TL;DR: We built a social media content machine that made rich connections with millions of pet owners through original, personalized video and photography, creating significant brand equity.

Challenge: Purina is the industry leader in pet care. But a number of food and cultural trends had started to erode this leadership position. From local- and single-sourcing to organic and gluten free, trends that shifted human eating habits were impacting Purina’s core business – and its brand health. So, Purina charged us to build key equities in their brand while making it a modern competitor in a new marketplace.

The Work: To build on the trust and love for the Purina brand, we knew it needed to feel as human, caring and personal as some of its new competitors. We didn’t have to look far for the idea. Purina’s employees are passionate about pets and the firm’s culture supports and reflects that; employees bring their dogs and cats to work every single day and pets are famous within the halls of Purina.

So we created an operation that used always-on research and social listening to identify the topics pet lovers care about most, evaluate conversations to make sure Purina could add value, then craft expert content with the help of our unique creative newsroom to quickly respond with one of four different content production values adjusted to the importance of the conversation. We then responded directly to people who are discussing the topic and listened for what pops. By focusing on both emotional and instructional content and by leveraging employees and their pets, we were able to showcase both Purina’s character and expertise.

This approach lead to an average response time of about two hours, giving Purina real-time relevance and importance in peoples’ lives. It also allowed us to identify and help Purina respond to some significant social needs – such as making a shelter for victims of domestic abuse dog-friendly.

Results: After a two and a half year run, the program has made a significant contribution to measurable brand equity – initial results indicated a step change in reputation and brand lift. There was a 100x lift in mentions of Purina in social media and we created several thousand original brand interactions, resulting in tens of millions of quality, personalized, earned impressions.