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Take a Lesson from Pet Food
By: Janet Kalandranis
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No, don’t eat the pet food...although actually it tastes pretty good. The point is, there’s something to learn from the newest avenue in the pet-food category. Refrigerated pet food is no longer for those luxury pets, but has become mainstream with its accessibility across the country and pet-owners’ love for the furry ones. Freshpet, which initially struggled to get its concept off the ground, will have $50 million in revenue this year — a $20 million increase from 2011. This brand did something right. How did it go from struggling to superior?

CEO Richard Thompson has been through Freshpet’s tough times and now the good times. Freshpet sells fresh pet food — no cans, no dry stuff. The brand struggled initially with introducing a product that was different. Sure, Freshpet could figure out how to make fresh pet food, but the challenge was how to make this possible and accessible when the brand wanted to grow. Refrigeration in the supply chain and on the retail side was the biggest hurdle. So what did the brand do? It figured it out — it’s a simple statement, but one that is packed with a lot more than a couple of words.

Instead of putting the stress on other vendors, this little brand did its homework. They figured out how to make a distribution channel work. They install refrigerators for those retailers that are interested in selling Freshpet products. It’s a lot of work, but it’s also necessary if a small brand wants to become a household name. The idea that a small brand can become successful by making its products and services easy to distribute and easy to sell was part of the answer. If it’s a no-brainer and gives customers what they want, retailers and partners are more likely to take the risk. So as a brand, what may seem like outside challenges really become part of the overall strategy. Make it easy, take on each and every challenge, and find a way to get product to those who really want it.

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About the Author
Janet Kalandranis is here to give you all the little brand thoughts that run through her head with a little dash of spice. Find her online here.
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