Using instant communities to get to the heart of online behaviour for a global pet-food manufacturer


The blurring of the digital with the retail environment has resulted in multiple consumer types taking multiple routes to purchase. Our client needed to better understand dog/cat food consumers’ decision making along the path to purchase and identify more precisely the influential offline and online touchpoints they encounter along the way.

What we did:

We designed this study in 4 phases:

1. Passive metering (n=200)
2. Quant survey (n=1000)
3. Community (discussion boards, idea exchange) 1 week, n=80 (survey participants)
4. Workshop

The community allowed us to conduct ‘deep dive’ investigation into the areas of interest identified by the quant survey, going beyond descriptive information and understanding motivations.

Key insight:

The community ‘deep dives’ identified that online sources are widely used by pet owners to learn about the nutritional value of the relevant brand set, with neutral sources such as Amazon more trusted than manufacturers’ websites. Well-known brands, a high price and the proportion of meat are signs of high quality. Consumers use Google to find the right product and the best deal, with breed, life stage and health issues as the critical triggers for searches.


Based on the findings, our client implemented action plans related to digital activation (e.g. smart management of ratings & reviews on brand website, important not to keep only the positive ones) and also other traditional touchpoints (e.g. maintain investments on TV ads).


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