How to successfully rebrand cat, dog food packaging

Lessons from the rebranding of Oxbow Animal Health were discussed by Stefan Hartung, creative director for Ideas that Kick, at Petfood Forum 2016.

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Hartung said that a company must think long-term when they rebrand a product. | Petfood Forum TV
Hartung said that a company must think long-term when they rebrand a product. | Petfood Forum TV


Rebranding can transform a pet food company's image. The case of Oxbow Animal Health was discussed by Melissa Ross, director of marketing for Oxbow Animal Health, and Stefan Hartung, creative director at Ideas that Kick, in an interview before their presentation at Petfood Forum 2016.

Hartung said that a company must think long-term when they rebrand a product. The biggest mistake that companies make is that they don’t look far enough ahead, he said. Planning three years ahead isn’t enough. Pet food rebranding efforts needs to think five to 10 years in the future.

Hartung noted that consumer cycles have become much faster and that manufacturers must try to capture pet food consumers interest and draw them into the brand. A brand can no longer rely on pet food consumers’ brand loyalty.

Millenials pet owners in particular are fickle consumers, said Hartung. A pet food rebranding effort must engage Millenials by standing on its own as something beyond a product.

5 rules for rebranding pet food packaging

During Hartung's presentation on pet food rebranding at Petfood Forum 2016, he gave five rules for rebranding pet food packaging, reported Petfood Industry:

  1. It needs to stand for something.
  2. Put emotions on the packaging rather than just product features.
  3. Develop a unique strategy for marketing that compliments the new packaging.
  4. Own something–custom photography is crucial.
  5. The packaging must be easily readable.

Hartung said pet food packaging must not only make a product stand out on store shelves, but it must also be honest in its messaging, convincing and engaging with consumers in order to be an effective means of creating brand loyalty. Companies that incorporate packaging design at the core perform nearly 200% better than those that don’t focus on design, he said.

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