Paragon Pet Products is a Holland-based manufacturer of natural, premium dog chews. The company’s products were white-labeled for some of the world’s top store and private label brands and distributed in more than 45 countries around the world. In 2012, Paragon sought to create its own brand of top-quality chews for dogs to shift its revenue strategy and grow its global footprint. However, the company faced a few significant challenges. First, Paragon’s success in the private label business limited its external brand awareness. Second, the pet food industry and pet treat marketplace is crowded, and it planned to sell to customers with high expectations: pet “parents.”
Paragon created the WHIMZEES brand (www.whimzees.com) to market and sell vegetarian chews in fun and fanciful shapes such as alligators and hedgehogs. The specialty treats made with limited ingredients help support dogs’ overall dental health. Despite these product attributes and benefits, Paragon realized that creating its own WHIMZEES brand and selling directly still required a different packaging approach to stand out on retailer shelves.
INVENTIVE PACKAGING AND CO-BRANDING
Paragon recognized it need a packaging solution that would instantly communicate the premium nature of the product and convey the same level of excellence the company championed. Apart from being more appealing, the packaging also had to improve the customer experience, which is why it decided to use a VELCRO Brand PRESS-LOK closure and include the corresponding VELCRO Brand trademark on the back of the package.
The VELCRO Brand PRESS-LOK closure system (www.velcro.com) is a proprietary hook-to-hook technology. The closure system offers easy alignment that allows customers to quickly and securely fasten the bag without precise line-up and secures the package with great burst resistance.
After two years of marketing the product with the revised packaging, Paragon realized that the PRESS-LOK closure and the VELCRO Brand trademark were truly unique selling points and a real value-added differentiator. The company decided it could fully leverage this selling point by moving the trademark from the back of the package to the front. Now, the well-known VELCRO Brand trademark and the PRESS-LOK logo are highly visible on the pouch, an asset that the Paragon team uses to successfully expand sales and distribution of the products.
Paragon credits the new packaging with its successful growth in the crowded pet food space — the differentiated look and feel reflect the product’s high quality. Paragon saw the WHIMZEES brand experience double-digit, year-after-year growth, and the positive impact the new packaging had on WHIMZEES’s bottom line resulted from two primary attributes.
First, because of its flat surface, the WHIMZEES package has excellent shelf stability and superior cube utilization. The pouches can fit tightly on the shelf to maximize space.
Second, the prominence of the VELCRO Brand mark on the packaging is both an immediate differentiator and a signal to consumers that there is an extra layer of excellence associated with the product. VELCRO Brand is known around the globe for its closure solutions, and the name is synonymous with ease-of-use and convenience.
Paragon’s WHIMZEES now have full coverage in the specialty pet market across North America. The visual and practical appeal of the packaging helped the company sell into all well-known top pet superstores. In North America alone, WHIMZEES’s “valuebags” make up a considerable amount of total product sales, showcasing that the brand has established a strong customer base.
“The use of the VELCRO Brand trademark within our valuebags has been an important asset to our brand in many ways,” says Lion Houkes, global director of marketing, Paragon Pet Products. “Applying this closure aligns with our brand philosophy of making our product use a positive experience for pet parents: The PRESS-LOK closure helps keep the products fresh and allows for easy opening and closing. Additionally, dogs learn very quickly after hearing that notable VELCRO Brand fastener sound that they will be getting their daily WHIMZEES. The ensuing tail-wagging makes pet parents feel good. They can rest assured they are giving their pet friends a healthy, functional chew — plus the dogs absolutely love the product.”
Thanks to excellent products and superior packaging, WHIMZEES has been a resounding success in this pet treat space.