Pet trade brands – meet your future self…

Here at Companion Consultancy, we’ve been supporting pet trade brands for decades. In many ways, the challenge for those brands seems greater now than it has ever been. Why do we say that? Read on to find out what it really takes to create an exciting future…

Mixed messages

We’re living in a time when it has never been easier to share opinions. Many people feel strongly that their views on ethics or values are the right ones and that they must also vigorously defend them. They are often alert to anyone who might communicate something contrary to their opinion – which might involve accusing others of being irresponsible, reckless or uncaring.

This means pet trade companies need to be extremely careful about the content they use – whether that’s featuring a particular breed, a child playing with a dog, or an apparently innocuous image of a dog with a stick in its mouth (a notorious cause of injury).

We see conflict between science and the move towards ‘natural’ products. Conflict between humanisation of pets and feeding the best versus feeding pets the less attractive cuts of meat in the interests of sustainability. Conflict between whether we should be even be pet owners at all, or pet parents, or entirely pet-free.

With so much conflict around, the messages you communicate and your brand values need to be well thought through and tested and examined from multiple viewpoints. There’s never been a better time to get serious about managing your reputation.

Technology and data

We can all achieve remarkable things using data – from social media, to email marketing and SEO, the possibilities offered by digital channels are endless. If you think you’ve mastered those challenges, look out because voice search is coming. Add to that, the ability to examine data generated by pets – how long they spend asleep, scratching or exercising: it is all available at the touch of a few buttons, thanks to activity monitors. There’s potential to use that data to communicate your product benefits. But there’s also potential to be cut out of the conversation completely by those with access to this data. It makes for interesting times.

Products are also increasingly complex. It can be difficult to tell your story in a way that communicates the technical benefits but also captures the pet owner’s imagination.

We can run with great ideas, without extensive briefing because we already understand the pet trade industry and the audience. And as vets, we also know a thing or two about animal health, so no big learning curve is required. To be successful with your marketing and PR in this complicated new world think about bringing on board people with expertise and knowledge: it’s a no brainer.

Subscription models and market disruption

The millennial lifestyle truly embraces subscription models –look at how easy it is to budget when a tiny amount goes out of your account every month! It also means no decision points around repeat purchase and no visits to the local retailer to look at alternatives. Who saw that coming?

Being flexible and agile is really important these days and you need to be looking to the future and ready for huge disruption, not just prepared to respond to a BOGOF or sampling programme.

Time to bring in the blue sky thinking? These days you really have to imagine the unimaginable – and perhaps do it first.

Veterinary cross-over

Maybe you are not too worried about things because after all, your product has the potential to cross over into the veterinary market and incremental sales. Well, there are huge shake ups there too. The growth of corporate veterinary practice, the presence of buying groups and wholesalers – it’s a multi-layered marketplace.

That’s not to say it doesn’t have potential or offer a big opportunity. But it’s easy to spend your budget on campaigns that don’t work and efficient gatekeepers can block your access to practice decision makers. We can help with everything from routes to use to market to vets, to pricing models and more but don’t assume that the veterinary channel is simple and easy to crack. Those days have passed and you’ll need a robust plan for market entry.

Book a free 20 minute chat about your PR strategy. We love to help businesses succeed in challenging times. Find out more about our services here.