Like many brands trying to increase sales and build a following, Brutus Broth has partnered with influencers, albeit furry.
The dog food brand has partnered with pet influencers like Haddie the Pirate Dog, Dachshunds Of NYC, and Dogumentary of Jake, all of whom have thousands of followers on Instagram.
Brutus Broth, an expert in bone broth for dogs, started tapping into online pet personalities after learning firsthand how close-knit local dog communities can be. Brutus Broth’s founders, sisters Kim Hehir and Sue Delegan, founded the company after pet owners they knew kept asking for their own personal recipe for bone broth. Now the company leverages influencer partnerships to educate potential customers about the brand and potentially increase sales.
“There is a huge learning curve for our brand,” said Hehir, co-founder and president of Brutus Broth. “It was important to us to get our product to consumers, allowing their pets to try the product and see what health benefits they saw from the product.”
Launched in 2018, Brutus Broth is now available in more than 5,000 stores, including Petco, Harris Teeter, and Safeway, which sell flavors like chicken, beef, and pork. Hehir said the company’s 2021 sales figure was slightly below its $5 million target, but saw a sales increase of over 300% over the previous year. With the company’s social strategy to increase awareness and trial rates, Brutus Broth is on track to double its sales this year.
Hehir said that pet influencers Brutus Broth is an effective way to increase sales in physical stores. For example, in Malamute Jackson’s post about Brutus Broth, Target was also tagged because it was one of the stores where the product was sold.
Additionally, working with these canine creators gives Brutus Broth access to a circle of pet parents, many of whom share and receive tips amongst themselves. With that in mind, Brutus Broth hosted Yappy Hours where pet influencers and other dogs can attend. For an event this week, Brutus Broth partnered with the Kansas City Chiefs’ defensive tackle and dog owner Derrick Nnadi for a meet and greet.
In total, the company works with at least a dozen pet influencers. Brutus Broth is also distinguished by human personalities such as dog trainer James Craigmyle. In 2018, Brutus Broth also signed a partnership. Project K9 HeroA nonprofit that supports retired military and police dogs.
Brutus Broth partners with content creators for affiliate marketing opportunities, among other marketing campaigns. For example, for Pet Month this May, the company teamed up with Haddie the Pirate Dog for a giveaway. The winner will receive a $100 Target gift card and a Brutus Broth pack.
“In our world, we think of influencers as people who have meaningful points of contact with people who own dogs,” Hehir said. Said. “It’s about getting different kinds of people and different kinds of content at the same time.”
Robert Stern, CEO and founder of consulting firm The Social Leader, said the pet influencer field has grown quite a bit over the years. Collaborating with pet influencers can be appealing for brands, as animals, especially the cute, furry breeds, generate so much interaction and reaction. “These followers follow them because of the warmth and emotion associated with that pet,” he said.
As pet ownership has increased, the pet category itself has experienced tremendous growth throughout the pandemic. A 2021-2022 study from the American Pet Products Association shows that: 35% of pet owners spent more on pets or pet supplies last year.
Other brands, even those outside the pet category, are getting involved in pet influencer partnerships. For example, Doug PugShe posted an ad for veggie food brand Caulipower, which has 3.8 million followers on Instagram. jaxA Siberian husky with more than 147,000 followers on Instagram posted ads for dog camera brand Furbo.
Brutus Broth’s Hehir said that when looking for a potential pet influencer to partner with, the company usually looks for accounts with more than 1,000 followers. However, the company evaluates potential partnerships on a case-by-case basis. Hehir says the company prefers to team up with smaller creators who can talk more about the brand and have an engaged audience.
Hehir said the company plans to continue to increase its brand awareness and number of stores. Additionally, the brand plans to launch new products in the coming months, including a vegan superfood juice.
“I think people will be less and less affected by social media posts because of the lack of reality,” Hehir said. Influencers could be someone running an animal shelter, a veterinarian, a dog trainer or dog walker. It can take different forms.”