How the Dodo Built a Successful Brand


Written by: Lacey Wilcox

Posted on: November 8, 2018

If you’ve spent much time in the rabbit hole that is the internet, you’ve probably found yourself enjoying a wide range of animal videos on the Dodo, or one of its social networks. While the website has proven itself a pretty great place to spend your time on the internet (sorry, Candy Crush), it’s not just a means of avoiding laundry and work. It’s also a great example for marketers in what it means to successfully build a brand.

How the Dodo Built a Successful Brand

If you’re still wondering what on earth an extinct bird has to do with marketing, step right over here to the Dodo’s website (we’ll still be here, even if it’s several hours later ;) ). The Dodo was founded by Izzie Lerer, who has a PhD in animal studies with a focus on animal ethics and human relationships from Columbia University, and who is no stranger to building a brand (her father, Kenneth Lerer, has worked with the Huffington Post and BuzzFeed). Lerer launched the Dodo after noticing just how popular animal videos were (and that there was really no central space on the Internet to find this content).

Not only has Lerer’s venture been wildly successful, it’s a valuable lesson for marketers on how to captivate an audience and build a thriving brand.

Find a Niche

The Dodo was founded with a very intentional purpose: creating a central location for animal content on the internet, a niche that was completely unfilled at the time. It was a unique, targeted strategy, and it was incredibly popular.

Takeaway for marketers: find something that hasn’t been completely flooded by competition, or find a new way to do something so that it exceeds customers’ expectations.

Founded from Interests and Passions

Part of the reason The Dodo was so successful is because Lerer was her target audience (an animal lover who wanted to find animal content on the internet). This was a subject matter about which Lerer was well-versed and passionate. If she had been someone who hated animals (is that even possible?) or was just trying to make a buck, it would have been obvious to her audience and the site wouldn’t have been nearly as popular.

Takeaway for marketers: If you don’t have personal knowledge or interest in your business, find someone who does so that you can you can use that information as you’re telling your brand’s story.

the-dodo-save-the-wildDo Good

The Dodo doesn’t just share feel good content about animals, it also makes it easy for its audience to be advocates for animals around the globe. This is brilliant because it makes consumers feel even better about spending time on their website.

Takeaway for marketers: Find ways to authentically do good, and make it possible for your audience to be a part of this good.

Enable Users to Generate Content

One of the most brilliant aspects of the Dodo is that a huge portion of its videos are provided by its audience. This means that users are more likely to engage with what they’re viewing and participate as well.

Takeaway for marketers: The more active your audience, the more engaged they are likely to be with your content and your business.

Be a Dodo in Your Marketing

Normally, it’s not exactly a compliment to be called a dodo. But when it comes to marketing your business, it just might be a good thing.

These takeaways are just the beginning. If you’re ready to take marketing your brand to the next level, download our free book, Beyond the Basics: Advanced Inbound Marketing Tactics.

Advanced Inbound Marketing Tactics eBook