Thinking outside the litter box (Feline Pine case study)

The Challenge

Five years ago, Feline Pine, an all-natural cat litter, approached us because they were tired of living in the shadow of the category’s leading brands. After years of strong growth driven by distribution gains, they were suddenly stagnating; constantly jostling for shelf space and trying to compete through a small television budget with giants like Clorox and Purina. They needed fresh thinking.

Success

Brand repositioning has made Feline Pine the best-selling natural cat litter in the country. Unaided awareness has more than tripled, brand distribution is at an all-time high and Feline Pine Scoop® has grown 139 percent in the past 12 months alone. In a flat $1.6 billion litter category, that kind of growth is huge.

How We Got There

We took Feline Pine back to the drawing board by getting to the nitty-gritty of what motivates cat people. Insights revealed that the concerns of cat lovers go beyond what you might expect and that their needs were more emotional than product-based. Being “green” wasn’t a sufficient reason to switch for most consumers. Going after all cat owners was a waste of time.

In stages, we moved the conversation from “green” to a broader health platform that tapped into ideas such as an in-house vet, partnerships with the leading pet retailer in the country, and ongoing outreach to veterinarians. Advertising moved from “do it for the planet” to “do it for your cat”. Then we dug deeper. Cat people talk about cats, to their cats and among other like-minded cat people. Here was an opportunity to utilize the brand’s autonomy to be more fearless than the behemoth competition brands that marketed themselves more like household chemicals. Here was the opportunity to redefine the category and capture cat lovers’ hearts.

Check out Feline Pine today: Aside from witnessing a brand that constantly shows that they “get you”, you’ll discover that they’re at the center of a quirky, fun-loving, nation-wide, cat-loving community. Feline Pine has moved beyond product to a brand that has the right to engage in conversations. They attract new advocates in hoards via word of mouth, the internet, social media, imaginative direct marketing and cat-centric print ad campaigns, including newsworthy guerilla tactics. (See our Cats Against Clay case study.) In fact, Feline Pine has more Facebook fans today than any other litter, as well as the largest pet chains.

Kylie Hughes wrote the case studies for Concentric Marketing’s website re-launch in October 2010. Concentric Marketing is a niche, full-service branding agency located in Charlotte, North Carolina. Check it out at: http://www.getconcentric.com/portfolio/feline#success-stories
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