How do you make sure that day-to-day tactics happen, but your business also has an eye on the overarching strategy and opportunities or risks coming down the line? It's a notoriously tricky balance to navigate and a challenge that we are often asked to support our clients with.
As part of our commitment to the pet industry, and to ensure we're at the top of our game with all the latest knowledge and insights to inform our strategic consultancy, we're a proud Associate Member of UK Pet Food. This well-respected trade body (formerly PFMA) is the voice of the UK pet-food industry.
We were recently invited to contribute to UK Pet Food's first Combined Committee Strategy Day, with the aim of uniting members from across the Communication, Technical Review, Veterinary Nutrition, and Sustainability committees to explore the priorities for 2024.
We put our thinking caps on and felt that we could support by giving a presentation at the start of the day to help shape discussions to help them cut out the noise, focus on what's really important and make best use of their resources.
With so much going on in the world of pet food, with everything from planned changes to legislation, to the growing pressures on the industry to be ever-more sustainable, we wanted to help members to feel unified and focused on their key priorities.
This is a challenge that many industries face, not just the pet industry, so we knew we could draw on our experience across many sectors and our CEO Rachel's experience as President of the CIPR (Chartered Institute of Public Relations).
1 — The Importance of one industry voice
In this segment, we introduced the topic by advising that it was important for UK Pet Food to determine the priority areas of thought leadership. We call these the 'soapbox subjects;.
We recommended that the soapbox subjects are most likely to align to the wider strategy and the three pillars:
- Pet nutrition
- Safety & standards
However, given the rapidly changing world we are in, and that the discussion was taking part as part of a Strategy Day, we facilitated discussion from a blank sheet, using PESTEL factors — Political, Economic, Social, Technology, Environmental, Legal.
As a thought-starter activity, we invited the audience to submit topics in each of these areas. On average, in each area we had about 70 suggestions, which generated a word cloud. Some of these topics were similar, but the audience had used slightly different wording. We did a sift of the suggestions to try and group into a tighter range of topics.
2 — Horizon scanning, risks, and reactions
In the afternoon session, we focused on considering issues and risks that UK Pet Food may be asked to engage with, and readiness state to be able to respond.
This is a session which we normally would run across a whole day; so, in the time we had available, we used our short session to kickstart thinking around issues that may present risk to the UK Pet Food industry, discussion about how to prioritise and the management tools that may need to be considered.
We first asked attendees to list issues that may affect the UK pet industry and score them on the grid heat map based on Likelihood and Impact:
In our short session, we generated a list of potential threats and scored them and advised that the organisation have a management plan for any risks over 14 points.
In the short time we had, we recommended that this is treated as an exercise, not a definitive risk assessment.
UK Pet Food was very pleased with the outcome, and we hope to support them on the next stage of their journey.
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