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Using cats as a way to brand a product?

No way.

These were my thoughts before reading PR Daily’s “Herding cats? Tough. Branding with them? Let’s talk viral impact” blog post this morning. But after I read more, I began to see that PR Daily’s Rachel Farrell had a point.

Farrell discussed three main reasons why our furry friends are becoming brand icons.

  1. Animals are humorous yet loveable.
  2. The digital era helps re-introduce your brand to millennials.
  3. Authenticity matters.

Hmm. She was right.

I mean it all made sense. People love animals and people love animals that do funny unique things. I mean just look back over the past 10 years. Dozens of businesses have used animals as part of their branding strategy and today those animals are brand icons because of it. Let’s look at a few.

But this got me thinking, can all brands become icons? The answer was yes.

Let’s look back to our furry friends for some helpful tips.

Be humorous yet loveable

In other words, businesses must find a way to connect with their customer on an intimate level. Develop a brand story and make it relatable. A story draws customers in, and appeals to their emotions. This makes your brand memorable.

Don’t be afraid of social media and the digital era

Traditionally, print ads and TV spots were used for branding opportunities. Today, technology offers companies endless opportunities of ways to market a product or service and connect with customers. Know your niche demographic and establish a more intimate relationship with customers about your brand.

Authenticity matters

No matter what your brand is about, center it around being unique. Keep all the messaging consistent across all platforms including newspapers, radio, print, website, social media and email marketing. The more consistent your brand, the more people remember.

What are some of your favorite brand icons? What branding tips did you learn from them?

Photo via CreativeCommons
Katie Snyder
Katie Snyder
A former HMA Public Relations employee.


  1. Scott Hanson says:

    Of course, there is T.J. Luv from Southwest Airlines, although he isn’t really furry.

  2. Teresa says:

    Then there’s our friendly Aflac duck – quack, quack!

  3. silver price says:

    From Ferrari’s prancing horse to the Lacoste crocodile, animals have been used as powerful brand icons for hundreds of years. Why do animals make such powerful brand icons?

  4. Katie says:

    Teresa! That’s a great example! I totally forgot about that duck!

    Silver, that’s a good question. People love animals, especially those animal icons that do funny things or have human like characteristics. I think brands use that strategy as a way to get peoples attention. If people didn’t pay attention to their brand before having a talking animal might get them to notice.

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