How pet owners connect through engagement
IntroJanuary 2019 - December 2022
Enriching and extending the special bond between people and their beloved pets is a passion of Hill’s. Recognised as the world leader in nutritional health care for dogs and cats, they believe in the power of the right food for a long and healthy life. They offer special foods for every situation, from different age groups to specific medical needs, so your pet always gets the best care they deserve.
The Hill’s brand has been backed by science since 1939. Drawing on the knowledge of vets, scientists and nutritionists, they have developed pet foods that can make a real difference to your pet’s life. As a result: Hill’s is one of the most recommended pet food brands by vets. However, this emphasis on science meant that another equally important part of their brand identity was being overshadowed: their love for pets. The company decided that something had to change. To really connect with consumers, it needed to put more emphasis on the loving, emotional side of the brand: without losing sight of the knowledge and science.
Pet owners are also a unique and challenging audience. Many customers buy Hill’s because their pet has a specific medical condition. They are often concerned and emotionally driven. So, when we recruited the team, our main criterion was empathy. How do you reassure an owner whose cat has kidney stones? How do you tell an owner that their pet is overweight? And how do you console an owner who has just lost their dog? With a target group like pet owners, empathy is essential.
Hill’s approached RIFF with this challenge in 2019 – because the best way to communicate the warm, loving qualities of your brand is to speak directly to your consumers. The request? To create an engagement team that interacts with consumers on social media, listens to their pet’s needs and provides them with expert nutritional advice.
The collaboration began with a comprehensive workshop to develop the engagement strategy. The team needed to be able to communicate empathetically with concerned pet owners, potentially facing worrying health issues with their pets. Therefore, the established tone was warm, personal and approachable, whilst remaining knowledgeable, decisive and reliable.
How do you ensure you are offering the right nutritional solution when you have hundreds of food types to choose from for different life stages, needs and conditions? Within weeks, an enthusiastic team of pet lovers was ready to help customers and their four-legged friends. Working closely with Hill’s vets and nutritionists, we found the best solution for each pet. This was a huge responsibility for the team; only by asking the right questions of the customer could Hill’s provide the right nutritional advice.
As well as providing nutritional advice, the team was also responsible for retaining customers through fun and creative engagement. Aftercare also received a lot of attention, with long-term contact and the occasional card or gift.
Working closely with Hill's, we embraced the human side of their brand, sharing not only nutritional advice but also understanding, warmth and support. Together, we strengthened the special relationship between pets and their owners and made the Hill's name shine as a symbol of care and commitment.
Customers were impressed with our commitment. We made sure that any nutritional advice was regularly followed up by the team, so we could be sure that the advice was achieving the desired result. As a result, owners felt supported, and we were able to provide additional advice where necessary. These owners were happy to share their success stories with others, leading to an increase in positive reviews and contributing to Hill’s brand awareness.
We also worked with RIFF’s content team to create a Pet of the Month campaign, in which customers could submit photos of their pets on social media. This campaign resulted in a significant increase in engagement.
Do you have any questions?
Or are you curious about what digital expertise with the right human touch can mean for your organization, customers and results?
Please contact us.