While there’s no let-up in our workload, we’re now better equipped to deal with demand from the sales team and our multiple distribution channels.
We’re working more efficiently, no longer wasting time and when it comes to brand consistency we have the peace of mind that everything’s 100% correct. Perhaps the most significant difference is that we’re now in control and that’s a good place to be.
Brand management solutions for evolving markets
Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise – pet food is big business. With global sales of around £70b, this trend is reflected in the UK where the figure topped £3b in 2019 and indicators suggest this is set to grow.
While the market is dominated in financial terms by the ‘big three’, many of the key innovations shaping the industry are being driven by smaller operators. Step forward, Natures Menu.
Perhaps the most significant change in the market relates to diet and nutrition. Today’s pet owners are a conscientious bunch and take their responsibilities seriously. Animal welfare is top of their agenda and this has seen a surge in sales of raw, natural and premium pet foods. Natures Menu is at the forefront of the pet humanization revolution, offering an unrivalled range of brands designed for a healthy, balanced diet.
Brand investment opens the door to business growth
With ambitious plans to double turnover in five years, Natures Menu recognized that improvements in current brand processes and marketing were required to help achieve their growth plans.
Previously, it relied on a cloud-based file hosting service to store rich media such as video and photography, however additional investment allowed the client to step up and build a fully integrated digital home for each brand.
There was a lot at stake. The company has customers in 26 countries and over 2,000 distribution points in the UK alone, including hypermarkets and independent pet shops. Selling D2C and B2B through online and offline retailers, demand for up-to-date brand collateral is constant, a task made more difficult by the fact that Natures Menu products were now available from the evolving Affinity pet food portfolio.
Multi-level access control
Platform access is controlled by multi-level user permissions and as there’s no internal IT support available, we’ve made sure the HUBS are self-service, easy to use and designed with ‘non-techies’ in mind.
Digital solutions to streamline branding processes and improve efficiency
Our primary goal was to make it easier for Natures Menu to manage its multi-brand portfolio.
We wanted to create an immersive brand experience, so our starting point was to build an exclusive HUB for each brand. From the outset, this created a structure that made accessibility easy and allowed each brand to find its voice and establish a defining point of difference. Everything is designed to help users find what they need quickly. A single access point and a multi-brand selector function make navigation simple and intuitive. Each HUB is structured identically and content is categorized clearly and titled – again, a single system is adopted across all the HUBS to avoid confusion. And of course, they include beautifully designed guidelines which set the standard for everyone to follow and control the look and feel of each brand.
For multi-brand businesses, there needs to be simplicity and a structure that everyone understands.
Natures Menu customers enjoy outstanding choice. Each premium brand offers products for dogs and cats, exclusive raw diet options, wet and dry food varieties sold in cans and pouches and a wide range of different ingredient types to tempt even the fussiest of pets. And that was our digital asset management challenge – to help users find what they need with the minimum of effort from the wealth of material available. Everything was designed to make accessibility easy, using customized metadata and a single category search system to simplify the process. Relevant assets for each brand, product and food type are now stored, organized, managed and shared effortlessly by the marketing team and external stakeholders.
Natures Menu is Europe’s largest raw pet food producer, employing over 200 staff. In 2017 it opened the doors of its new £12m, 11,000sq purpose-built factory in Snetterton, Norfolk and the following year saw turnover grow to £34m. There’s a Spanish connection too – in 2016 the company entered into a joint-venture with Barcelona-based Affinity Petcare, which became a full acquisition of the Natures Menu business in early 2020. It’s been quite a journey for a business that started life as a small family firm back in 1981 and is now looking to the future with increased confidence.