5 Things Doug The Pug Can Teach You About Branding

Social Media
August 4, 2015

Doug The Pug is the proud pooch who has been parading around the internet since late last year and the most famous dog since Boo. Doug currently has close to two million Facebook fans, half a million followers on Instagram and thousands of followers on Vine, Youtube and Twitter. He even has his own line of merch! The chubby little cherub’s rise to fame has seen him feature in TIME magazine and appear onMashable, Buzzfeed and Good Morning America.

It’s no secret that the Internet is nuts about puppies but Doug’s popularity has managed to cut through and capture our attention. So what has Doug done to stand out and win our hearts in a world that already has Toast the Prince Charles, Hamilton the Pug and Charles Barkley the French Bulldog?

It turns out that some of that success is probably due to the help of Leslie Mosier, Doug’s best friend, photographer and branding mastermind…who, surprise surprise, has a background in artist management and promotion.

The rise of Doug the Pug is a variable how to guide in building a digital audience with power, authority, connection and weight from the ground up. Unfortunately, not all our products are going to be gorgeous giggly puppies but there are a number of lessons we can learn from Doug that can be applied to any brand.

Show the people your personality

 Go through the comments of any of Doug’s photos and one thing you will notice is just how many people are captivated by his expressions. Doug is cute, playful and isn’t afraid to look a little silly.

Doug The Pug eating ice cream with an ice cream cone on his head

A more subtle branding point is Doug ALWAYS looks directly down the barrel of the camera, this gives people a real insight and connection to the little guy which allows people to feel like they can relate. That connection is then expertly used to add little relatable commentary like

Doug The Pug Facebook post screenshot "I wish someone would look at me the way I look at Pizza"

We know Doug, We know.

Be part of the conversation

Doug has had an opinion on all the trending topics. From the Taylor Swift Album launch

Doug The Pug takes on Taylor Swift's Bad Blood cover side by side comparison of original and Doug's version

To Kim Kardashian breaking the internet

Doug The Pug recreates Kim Kardashian's lying on bed in underwear photo side-by-side comparison with original

And the release of big films

Doug The Pug dressed up in a Minion costume

Where it can be done organically, being part of trending conversation is a huge win. It allows people to get to know your brand better, it gives them an insight into your interests and brand position on issue’s they’re following, it also increases your chances of reaching a broad audience with hashtags and trending topic aggregators.

Know your audience

Like many proud puppy parents, Leslie began posting photos of her pouch from her personal social media accounts. Developing a stand-alone account for Doug allowed him to explode as a brand because people didn’t have to sift through things they weren’t interested in. To begin with Doug’s photos were artsy but Leslie noticed that close-ups and photos of Doug being silly received more engagement and smartly she tailored the content to give people what they wanted. Today Leslie puts a lot of time into helping Doug appeal to his fans with content that is interesting enough for people in their 20’s (who are his core fan base) to engage with but that won’t offend or alienate the children who also love him.

Doug The Pug Facebook post screenshot "Welcome to the pug life"

It helps to have friends

Relationships have been a huge part of Doug’s success and growth. Doug’s first big break came after Lesliereached out to an existing contact at Mashable, Doug has now been featured on Mashable 8 times, with each appearance Doug’s fan base, reach and status in the community grows significantly. Since rising to fame, Doug has been keen to be seen with other famous friends to create great cross-promotional content.

Doug and Meghan Trainor

Don’t lose sight of your role in the community

One of Doug’s most successful projects to date came on New Years Eve when Doug visited a homeless shelter and a fire station in his local community to hand out notes of encouragement and kindness. A lot of brands talk about caring but being able to get out there, do things and show it is something that really wins people’s hearts and minds.

So there you have it, go out and follow the wisdom of Doug, or buy your brand a loveable pouch to pimp out.