Posts Tagged ‘Simplification’

In the Headlines…

Obama takes Bo along for holiday shopping photo op at PetSmart

Obama’s approval ratings rebound to highest since summer

Coincidence?

Or, is it the halo effect of America’s love affair with its dogs (and cats)?  Of course, there are other reasons the President’s ratings could be up – the payroll tax extension or hints of general economic upticks.  But Bo as secret weapon can’t be overestimated. George W. Bush knew this. He had Barney. Bill Clinton, of course, had the entertainingly undisciplined Buddy.

Maybe the current Republican field’s lack of a consistent frontrunner can be attributed to the other element it’s missing: the presence of a humanizing, beloved dog alongside any of the contenders.

President Obama’s visit to PetSmart resonated for another reason: PetSmart is one business that’s been somewhat immune from the economic downturn. “We have a business model we call resilient. It’s not really recession-proof,” CEO Robert Moran says. “Pets are members of the family. Pet parents really haven’t traded down all that much.” (CNBC)

With 63% of all households in the US having a resident pet – about 78 million dogs and 85 million cats – the animal-loving constituency is huge.  DYG focus groups around the country underscore the emotions behind the numbers: pets are a rewarding part of family life, often described as another child, bringing profound but simple joy with fewer complications than human children. (Sources: AVMA, APPA, DYG)

A recent USA Today story confirmed the numbers behind the feelings:

. 81% of pet household adults regard their pets as full members of the family.

. 58% call themselves their pets’ “mommy” or “daddy.”

. 77% buys pets birthday gifts.

 Demographics are contributing to the ubiquity of pets as family. It’s “especially pervasive among empty nesters, singles and/or childless,” says psychologist Julia Becker (who, by the way, finds the familial bond with pets quite healthy). Since Americans are living longer, marrying less, and having fewer children, the focus on pets increases along with its natural constituencies. (USA Today)

 The trend toward increasing pet-centricity follows America’s shift from a life of riches to what we call “the richer life.”

 58% of Americans say “increasingly I’m taking action to simplify my life and focus only on what is really important to me.”  (DYG SCAN® 2011)

As Americans edit their lives to focus on what matters, dogs and cats are firmly entrenched as central to the storyline.

Business Implications: In our slow-mo economy, the confluence of demographics, economics and values has created a wave of growth in all things pet-related. The key for marketers in both product innovation and messaging is internalizing America’s closely held belief that our dogs and cats are family, who go where we go and do what we do. Brands that “get it” and help facilitate that family bond become the animal loving consumer’s “sure thing” …and maybe even secure a spot as a beloved brand.

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