Glenn Polyn//March 1, 2023//
Glenn Polyn //March 1, 2023//
Pet supplement maker Native Pet has a simple brand strategy: invent functional foods that add targeted nutrition to a pet’s daily routine with effective results, clean ingredients and great taste.
Founded in 2017, the company makes natural, highly effective, limited-ingredient pet supplements using whole food and superfood ingredients. Pet Age recently spoke with Native Pet co-founder Daniel Schaefer to find out how the brand is positioning itself to be the authority on pet nutrition for a new generation.
How has the recent rebranding of Native Pet enabled it to continue to evolve?
At Native Pet, we’ve always focused on the consumer. It seems simple, but it is central to what has set us apart in the supplements category. We really study our consumers. Our research told us that pet parents were hungry for the next generation of products. They wanted supplements that were incredibly efficacious but felt more like food. Seems simple – but it absolutely wasn’t. It was an incredible innovation challenge.
After 2-plus years of R&D and a whole lot of grassroots marketing, we have the most differentiated products in the category and a brand that is starting to break through. You can see it when you study our products. The supplement space – as a whole – is commoditized, crowded and confusing. At Native Pet, that consumer focus has become our ethos. It has led us down a different path than all the other brands in this category. Differentiated products that are effective, clean label and taste like food. This rebrand tells that story.
What makes Native Pet different from other brands in the pet supplement sector?
We’ve built a company that is fundamentally different than our competition. “Differentiation” means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. Broadly, companies in this space have largely focused on “storytelling” to differentiate. In other words, they sell a white labeled product from co-manufacturers and then attempt to stand out by telling a different story. At Native Pet, we believe differentiation is more than just storytelling. We do everything differently. Product. Packaging. Content. Distribution.
We believe, however, that product differentiation is our foundation. The majority of supplements brands are selling commodity soft-chew supplements. Many of them are coming from the same manufacturer. We took a different, harder path. We decided to design our products from scratch. The whole journey started in my kitchen mixing ingredients. From start to finish, that process took 2-plus years. The end result made it worth it. We have a unique product, customers love it, and we own all of our formulas outright.
Why should retailers and consumers be confident that your products work?
Efficacy is the most important attribute in the category. If the product doesn’t work – no matter how great the brand is – the customer isn’t repurchasing it. They’d rather buy efficacious products in plain packaging,
As such, we’ve invested a ton of time, energy and resources into category-leading efficacy. First, we heavily research all the active ingredients in our products. Our standard is high, and we like to see evidence in peer-reviewed clinical studies. We have a board-certified vet nutritionist who reviews all the research and our formulas. Second, we extensively test our products to ensure the active ingredients survive manufacturing. Active ingredients are sensitive by nature. You need to have the right process and format for the right ingredients to guarantee efficacy. Our team ensures the actives haven’t lost any potency when they reach the customer. Third, you can see the results in our reviews and repeat rates. We are one of the highest-rated supplement brands on all major platforms. We also have data showing we have category-high repeat rates on our products. Ultimately, consumers rely on the voice of the customer to verify results. Our customers have spoken passionately that our products have made an impact in their pet’s life.
Can you describe how you educate pet parents and create brand awareness?
We believe that most pet parents are intrinsically motivated to want to do right by their pet. There is no “playbook” on how to properly care for and raise your pet – particularly when it comes to nutrition. Dietary best practice is not information that is readily available to most pet parents, even from annual vet visits. As such, where do consumers turn when they are looking for answers? They turn to their experiences, their peers, and most frequently – the internet. As such, we believe we can influence and inform through all three of these channels.
First, we need to make sure our consumer always has a positive experience. That means packaging and instructions need to be clear. Products need to exceed all quality standards, and most importantly, products need to work. Second, if our consumers have a great experience, they will share it with their network. That creates word-of-mouth education that is difficult to manufacture. Winning those customers is important. Third, we need to produce media that educates, entertains, and informs. Our consumers are hungry for content & information. We deliver it across a variety of channels and mediums. We produce long-form content in the form of YouTube videos and blogs. We produce bite-sized short-form content on our social channels. With this content, we educate consumers on all things pet parenting related.