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Image of puppies and kitten

Us Brits are barking mad about pets. A recent survey reports that our furry friends are strongly considered to be part of the family unit. A staggering 22 per cent cited their pets as a close family member, above in-laws (21 per cent) but below grandparents at 26 per cent.

It may come as a surprise to think that the in-laws are pipped to the post by Dave the dog or Goldie the goldfish, but what does this actually mean for brands that operate in the pet industry?

It’s well-documented that the rise in single occupancy households is increasing rapidly. A whopping 40 per cent of households in the UK, the Netherlands and more, will be single-person residency by 2025-30. With education, career, high divorce rates, a rise in widowed seniors and independence, cited as some of the reasons for this trend.

As pets take precedence in UK households, both financially and emotionally, what should marketers address to ensure they are capturing the hearts and minds of their target audience?

Sit back and relax. Caburn Hope has done the hard work for you. Check out our top five marketing trends that are emerging in the pet industry.

1. Health

Pet owners are becoming increasingly concerned about their animal’s health. This is due to a sharp rise in pet obesity, causing similar health issues found in humans. Triggered by overfeeding and a lack of exercise, owners are now approaching their pet’s dietary requirements with a humanising touch; with many brands launching diet foods akin to the latest human healthy eating trends.

Tip: To capture this health-concerned market, ensure you’re sending out the right brand message.

If you have an online shop, make sure your product descriptions are clear, highlighting the key USPs of each health benefit it brings. Group the products into categories so it’s easier for customers to find a solution. It will provide SEO benefit – if done correctly – and provide a platform for cross-selling or bundled offers. Remember, it’s human-to-human (H2H) marketing so capitalise on the emotional strengths health products bring, rather than scaremongering tactics.

2. Organic

Just as the popularity in pet health is taking precedence, so is the need for an organic range of products and services. Consumers are demanding transparency in ingredients and ethics, with products high in nutrition or natural ingredients becoming more favourable.

Tip: Make sure your creative design and promotional materials uses the right colours to support your brand’s ethos and messaging.
Did you know the colour blue is a sign for trust? Facebook’s colour palette is no coincidence when it comes to emulating brand values. Photography is also key when conveying a brand message. Certain types of animals will have positive connotations and inevitably be more popular with consumers. The lesson here is choose carefully – and choose wisely. Image and colour should not be approached with a ‘finger in the air’. Every element will have a cognitive effect on the customer, thus affecting brand perception.

3. Eco-friendly packaging and products

A study by Nielsen reveals that 55 per cent of global customers will happily pay more for products or services that put social and environmental issues at the heart of their strategy. From biodegradable cat litter brands to natural dog root chews, companies are catching on to this trend to help drive-up profits.

Tip: For many customers, every product purchased has a deep-rooted emotional connection to their pet.

This equates to an inherent sense of pride they have about the brands they choose to purchase. As packaging is the first interaction the consumer has with a brand in a retail environment, it’s absolutely essential that the materials and design are carefully considered.

4. Pet grooming

Did you know almost 24 per cent of UK households have a dog, followed by cats at 17 per cent? This has created a surplus demand for cat and dog accessories and services; with women apparently being the biggest spenders. Consequently, retailers like Pets at Home are seeing steady growth attributed to its pet grooming offering, proving that a combination of complimentary services can generate ROI.

Tip: With the humanisation of pets, social media is playing a major part in how consumers engage with brands.
Other than sharing images and videos of their pets on ‘social petwork’ Klooff, consumers are also using social platforms to get more information about a brand – and get feedback from other pet owners. Keep your branded social channels up-to-date with regular content and ensure you have a social media policy in place to maintain a purrfect partnership with your customer base.

5. Premium pet products

Premium products are seriously growing in popularity within the pet market. This is largely instigated by the correlation of low quality products and ill health. In the US, a recall of dog food made in China made headline news when it was found to be contaminated with melamine, causing the death of at least 14 animals. This alone triggered an upsurge in pet products and services “based on trust”.

Tip: With almost 70% of consumers visiting a branded website to source information on unfamiliar brands, it’s imperative your online presence meets expectations. Remember, your website is your shop window so it must inform, inspire and delight consumers. Ensure CTAs are clearly defined and that the online user journey is mapped out seamlessly. Whether you have internal support or not, it’s imperative you regularly review your overall marketing objectives and online presence with a trusted advisor. There will always be limitations to what you can see from an external perspective.

If you are having challenges meeting and exceeding your marketing objectives contact Caburn Hope now on +44(0)1273 480 404 or email info@caburnhope.co.uk to discuss how we can help you grow your brand through transformational planning.

Want more information on how we work with clients in the pet industry? Read our case study on The Vet and find out how we made one veterinary’s dream become a reality.
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