Being conscious of what we feed our children doesn’t stop with our biological kids. Many pet parents struggle to choose the healthiest food for their new pets. Fear of choosing the wrong food is real, and unlike choosing for our kids, choosing for our pets isn’t as clear-cut. Pet parents look to recommendations from vets and friends, and independent research to decide on brands. Marketers who understand how to guide, inform and reassure at the many different touch points can make early connections with consumers who are committed to providing pets with a happy and healthy life.

The New York Times reports that when dog owners bring their new dog home, they also buy a ton of stuff. That exciting process is often the beginning of a life-long relationship with brands. So understanding the range of emotions around these decisions can provide brands with the insights they need to truly connect.

When brands are planning communication they may want to consider some of things pet parents are seeking:

 

Clarity:

Even though there are strict guidelines in place to help pet parents make informed decisions about food selections, there are still doubts about which food to choose. Labels show complex names of nutrients specific to different breeds and medical conditions/restrictions – and consumers really have no idea what they mean. Until recently, consumers were willing to choose a familiar brand, or to take a recommendation of a friend or vet. But now, like with human food, understanding the label is crucial to helping pet parents decide.

 

Customization:

Also like human food, pet food is transitioning. So many pets have restrictive diets or specific eating preferences. Just Right by Purina has tapped into this need by offering a dog food that lets parents (with the health of some nutritional guidelines) create a special blend just for their pups specific needs.

 

Food With Benefits:

Will carrots help my cat’s sight? Does grain-free mean my pup will have fewer stomach issues? These are the kinds of question pet parents are asking. So letting them know if there are the benefits beyond the label could be essential in helping pet parents choose your brand. 40% of dog owners who buy dry food weekly are likely to spend extra to ensure a pet’s wellness.

 

Establish A Community:

Parents want to be part of a community and pet parents are no different.

If pet parents truly feel connected to a brand community, they’re 47% more likely to buy their preferred brand regardless of availability or coupons. That’s real brand strength.

 

The ultimate goal for marketers should be making sure pet parents truly feel good about the decisions they’re making for their pets.

And that “feel good” has to be a combination of tapping into the right-brain emotion of being a parent and reinforcing their decisions with all the left-brain facts they need to convince themselves they are doing a great job.