Packaging Design for Pet Food

This is an excerpt transcription from an interview podcast episode I recorded with my guest Renee Miller. We talk about working on packaging design for Pet Food.

We’re discussing this work:
https://www.millergroupmarketing.com/work/lotus-pet-food/

Table of contents:

  1. Basics of branding for pet industry
  2. Defining the brand
  3. Analyzing the competitors
  4. Determining the strategy
  5. Coming up with a brand name
  6. Reviewing and refining the concepts
  7. Designing the packaging
  8. Developing all branding elements
  9. Delivering and launching the new brand

1. Basics of branding for pet industry

Arek Dvornechuck:
Can you give us an overview of basics of branding for Pet Industry? Is it any different than branding for other industries? What were the challenges? Just, you know, maybe like an overview. And can you give us some tips?

Renee Miller:
Sure! So the Pet Industry like any consumer packaged goods is highly competitive. And if you’re a smaller manufacturer, which a lot of the industry is there about 10 major players in the industry that dominate about 90% market share. So the smaller players have to remember the importance of branding.


2. Defining the brand

Arek Dvornechuck:
How do you define the brand for your clients?

Renee Miller:
For example, one of the brands that we created was a pet food called the Lotus. We did a lot of some consumer research. We also looked at the competition it was called desktop research to see where we would have a where we would differ in terms of brand messaging and one of the things you know, we launched this about 10 years ago. And one of the things that was important about the Lotus brand is that it was sold exclusively in a retail chain called Centinela Feed & Pet in Southern California. So we knew that what would be absolutely critical is to make sure that the packaging was so different.


3. Analyzing the competitors

Arek Dvornechuck:
Why is that you want this kind of traditional painting and old school design rather than, you know, computer generated like, you know, very polished and modern looking feel?

Renee Miller:
We did a lot of research on the customer who shops at Centinela Feed & Pet and those are the people who really have a direct link to their pet. They spend a lot of their income on their pets. And they want to reward their pets with the best possible food so we felt that if we created a story and did something more a typical that the product would move quickly and would be differentiated self on the Shelf…


4. Determining the strategy

Arek Dvornechuck:
Can you talk us through your process of, you know, determining the strategy and writing a creative brief?

Renee Miller:
Yeah, so when we first sat down with the client he had a vision and he shared with us that the pet, Lotus Pet Food or he, we actually he had when we when we originally sat down with the client, he had a vision for the dry pet food and he had a manufacturer of the pet food he didn’t have a name, he didn’t have, he just had a vision. So what we had to do was we work with the client and basically to come up with the vision for the company and for the pet food.


5. Coming up with a brand name

Renee Miller:
We realize that about 90% of the names for pet foods are already owned by, like I said these 8 to 10 major manufacturers own a lot of the names for the pet food, even if they’re not using them they own them. So we needed to come up with something a name that was different and unique and one of the things that the client told us is that he wanted to do eventually he wanted to market in Asia and the and the word Lotus is, it’s, it means flower and it’s a good luck term in Japanese. And so so that’s how we ended up with Lotus.


6. Reviewing and refining the concepts

Arek Dvornechuck:
How do you evaluate those concepts with the client and make revisions?

Renee Miller:
The art director who came up with the visuals is there, is very talented. She’s got about 30 years in the in the industry and she’d worked on other packaged goods accounts. And so she had a vision after we, you know, we spent a lot of time with the with the president and CEO of the company. So we really got a vision from him of, you know, when we, we showed different styles like what do you, how do you feel about this particular style? You know, I know when you work with a large company, you don’t always have the vision of the owner and you don’t always get the chance to really create your own brand. But with him we were able to say does this feel like this kind of a style could work for this brand once we have the name Lotus?


7. Designing the packaging

Renee Miller:
We wanted the bag, for example, we wanted a special kind of a bag that kept the food flavorful for a little longer. So the so the bag had also special zip lock on it and and then we wanted to make sure that you know, we had different sizes. So each design has to fit the the size of the bag so that had to be once we developed the design and then you have to make do, you know, the mechanicals and make sure that everything is designed to the size of the bag and And you know, so there’s, so there’s it’s a lot of detail work and then developing the story really promoting the fact that this is truly a healthy healthy brand. And in fact these guys, everything is baked it’s all grain free. It’s all natural.


8. Developing all branding elements

Arek Dvornechuck:
You mentioned social media, can you tell us more about that? What are the other graphics that you designed for them?

Renee Miller:
Yes, so in store point-of-sale materials couponing all kinds of promotions. Cuz again remember at the beginning it was just sold in Centinela Feed & Pet and making sure we had a working website of directing a lot of the consumers. They still don’t sell online it’s all in-store because the again the integrity of the company they don’t want to do anything online. They want it all done in store. And so also setting up social making sure we had influencers, followers making sure that all of the people who try the food had good things to say about it.


9. Delivering and launching the new brand

Arek Dvornechuck:
How do you deliver this work? How do you launch? How would, you know, what’s the process of launching the brand?

Renee Miller:
What’s really important with the launch is for people to realize that it’s just not a one-time event, but a launch is a process. So you have to make sure that you have a pre-launch an actual launch and then a post launch. So making sure that there’s enough money for the marketing making sure that you have an audience when you do launch of people who are going to follow the brand and write about the brand and then also especially with social today. You have to have something to say it’s not enough to just say, oh we’re going to have a new brand out there. But what are you saying, what are you saying is different than everybody else? Why is your product, what problem are you trying to solve?


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