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The exponential growth of China's pet industry is reshaping the marketing landscape, offering immense potential for brand partnerships. The industry has seen remarkable expansion driven by the increasing number of single and older individuals opting for pets as companions. According to the "2023 Pet Industry White Paper" jointly released by Ocean Engine and Euromonitor, the pet market in China entered a period of market upgrade after 2021. It is expected that by 2025, pet consumption in China will reach 112.4 billion yuan. The compound annual growth rate from 2021 to 2025 is projected to be 10%.
In the realm of marketing, the fusion of different brands with the pet industry has given birth to the phenomenon known as "Pet + Crossover Co-branding." This strategic alliance has proven to be a fruitful endeavor for both the pet industry and collaborating brands.
In this article, Double V Consulting delves into six compelling co-branding cases, offering a unique perspective on the marketing landscape in China.
#01 Innovative Product Design
Stats show that 50.2% of Chinese pet owners are aged 25-34, known as Gen-Z. Additionally, 46.6% live in first-tier or emerging cities. These groups have refined pet care preferences and a strong focus on product aesthetics. This has transformed the pet market in China from basic needs to catering to pets' natural behaviors and consumer preferences. Bold, creative designs are particularly appealing, especially to Gen-Z consumers.
Collaborations like the one between pet lifestyle brand ZeZe and Pizza Hut, resulting in a cat tunnel bed with a playful pizza design, have capitalized on this trend. This co-branded product is a testament to how creativity can capture the hearts of consumers while delivering functional pet products.
▲ Image via @Pizza Hut 必胜客 × Zeze
Another remarkable example is the partnership between pet lifestyle brand Vetreska and KFC, resulting in a cat scratching barrel adorned with the iconic KFC bucket imagery.
▲ Image via @Vetreska × KFC
These inventive blends of aesthetics and functionality showcase how brands can align their offerings with consumer preferences while entering the pet industry market.
#02 Building a Pet-Loving Brand Image
The rise of the pet economy has encouraged brands to associate themselves with compassionate causes that aid animals in need. Cornetto, an ice-cream brand, have collaborated with organizations like Beijing Adoption Day to initiate charity events dedicated to caring for homeless animals and finding them loving homes. These acts of charity have not only contributed to a positive brand image but also served as a testament to corporate social responsibility.
▲ Image via Cornetto 可爱多 × Beijing Adoption Day 北京领养日
On Adoption Day, the scene was bustling with people
Additionally, Cornetto has integrated adorable animal elements into the packaging of its "Cornetto" ice cream, effectively capturing the attention of pet lovers and aligning its brand with a cause that resonates with a broad audience.
▲ Image via Cornetto 可爱多 × Beijing Adoption Day 北京领养日
The ice cream packaging features adorable pet illustrations
#03 Offline Pet-Themed Activities
The urban landscape of China, especially in first-tier cities where space is a premium, presents a challenge for pet owners who want their furry companions to receive adequate exercise. To address this, brands are creating pet-friendly spaces that cater to both pets and their owners.
Pet lifestyle brand Vetreska 未卡 and KFC's limited-time pet-themed store is a prime example. By incorporating pet-friendly amenities, such as cat trees and scratching barrels, and decorating the store with Vetreska's signature elements, these collaborations promote pet welfare and attract pet owners, turning their stores into popular destinations for both pets and their owners.
▲ Image via Vetreska未卡 × KFC
The KFC restaurant that are decorated with product A have a unique style
#04 Pet Socialization
Besides pet-themed stores, pet socialization is a growing trend. In 2021, a popular Chinese tea brand, HeyTea, opened a pet-friendly store. Customers can play with dogs while waiting for their drinks. This not only extends their stay but also allows dogs to socialize. It has attracted many pet owners, boosting the store's popularity. Stores with pet-friendly areas often become popular photo spots. These happy moments with pets also become user-generated content on social media, increasing the store's visibility.
▲ Image via @万能的掌上君 (Xiaohongshu)
HeyTea has provided a resting place for pets
#05 Hiring "Pet Staff"
Recently, on Douyin, a fruit farmer's account @我是拉不拉金 for his Golden Retriever has gained popularity, now boasting 994,000 followers. This talented puppy skillfully picked oranges, leaving behind adorable bite marks on the peels. Pet lovers who adore cute animals might buy oranges from this farmer because they love this special dog. People are proudly showing off the oranges they bought from the farmer on social media. This little dog has increased the farmer's sales and visibility.
▲ Image via @TiAmo
This beloved Golden Retriever picks oranges. Fans buy the oranges it harvests and proudly share on social media
#06 Creating Pet IPs
One of China's top influencers, Austin Li, has established an IP known as the "Never‘s Family" for his five dogs. Operating under this brand, he launched a prominent Tmall store featuring a range of Never‘s Family-related products. With Austin Li's widespread recognition and the audience's fondness for adorable pets, this Tmall store has amassed an impressive following of 564,000, showcasing substantial buying potential.
▲ Image via Never's Family
Austin Li's five little dogs, along with their related creative products
The allure of the pet industry in China is undeniable, offering a myriad of opportunities for brand collaboration and growth. The six co-branding cases presented in this article serve as a testament to the incredible potential for brands to align themselves with the pet industry's expanding landscape.
As Double V Consulting, a leader in brand strategy consulting, we not only excel in domestic market marketing but also possess insights into international brand expansion.
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