The evolution of consumerism – which crosses all generations and demographics – has been put on warp speed with the transparency, connectedness and power our digital lives have given us. This progress has led us to where we are today: smack in the middle of the Expectation Economy, where the demands for rising quality, positive impact and self-expression converge to present the pet industry (and all other industries serving consumers) with many challenges… but even more opportunities.
Pet brands looking to connect with their consumers must find ways to meet one or more of these expectations – rising quality, positive impact and self-expression – in an authentic and meaningful way. Entrepreneurs, product development teams and marketers must find ways to consistently increase the quality of the products and services they offer. While providing opportunities for customization and automation will go far in carving out a competitive advantage in the crowded pet space. And, to complete the trifecta, companies can gain great loyalty with consumers by having a positive impact in the communities they serve and beyond.
The Expectation for Positive Impact
There is an expectation for today’s companies to have a positive impact on the world. Sustainability – both environmental and social – are consistently increasing in importance across all consumer groups and all product categories. In fact, according to Nielsen in October 2015, 66% of global respondents said they were willing to pay more for products and services that come from companies who are committed to positive social and environmental impact.
Another study by Imperative and LinkedIn showed 85% of companies with a clearly articulated and understood purpose showed positive growth in the past year, while 42% of companies that were not purpose-led showed a drop in revenue.
What Can Your Company Do?
The challenge is that, beyond changing lightbulbs and recycling office paper, many companies don’t understand what sustainability really encompasses and how it could positively impact their bottom line. In wanting to maintain growth at a certain rate, companies need to learn what steps can be taken to improve their social and environmental sustainability.
Strategies could include a reduction in the use of resources; a positive, regenerative impact on ingredient sources; efficiency in processes; giving back to the communities you serve; supporting a related cause; or engaging and supporting employees through purpose-driven work, living wages, work-life balance and more.
If you are curious about where to start in order to meet today’s expectations for a positive impact, head over to the Pet Sustainability Coalition – they will give you an idea of where your business is today, what you can change, and the impact it will have on the sustainability of your business.
Looking for some real world inspiration? Look for the booths at Superzoo participating in the Green Paw Program: Pet Age, Cardinal Pet Care, Fibercore, Planet Dog, Kong, earthbath, Barkworthies, The Company of Animals, Healthy Pet, Mammoth, Fluff & Tuff, Kurgo, West Paw, Himalayan, Earth Animal, Pura Naturals, wholesalepet.com, Kinn, Piscine, molly mutt, Annamaet Pet Foods, WorldWise, In Clover, A Pet with Paws, PAW5, Cool Aid, Zuke’s, CatDancer Productions, I and Love and You, R2P Pet, Health Extension and Polka Dog Bakery.
Each of these companies is a PSC member and has completed an assessment that provides insight into how they can improve their sustainability practices across a wide spectrum of business activities. They are all working towards creating a sustainable future for their companies, employees, communities and industry. They are an inspiring group and each will have a PSC green paw print at the entrance to their booth. See you there!
Wanting more? Find more ideas on how to walk the sustainability walk in your office here.