by Nancy Hassel, American Pet Professionals
These days, there is a lot of talk in marketing about creating your Brand Story. In fact, many marketing experts are advising businesses to go beyond storytelling and focus on story living. Story living, which means living your story each day and including your customers in that story. In an article in Forbes magazine, marketing expert Jeff Fromm explains, “The most inspired brands in the modern market are the ones that not only tell their stories through tried-and-true channels but live it in ways that allow modern consumers to see them prove their commitment to what they believe in, and participate as a result.”
In this article we will focus on why it is important for your business to tell your own story – as well as your pet’s story – to build your brand and connect with customers.
Animal Lovers Trust Other Animal Lovers
Having a love of animals unites people in a unique way. Sharing this love can transcend our other differences and bring people together. Animal lovers trust other animal lovers. We understand what it is like to give our hearts completely to a creature of a whole other species, and for them to give their hearts to us.
When you think about it, how lucky are we that we can talk about our pets, tell their stories, and do it to promote our businesses in an authentic, meaningful way? It kind of makes you feel bad for the business owners who don’t own a pet business. 😉
As a pet business owner, your clients want to know your story. They want to know what prompted you to open your business, to offer the service or products that you sell. They want to know about your pets, whether they are still with you or if they have passed to the Rainbow Bridge. They want to know that you love pets the way they love pets. And ultimately, they want to know that you love pets so much that they can trust you with theirs.
APP Members with Authentic Pet Related Brand Stories
We have some great brands within American Pet Professionals who have done an excellent job of including their pets in their brand stories.
Kelly Ison of Einstein Pets created her all-natural, human-grade dog treats because of her West Highland White Terrier Abbey. Not only was Abbey the inspiration and is their resident taste-tester, but Abbey is also featured on all the packaging and social media images. Consumers immediately recognize Abbey on the shelves, standing out from the other treats. Abbey is a visual reminder that this product was created specifically to ensure that she had access to safe, healthy treats.
Pure Earth Pets
The story of Dover is integral to Pure Earth Pets. As John and Leanne Baum embarked on a mission to live an eco-friendlier sustainable life, they found they could find great eco-friendly products for their rescued puppy Dover. Dover is featured throughout their website and social media. Leanne recently published a children’s book about Dover to teach children about leading an eco-friendly lifestyle.
Meow Mini Mart
The story of Sherry Cassin’s rescued kitties Laszlo, Beau, and Bouvier is integral to the story of Meow Mini Mart. Without them, this business would not exist. Sherry features their story throughout her website, blog, and social media. Visitors to her sites know instantly that she is a true cat lover and has put her heart and soul into choosing all of the products in her store.
Telling Your Pet’s Story
If you have not incorporated your pet into your Brand Story, there is no better time to start. The best thing about this is that you are simply sharing something that you already love. Including your pet’s story into your brand should be fun and natural. As pet businesses, we have more leeway to create content that is fun or emotional and less corporate and serious than other industries.
I have been able to have fun including Cody and his conversational skills in way that I could not in a different career. He has even accompanied me during presentations and speaking gigs on stage at various pet industry events! He may or may not have upstaged a few of us panelists during one session – but everyone in the audience got a kick out of it and he even landed in Pet Product News Magazine from his appearance.
Often people recognize Cody as APP’s company mascot when we are out and about in the pet industry, and I love that about our industry.
Has your pet been incorporated into your brand’s story and marketing?