Petcurean and CIL Paints go mobile

The two Canadian brands have developed mobile recommendation apps to help customers build affinity with their brands.

Petcurean Pet Nutrition and CIL Paints have made their moves into the mobile space, with two different apps featuring two different functionalities, but both with the same goal: making it easier for customers to purchase their products.

Abbotsford, BC-based Petcurean recently incorporated QR codes into its packaging, leading customers to its app, which recommends the proper food for their pets based on a series of questions.

Jamie Turkington, marketing manager, Petcurean Pet Nutrition, says the company hopes the move to mobile will prove to be a selling point for its brands of pet food Go and Now. They’re most often sold by small, specialty retailers that don’t necessarily have the staff to guide customers in making their purchase decisions.

“We wanted our product to be a silent seller on the shelf and to provide an activation opportunity,” says Turkington. “If the consumer was confused about which product was right for their pet they could be driven to a mobile app that pointed out the right product. Our philosophy really is that we’ll help you find the pet food that’s right for your pet even if it isn’t our own. So, it’s building off of that value proposition and providing a service to that customer that’s standing in front of the merchandise and is really confused about what the right product is for their pet.”

Jason Dubroy, VP shopper marketing, DDB Canada, says that authenticity is the key antidote to consumer skepticism. “Branded universal recommendation apps are great for two reasons: it helps build the category in an unbiased way, which is great from an overall perspective, and allows for elements of branding that will help shape affinity anyway,” he says. “‘Brought to you by’ messaging is prevalent in mass communication. This is just the next transposition of the phrase.”

The incorporation of the QR codes on Petcurean packaging is part of an overarching brand overhaul that’s been executed for the company by Vancouver-based Subplot design. Shelf-talkers drive customers’ attention to the QR codes, which are located on the side gusset of each bag of food.

“We identified that our packaging was missing an opportunity to really talk about the unique selling features of our brands,” says Turkington.

She adds that mobile, as well as social (Petcurean just started tweeting) and online in general, will continue to play a significant role going forward.

Concord, ON-based CIL Paints is another Canadian company that’s moving its brand into the mobile space to bolster its shopper marketing efforts. It launched the CIL Colour Studio app for the iPhone to help Canadians capture colours that catch their eye so they can be duplicated in their homes. All they have to do is point their iPhone at an object or image, click, and then a replica of the colour appears on the screen. The app will then identify the corresponding paint colour from the CIL Paints collection and even suggests a series of potential colour schemes to go with it. Next, users are given guidance on the amount of paint needed, product suggestions and the ability to access how-to vids.

The app is a new direction for the company, says Alison Goldman, marketing communication manager, CIL Paints, and they plan on continuing to build out.

“This closely fits with our strategy of leveraging social media to gain market share among younger consumers,” she says. “Digital tools are just a part of our colour tool box, but one which promises to grow and evolve, and we’re excited to be a part of that evolution. For customers, especially our ‘help me find my style’ market, this is a tool that can be a real help, providing colour advice and even helping find the nearest store to purchase product.”

The app is available for free from Apple’s App Store, for use with the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, and works on any object.

“The CIL app is interesting because it simplifies the purchase path – taking paint schemes in situation and providing you with the right colour to match,” says Dubroy. “They are taking ownership of the subjective ‘just the right shade’ position, when clearly there will be other paints in the store that will match it (or come very close). They are counting on the speed and ease of the solution to drive the shopper right through to the end of the transaction, which I think is very smart for them.”

He adds that when comparing the openness of the Petcurean app to the non-universal nature of the CIL app it comes down to a matter of consumer and shopper behaviour in terms of what content is most appropriate and will be developed.

“Apps specifically designed for awareness and affinity work great because they associate with an immediate need,” says Dubroy. “Comparison apps, on the other hand, deal specifically with different decision centres during the path to purchase: emotional, rational and functional. Most shoppers will see right through the shilling of a recommendation based on a sponsorship, however forging a bond with a brand can begin with the service it provides, and not just the product it sells.”