In-depth dog, cat food information appeals to pet parents

Learn what a veterinarian and pet food industry consultant believes are the keys to communicating with pet owners in the age of humanization.

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Dr. Melissa Brookshire, North River Enterprises | photo by Austin Alonzo
Dr. Melissa Brookshire, North River Enterprises | photo by Austin Alonzo

Pet food companies need to communicate with dog and cat owners in ways that address those people’s feelings that pets are part of the family, said Melissa Brookshire, DVM, founder of North River Enterprises, a pet food industry consulting firm, in a video from Petfood Forum 2017.

“What has changed in past 1o years is the role of pets in household. People want to feed something that they think is like what’s on their table,” she said. “From the aspect of consumer support and communications, it’s also changing the way we communicate with those pet owners.”

Keys to communicating with pet parents

The ideal way to communicate with anxious pet parents is to provide all the information possible about a pet food, she said. Key pieces of information include:

  • How the food is manufactured and where,
  • Where the ingredients are from,
  • How the ingredients are handled and
  • What testing was done on the ingredients.

The value of customer service in the pet food industry

In Brookshire’s presentation at Petfood Forum 2017, she discussed how pet food companies can deal with crises, such as ill dogs and cats.

Brookshire said distraught customers with sick animals will call pet food companies and claim the food is to blame for the ailment. If the disgruntled customer is not handled properly, it can do serious, lasting damage to the pet food company and its brands.

The proliferation of information surrounding pets and pet ownership online carries a considerable risk for pet food companies because users can post false information about a product, possibly claiming it played a role in the death of a beloved family member, on popular review sites and social media channels. Brookshire said the network effect means these untrue but emotionally compelling stories can spread quickly and – even if they are proven untrue – can stick around and damage a brand for months or years.

Petfood Forum 2018

Learn more about consumer relations and communications with dog and cat owners at Petfood Forum 2018.

Petfood Forum provides an opportunity for pet food professionals from around the world to network, exchange ideas and do business with one another and with the industry's leading pet food manufacturers and suppliers. Petfood Forum 2018 will take place at the Kansas City Convention Center in Kansas City, Missouri, USA on April 23 -25, 2018.

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