Rallying People Around Our Relationship with Pets

A thought-lead­er­ship stage on high­er ground

From its inception, the Purina brand has invested in research and innovation to improve the health and wellness of our pets. However, a majority of these efforts and discoveries haven’t been broadly shared with the public — nor within the hallways of Purina itself. Zeus Jones partnered with Purina to develop the “Better With Pets Summit” to reveal their commitment to innovation across all aspects of the pet-person relationship.

Eric Frost
Cre­ative & Found­ing Part­ner, Zeus Jones

Puri­na has always been a remark­able com­pa­ny and has always done remark­able things for the good of pets, espe­cial­ly in their R&D group. But for the major­i­ty of their his­to­ry, they — and the entire pet food cat­e­go­ry — sole­ly cen­tered their com­mu­ni­ca­tions on their prod­uct. It was all kib­bles and claims. 

Rob White
Strate­gist & Found­ing Part­ner, Zeus Jones

One of the things we real­ized was that there wasn’t a clear under­stand­ing of what the com­pa­ny was all about and what they stood for. The mar­ket­ing folks at Puri­na hadn’t real­ly con­nect­ed with the sci­ence and inno­va­tion groups who are mak­ing all sorts of real­ly inter­est­ing things happen.

They have some tru­ly bril­liant pet nutri­tion­ists and behav­ior­ists — all pet lovers them­selves — mak­ing a wealth of life-chang­ing break­throughs and their own peo­ple just didn’t know.

The more we got to know the amaz­ing things that were hap­pen­ing inside the com­pa­ny, the more we want­ed to bring that out and actu­al­ly cre­ate a stage for it.

Sarah Lansky
Pro­duc­er, Zeus Jones

This real­iza­tion was the foun­da­tion for our Bet­ter With Pets Sum­mit. But we didn’t want to lim­it our speak­ers to only Puri­na experts. We rolled up our sleeves and assem­bled a diverse pool of voic­es, from out­side the com­pa­ny as well as from with­in. From Judy Finnegan who oper­ates the Pup­pies for Parole pro­gram in Mis­souri to Dr. Mar­ty Beck­er of Good Morn­ing Amer­i­ca fame to Dr. Bri­an Hare, founder of Dognition…the list goes on and on. 

Patricia Erb
Direc­tor of mar­ket­ing, Nestlé/​Purina

We were putting our­selves on dis­play” for all to see, some­thing that Puri­na has his­tor­i­cal­ly been hes­i­tant to do. Because of this, upper man­age­ment need­ed to see and share the vision. And they did.

“It was a risk. But it was also a tangible and innovative way to showcase the expertise and integrity of the company.”

Patricia Erb

The first year we cre­at­ed an event where we cen­tered our atten­tion on cap­tur­ing dig­i­tal video con­tent — the talks and per­for­mances — for audi­ences to engage with. The event took place in Man­hat­tan, and the con­tent was filmed and dis­trib­uted imme­di­ate­ly after. 

But what we didn’t expect was the stel­lar reac­tion from Puri­na employ­ees in atten­dance. They were total­ly inspired and excit­ed in ways that we hadn’t ful­ly anticipated.

Jason Zabel
Cre­ative, Zeus Jones

We also cap­tured tes­ti­mo­ni­als from peo­ple out­side Puri­na who said that it com­plete­ly changed their point of view on the com­pa­ny. It helped them bet­ter under­stand Puri­na and see their exper­tise in a com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent light.

Peter Petrulo
Design­er & Part­ner, Zeus Jones

So the sec­ond year our theme was inno­va­tion and we had a range of influ­encers, researchers and tin­ker­ers on the stage. Every­one from a 13-year-old inven­tor who was look­ing for ways to help ease her pet sep­a­ra­tion anx­i­ety to a rock­et sci­en­tist who some­how fell into 3D print­ing pros­thet­ics for limb­less dogs.

And then in year three, we changed the for­mat and shape of the event a bit. The theme was emo­tion­al well­ness — and how our rela­tion­ship with pets helps both pets and peo­ple. We used expe­ri­en­tial com­po­nents fea­tur­ing four or five dif­fer­ent tent-pole top­ics and cre­at­ed these amaz­ing inter­ac­tive exhibits that real­ly brought them to life in com­pelling ways. 

The impact of our sum­mit exe­cu­tions still lives on today at Puri­na. We forged a num­ber of con­nec­tions that didn’t just stop after the sum­mit. They con­tin­ue to devel­op today and are a huge fac­tor in how the brand acts, walks and talks with every one of its audiences.

Patricia Erb

Inter­nal­ly, it elicit­ed a great deal of pride across the entire com­pa­ny. Exter­nal part­ners were incred­u­lous that Puri­na would spend the time and mon­ey to spon­sor such an event and not include a major prod­uct sell. It rein­forced the company’s com­mit­ment to the body, heart and soul of pet care and pro­vid­ed a giant first step to rein­forc­ing Puri­na as the voice of the category.