Taking pet food ‘paw’fection to the next level with Signature
In conversation with Mitu Paul- Business Head, Signature Pet Foods on how the brand came into existence and is taking the Indian pet industry by storm with their exceptional work and amazing quality products.
Kibble with a Story: The Epic Journey of Signature Pet Nutrition
Signature is a special project and aims at becoming the one stop solution for pet parents. It has been noted that over the years pet parents and dealers have always epitomized towards western or international brands. But it is time we change this ideology and start taking ‘Make in India’ in pet industry to the next level. India is a dense consumer base and we want our products to be focused as per the Indian market. We have taken the expertise from Indian Broiler Group which has been in the business of animal nutrition for over three decades. So, taking quality raw materials and technical know-how from them we moved ahead in forming Signature as a premium quality pet food brand in India.
An edge from our competitors
At Signature we always believe that premium is synonymous with only quality and not price. We understand that the premium pet food segment cannot just belong to international entities. It is now time that an Indian brand like Signature which offers top-notch quality to be a major player of this section, keeping in mind that price is a major factor to be considered. We have the advantage of local production, thereby giving more shelf time to our product. Pet parents can easily buy out products from their nearby store and they don’t need to hoard or store pet food, like in the case of international brands. Also, since we have a local production, costs come down as we don’t charge import duties to our customers.
We believe our four pillars of strength are – high quality raw materials, availability that is ensured, effective prices, and no compromise in nutrition. What more can a pet parent ask for?
Together we want to achieve bigger milestones
In one year, the team has reached a milestone of 3.03 crores net monthly sales which is a big thing for all of us and we take great pride in it. I would want to attribute it to a strong vision, strategic execution, and a dedicated team that worked really hard. We had our share of ups and downs, but we supported each other to conquer this win.
Our biggest asset has been our sales force. They were very decisive about who we want to represent. Next, we worked on selective zones and counters and assessed where the gaps were from our competition and we tried to fill those gaps with our expertise. Ample sampling and visibility were also two driving forces. But all this could work only because we had a hero product with us. Whether it is nutrition, satiability, or taste, our pet food is quality par excellence. Repeat purchase by customers is also a highlight we want to emphasize on.
Crossing challenges with courage
Initially we faced a lot of acceptance issues. Drools, our mother brand is a brand that is well established and is known by pet parents. But Signature was a new entry into the market and to make our position in the beginning and create an identity outside of Drools was quite a challenge. It was a mindset that if it is an Indian brand then the pricing should be economical.
Since we were a small team when we started out so, reach was another challenge that we faced. Our product is a generic food product and does nor cater to specific needs, so it could be easily replaced by any popular brand.
But we got lucky that we had immensely talented and dedicated distribution partners. Our channel partners also came in and helped us popularize the brand to make it a familiar name in the industry. Marketing activities were also of great help to overcome the challenges along the way!
Brand alchemy: crafting the vision for the next 5 years
We need to understand that India is a growing market for pet food and we want to be a driving force to this. A lot of pet population is yet to accept packaged pet food as their daily food as compared to home cooked meals. So, the potential of growth for Signature is massive. We are strongly aligned to customer support and want to continue this good practice for the brand. We want to increase our visibility activities and increase the support provided to our channel partners for constant growth to reach a three-figure monthly sale.
Signature truly aspires to become every pet parent’s go to brand. We are focusing on creating pet parent interaction programs, engagement with vets, education workshops on ethical breeding, setting up sampling kiosks at major locations etc.
Rooting for our retailers and partners
It is time to openly show our appreciation to our channel partners and felicitate them for the wonderful work they have done over the past year and helped us reach the 3.03 crore milestone. We also take this opportunity to address key members of our expansion plan and their valuable feedback for our betterment and growth.
Vouching for vets one step at a time!
Vets are the most important pillar of strength of the pet industry. They dedicate their entire life for the health and wellbeing of your pets and it is time that brands take their expertise and opinions into consideration. This thought is cultivated in our mother brand Drools as well. At Signature we plan to have an extensive vet line in the near future that caters to special needs and medical issues of pets.
Crossing boundaries to succeed
We have already started working with our international business team and have taken the guidance from Drools since they are exporting to 18 countries. But today the primary focus on expanding in domestic grounds and targeting tier 2 and tier 3 cities in India.
Signature stands for sustainability
With an increasing number of households embracing pets as their cherished family members we need to take certain things into consideration to ensure prosperity of the entire market. With such fast growth comes great responsibility. We must be committed to sustainability and ethical practices to safeguard our environment.
The industry must recognize and address its ecological impact. So responsible sources, eco-friendly packaging, sustainable manufacturing are some essential steps. There needs to be certain guidelines that need to be set so that the entire industry can adhere to them. And also take into consideration the wellbeing of our workers as they are the backbone of our manufacturing units.
We all need to move together on the path of growth so that we can all succeed and at the same time think of overall wellbeing of pets and take care of Mother Earth as well with our ethical and environmentally friendly practices.