Petfood Industry - July 2018 - 28
28 | www.PetfoodIndustry.com
➥THE IMPORTANCE OF TRANSPARENCY IN THE PET FOOD INDUSTRY
How to influence the influencers and
educate pet parents
spoke on transparency ("Why is pet food surrounded by
secrecy? The quest for transparency") at Petfood Forum 2018,
held in Kansas City, Missouri, USA, in April. "Those days are
over," she said.
According to Bylling, an increased number of influencers,
such as freelance writers and bloggers, means those in the
pet food industry simply can't control their brand or product
One of the most significant ways to reach out to pet
parents today is through online social media, according to
Larine Urbina, vice president of communications for Tetra
Pak U.S. and Canada. Urbina spoke at Petfood Forum 2018
on "Beyond millennials: reaching the connected pet food
consumer." The connected consumer is well-adjusted to being
online and spends a significant amount of time conducting
business via the internet. According to Urbina, connected
consumers spend at least four hours online every day. They
actively engage with brands online and want to be involved.
"There is a shift from traditional media to online
forums, blogs and social media," said Urbina at Petfood
Forum. "User-generated content is more influential
and popular than ever." In fact, 51 percent of connected
consumers trust personal experience, versus 49 percent
who trust data, and social media is seen as substantially
more believable (with 62 percent trusting it) than advertising (with just 38 percent of consumers trusting it),
according to Urbina (see Figure 2).
Communicating with consumers is about more than
education, it's about empowerment, said Urbina. Empowered consumers adapt their behavior, and providing them
with the information they need (i.e., creating awareness) will
bring about consideration on their part, which could lead to
conversion, loyalty and even advocacy. Through this lens,
Pet food experts:
How to be
Photo by Stokkete I Bigstock.com
messages as well as they used to (see Figure 1). Ignoring that
reality could spell disaster for the pet food industry.
"A lack of transparency from us, pet food producers, means
that we are leaving the influencers to their own devices,"
said Bylling. "And we're increasing the likelihood of Google
leading the pet parent to incorrect or biased information. If
we don't share 'top secret' pet food information, pet parents
and other stakeholders will make up their own 'truth' and
potentially expect the worst."
THE INFLUENCER FLOW IN PET FOOD
The pet food
The pet food
The pet food
The family member,
a pet parent
The pet parent
Source: "Why is pet food surrounded by secrecy?" Henriette Bylling, Aller Petfood Group, Petfood Forum 2018
FIGURE 1: The influencer flow used to be fairly straightforward in the pet food business, but with the addition of the
internet and all of its component parts, opinions of all sorts flow far more freely to consumers.