The all-expenses paid trip was part of their second Paw Print Blogger Summit where they invite a handful of influential pet bloggers and writers to their Knoxville, Tenn. facility, give them a tour, introduce them to the brand and get to know them on a more personal level.
This isn’t the first one of these types of trips I’ve been lucky enough to be on. While already common in other industries, it’s starting to become more popular in ours, as companies start warming up to the idea of opening their doors to these folks.
And, the reason goes beyond marketing.
It’s about developing a relationship with the brand, and creating an experience.
While the Paw Print Blogger Summit is a great marketing tool, it also gives the company a chance to open its doors to the people who not only use their products, but also to influencers who pet consumers listen to, and respect. You can read more about that part of the event in the December issue of Pet Age.
I was very impressed with the access we were given. Our tour included all the on-site facilities, one-on-one interactions with brand category mangers, Randy Boyd himself and even a sneak peek at some of the new products the company is working on.
They also arranges a special tour of the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine to learn about all the advancements and research they are doing to help pets live a healthier life, and also a behind-the-scenes tour of their neighbors, Scripps Networks. There we heard about how designers use products like those from PetSafe, to make houses more pet friendly when they are decorating them.
But, there is always another aspect to these trips when done correctly – networking. Rarely do bloggers, writers, journalists and pet influencers have the chance to spend a few days together immersed in a subject they love.
It’s one of the best parts of these trips – being surrounded by other who have the same passion for the industry you do, and learning together about innovations that, if you are a pet owner, will help your pal, or if you cover the industry, will help move it forward.
It also creates lasting memories. For example, the last night we were there, the group got together for some famous Tennessee food, live music and a bonfire on a sprawling house in the mountains. It was not only a great experience, but one that allowed everyone, including those employees from PetSafe who attended to inteact on a less professional level, have fun and get to know each other as friends.
In other words, relationship building at it’s best.