Pet Business: In early 2010, PBI/Gordon Corporation acquired the Lambert Kay line from Church & Dwight Co. What attracted PBI/Gordon to the Lambert Kay brand? How has the transition gone?
Rick Blomquist: The acquisition of the Lambert Kay line in 2010 was driven by PBI/Gordon’s strategy to strengthen its presence in the consumer pet care marketplace. With the Lambert Kay range in place, the company now participates within key product categories such as grooming, household clean-up and odor control, as well as pet health care. These new categories complement the company’s existing animal health product lines.
When PBI/Gordon considered the business, among the drivers for acquiring the brand were finding that Lambert Kay has a long and successful history within the trade as a provider of quality products and [the fact that] its Fresh ’n Clean grooming and household product branding enjoys strong consumer awareness and loyalty.
Integrating the line, driving quality and now building an experienced consumer animal products team to move the business forward have been important initiatives and investments that the company has been focused on since making the acquisition. The business is now poised for growth through expansion of product offerings within our key categories, strategic development of our distribution partnerships and aggressive branding and product pull-through initiatives going forward.
PB: Earlier this year, PBI/Gordon announced a re-branding project to combine the company’s consumer animal products under the Lambert Kay umbrella. What are some of the facets of this re-branding?
Blomquist: The re-branding project extends across the company’s entire line of grooming, household and health care products. We recently underwent a competitive audit to analyze competitor sets and gather relevant data, including new product development trends, packaging, price points, product sizes, category trends, label designs, product colors, branding hierarchies, claims and selling propositions.
We also gathered opinions from end-users, our customers and prospective customers to gain a better understanding of what types of issues they felt the line had and how we could go about solving them to make the products stand out on the shelf and better communicate their selling points. We are also considering new product names, adding additional options to our signature long-lasting scents, and coming up with exciting new product solutions for pet parents within each category.
PB: Can you discuss some of the major elements of the packaging make-over?
Blomquist: The new packaging organizes and aligns the products within each category for stronger impact. It elevates Lambert Kay as the company brand to support each of our better-known driver brands. The shared cues and elements between category designs promote cross-category recognition and trial. We are working on ways to organize product points and better communicate benefits.
The new packaging makes it easier for customers to decide which product is right for them and help retailers to sell more Lambert Kay product. Pets are a part of the family, and choosing the right product is an emotional decision. Attractive label designs and packaging makes owners feel good about the money they spend on their pets.
PB: What can retailers expect from the Lambert Kay brand moving forward?
Blomquist: The Lambert Kay brand has been a popular choice for groomers for years. When pet parents discover they are also available in retail sizes and can use them at home, they are delighted with the consistently high quality, results and value. Moving forward, we will focus on building shopper awareness of Lambert Kay at the retail level to enhance discovery in the shopping experience. We’d like to position the product line in an easy way, so when consumers buy a product and take it home and try it, they want to come back and try a complementary product. This is particularly important to the pet specialty channel comprised of destination retailers who need to bring new shoppers into stores and increase their average ticket sales among current store loyal shoppers.