogFood, #PedigreeIndia, #JustDogThings #DogLove, #HealthyPets, #HappyPets, #Pedigree, #PedigreeFood, #PedigreeIndia, #DogsOfInsta, #DogLife, #Dogstagram, #DogsCorner, amongst others.
From on-ground activations for dog shows, contests, and games for engagement, product launches and topicals form a major portion of the Pedigree social media strategy on Instagram and Facebook. Most posts on the platform have hues of the brand color of Yellow and Red with images of dogs.
“Trending formats, topicals and Moment marketing gives us new templates to speak to this audience beyond just product speak that can entertain and create affinity for the brand when it truly entertains or engages”, he puts forth.
Animated series of posts with bright colors, for storytelling purposes or memes form a major part of their content mix.
Pedigree also partnered with delivery apps like Dunzo for selling products for the pooches and promoted it across the social media channels.
For Pedigree, Twitter involves Did-you-know type posts apart from the conversational tweets by the brand. The brand even leverages the topicality of an ongoing/to be launched popular content series for reach and engagement on the platform.
Pedigree also leverages Twitter to redirect customers to its Facebook, Instagram and Blog pages.
Additionally, throughout the social media channels, Pedigree marketing strategy revolves around relatable posts on man’s best friend.
Collaboration with schools and colleges is also observed across its social media pages.
Content Strategy: Interweaving Dog-love & Brand Relevance
Keeping dog-love at the center, the brand shares that the content buckets they broadly cover include – Health and Nutrition, Topical, Parenting, Celebrating Dogginess, and Experts speak.
“What works best for us is content that helps audiences become better dog parents which are Health and Nutrition & Parenting along with content that entertains and educates”, explains Ramani.
The content patterns consumed by the brand’s target audience involves following pet influencers, brands, and content providers in this realm.
As per the brand, the penetration in the market is low and Pedigree is focused on getting new users into the category. Ramani explains, “Category penetration is a very important task for us. Our job is to bring better products, experiences and educate our pet parents in order to make a better world for pets.”
As the way forward, Pedigree will continue to focus on driving penetration and calorie conversion with current and upcoming pet parents.
On an optimistic note, Ramani concludes, “We believe that this year will be a great time to build a strong category along with our competitors to drive the category creation and bringing more education to pet parents in India.”