5 Questions with YuJung Kim, President of The Dodo



How does the number one animal brand on social media globally stay on top of their storytelling game? Next up in our interview series: YuJung Kim, President of The Dodo.


Access exclusive SMW+ content by marketers whose careers you can emulate with a free 30-day trial!

Social storytelling is all about creating snackable, thumb-stopping content that captures consumers’ attention amid a flurry of videos, images, articles and other content. As a publisher in this space, the trick to breaking through is about more than the creative itself: it’s about identifying a content whitespace that serves the interest of a niche audience.

Our SMWNYC lineup this April will feature several panels on this topic, one of which includes Group Nine Media’s The Dodo. In a fireside chat, the company’s Founder and Chief Creative Officer, Izzie Lerer, and President, YuJung Kim, will explore how they’ve been able keep the brand relevant and maintain unique voice and mission of using the universal love of animals to bring its community together.

Ahead of the panel, we sat down with YuJung Kim to learn more about The Dodo and what they have in store for their upcoming SMWNYC talk.

There’s no shortage of animal content on the internet. What inspired you to launch The Dodo and what are you offering that’s unique or different from what existed prior?

YuJung Kim: There has always been a lot of animal content on the internet, but no one was really owning the topic in a meaningful way. So, Izzie Lerer, Founder and Chief Creative Officer of The Dodo, saw a unique opportunity to launch the definitive destination for animal content while tapping into the huge and growing passion point that is people’s love for animals.

The Dodo is the No. 1 animal brand in social media globally. What is unique about your growth strategy that has led to such a rapid ascent?

From day one, we’ve had a laser focus on going where audiences are—whether it’s Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, YouTube, etc.—and tailoring content specifically for that platform. We were one of the pioneering publishers to adopt this strategy, and over the years we’ve built large, high-quality audiences on each platform.

Facebook recently announced changes to its News Feed algorithm that stand to impact the ways in which video publishers like The Dodo reach and a mass audiences. How are you adjusting in light of these updates?

Facebook is prioritizing content that fosters community on its platform, and that’s exactly what we aim to create with our content at The Dodo. Our audience is deeply engaged with our content—so much so that it often goes beyond likes, comments, and shares, whereby audiences are taking action (by donating, signing petitions, adopting, etc.)

So, we’re continuing to see success on Facebook. We recently jumped to the No. 5 spot for most viewed media and entertainment creators on Facebook globally across all genres, and are No. 1 for engagement rate among the top 10 Facebook pages in the world (Source: Tubular, Feb. 2018).

How is The Dodo using audience data and insights to inform its editorial strategy?

We take a data-driven, audience-first approach to our content publishing, which helps inform subject matter, graphics, pacing, and scripting, post copy, and distribution. We tell highly engaging stories that are optimized to resonate best with our audience.

For example, one of the animals featured in the second season of our show “Comeback Kids,” a kitten named Lazarus, was first featured in a short form video that we produced last year. This short video received over 100 million views and garnered massive engagement—which we took as our cue to deliver a longer, even more, compelling video about Lazarus’ journey to our audience.

How does The Dodo approach content development across a multitude of channels and formats? Are certain types of content more conducive to certain platforms?

We’re really cognizant of that fact that one size doesn’t fit all when it comes to storytelling across platforms. The types of stories, their length, look and feel, etc. vary from platform to platform. We’re able to tell longer stories with Facebook Watch and YouTube, whereas we have more condensed videos on Snapchat and Instagram.

It’s also important to take into account that audiences are different depending on the platform. For example, our Snapchat Discover audience is much younger than our audience on Facebook, so the pacing of our storytelling is faster. Tastes differ, too—we’ve noticed that our YouTube audience is more enthusiastic about seeing humans in our videos than our Facebook audience. This prompted us to develop a made-for-YouTube show that highlights iconic pets, their humans, and their surrounding community. The key takeaway is to find a balance between speaking in the voice of the platform and maintaining a consistent, and strong, brand voice across each.

Don’t miss your chance to attend this session and 150+ others at SMWNYC this April 24-27. Claim your pass today before we sell out!

Newsletter Subscription

Get the latest insights, trends and best practices from today's leading industry voices.

Learn More

Write for Us

Interested in sharing your ideas and insights with the world? Become a SMW News contributor and reach 300k readers each month.

Apply Here