This is On the Inside, a new series from Digiday where we tour through the spaces of brands, agencies and publishers to find out what makes them different.
If you don’t like dogs, a job at Bark & Co. isn’t for you, according to co-founder Henrik Werdelin. Roaming the company’s two floors of Chinatown office space are dogs of all breeds and sizes: A noble-looking German Shepherd sits under its owner’s desk; a pint-sized Shih Tzu yaps from atop a table where two team members are doing work; a 7-month-old Labradoodle puppy tries to maintain control of its long legs while playing fetch in the open office layout.
“We’re not a pet company. We’re entirely focused on dogs,” said Bark & Co.’s head of partnerships Alexis Anderson, who gave Digiday a tour of the office space. “We ask all new employees to sign a tongue-in-cheek agreement that says they’ll never suggest we include cat products.”
Instead, Bark & Co. has grown in other directions. Its flagship offering, BarkBox, is a monthly subscription box service containing four to six treats and toys based on a given theme. Since launching in 2011, the service has sent out 3 million boxes and 15 million products to date. BarkPost premiered a year later, a publication for dog owners that began as a company blog. BarkShop, an e-commerce store, opened in 2014.
The online store initially sold the products that were found in BarkBoxes, but an upcoming relaunch of the store will expand BarkShop’s e-commerce offerings to include products for humans (like tote bags and slip-on sneakers) as well as toys designed in house by Bark & Co.
“We started designing our own products back when we were looking for items for an Ice Age-themed box. We couldn’t find an abominable snowman anywhere, so we made one ourselves,” said Anderson. “Dogs are in our DNA, so we’re confident we can make the products they’ll want.”
All upcoming BarkBox products are tested and approved by the office dogs. A search through a closet drawer filled with chews and squeaky toys for an upcoming box held fall- and Halloween-themed items, like a stuffed candy corn and a squeaky bat ball with wings. A massive pile of worn and torn toys in an office corner is where the rejected chew things and products of past boxes go to entertain dogs during the work day.
While, as Anderson said, Bark & Co. is now expert in finding the right things for dogs, BarkPost and BarkLive are ways the company reaches dogs and their owners beyond products, both in-person and online. BarkPost content includes plenty of cutesy video: BarkPost is a top 20 video publisher on Facebook, and earlier this month, the company made headlines when it posted a video about Bretagne the Golden Retriever, the last-known living search and rescue dog that served at Ground Zero, and her trip to New York on the 14th anniversary of 9/11. The video now has 1.6 million views on YouTube.
BarkLive, the events business, puts on festivals, “pawties” and more, organized with dogs in mind. Bark & Co. also opens its offices to dogs and their owners about once a month for community mingling events.
“As a society, we’re not very good at creating things we can actually do with our dogs,” said Anderson. “Our office is a perfect space for that, for everyone to gather.”
Video production: Hannah Yi
Member ExclusiveDigiday+ Research: Instagram wins over Facebook for role in brands’ holiday marketing
Brands differ on how they use each marketing channel during the holidays -- even when it comes to sibling social media platforms Facebook and Instagram, Digiday+ Research found.
How — and why — Candy Crush is in the midst of a 10th anniversary brand refresh
In the years since Activision Blizzard acquired the Swedish game studio King in 2016, employees at the gaming giant have started to internally refer to their company as “ABK” — that is, Activision Blizzard King. But the corporation’s recent financial reports indicate that “KAB” might be a more accurate abbreviation.
Independent agency Goat invests in influencer strategy for clients as it expands in the U.S.
Everyone is after influencers to up their marketing game. But the secret to success, Goat contends, is in viewing influencers as performance media and using data to deliver clients guaranteed outcomes.
SponsoredHow brands are measuring incremental performance on CTV
Connected TV is unique among other advertising channels because it combines linear television’s storytelling capabilities with digital marketing’s targeting and measurement. As more marketers leverage CTV advertisements to reach relevant and engaged audiences, they also want to understand the real value they are generating with their investment. Incrementality reporting and measurement allow advertisers to measure […]
Marketers bring Web3 to the FIFA World Cup with augmented reality, NFTs and virtual worlds
The month-long tournament, which begins this weekend, will be the first World Cup since it took place in Russia in 2018 long before “Web3” entered the global lexicon. Now, official and non-official sponsors are hoping to harness the hype with a range of NFTs, virtual worlds, augmented reality tools and other trendy tech.
U-Haul diversifies its social strategy to tell people it’s more than moving trucks
In recent years, U-Haul's in-house agency has been working to "better leverage social media for brand loyalty."