Are healthy dog treats a dirty little secret, or your cognitive dissonance?
As an industry grows there are many societal factors at work impacting on the take up of the core products. People that take up a product or service early are called innovators, early adoptors, or trend setters. These people regularly are the first to pick up new trends, and in a very immature industry can pay a large premium in doing so.
You see I learned all of this and about the ‘bass model of diffusion‘ when I was studying business years ago in Canberra. A lot of these words will mean little to most people, however I am going somewhere with this. The model provides a predictive model of demand forecasting for a product or service (although mostly to do with new consumer durable products).
While these consumer behaviour models are built to predict how fast consumers will take up a trend, they often don’t take into account the specific irrational reasons why a ‘trend’ isn’t taken up or supported. Lets look at how people feel towards healthy dog treats …
The reason that I am referring to healthy dog treats as a trend is that it is seen as an innovation and something completely separate from dog food. Commercial Dog food is mainly grain based and dressed to look expensive and match the price you pay for it, but its an ‘essential item’ or something that gets fed to a dog every day.
Healthy dog treats (not grain based, rawhide based etc) are experiencing a growth spurt globally, spurred on by people’s interest in organic and ‘appropriate’ food for their species. People are beginning to come around the fact that domestic dogs are evolved from carnivores and remain 90% carnivores, and the only way to easily get meat into their system, regularly is with healthy meat based dog treats.
But here is the ‘barrier to entry’ – people’s perception of what other people think of them.
While I am sure that a lot of people who purchase healthy dog treats are satisfied with their purchase (service and product) – the issue remains that when a ‘thing’ is not widespread, (mention a lot in traditional media etc), that people can remain reticent to talk about it.
While buying healthy dog treats is a legitimate way of profoundly increasing a dog’s health, vets often don’t recommend it, because they often don’t sell meat based dog treats. And if they do, they are usually at an astronomical price.
Healthy dog treats as ‘ a dirty little secret’
Unless everyone is doing it, unless there is social support or group support for an idea or a practice, many people feel uncomfortable taking a new action, even one that they know will provide positive outcomes. ‘Group think’ goes a long way to suppress new activities keeping the status quo and conservatism – because ‘nobody likes change’.
That is how some people feel about buying healthy dog treats like they are buying voodoo medicine. Like meat, the original dog food should be taboo and if they mention it to other people they fear people will make them feel silly. Like they wasted their money. Ironic of course that people will spend any amount of money on a bag of grain called dog food, but if vets photo is on it, but that wasted money feels legitimate.
Healthy dog treats resolving cognitive dissonance
This of course is the other way that a healthy dog treat purchase can go. Rather than having doubt and shame, it is much more empowering to back your own decision, to own it, and broadcast it to your friends and your community.
Cognitive dissonance is the tendency of people to seek consistency among their actions and opinions. Dissonance is the mental conflict some people experience when they don’t think their friends will understand their actions, so the theory suggests people have this inner tension to do something to reduce the mental conflict or dissonance.
The best way is either to stop buying HEALTHY treats ( a loss for your dog) or to let others know so you aren’t keeping these concerns in your head. Let people know that you are proudly taking actions to benefit your dog, because you love them, and THEIR health is one of the best results of your love.
By the way, in the bass model of diffusion (a marketing model to explain product acceptance and sales) – the term coefficient of innovation (external influence) is the letter in the above equation (p) that represents the likelihood that someone will start using ‘dog treats’ because of mass media coverage.
The term coefficient of imitation (internal influence) is the letter in the above equation (q) that represents the likelihood that someone will begin using a product (healthy dog treats) because of ‘word of mouth’ or other influence from those already using the product.
So at the end of the day you have to ask yourself: are you an innovator and leader, or a follower? If you are buying healthy dog treats from us, you are clearly an informed innovator, improving your dog’s health. You can assist the diffusion of our product by your ‘word of mouth’ between you, your peers and community…
We thank you in advance!