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Taking Command Of Your Pet Business Brand – Pets+ Magazine Guest Contributor Sniff Design Studio

Taking Command Of Your Pet Business Brand – Pets+ Magazine Guest Contributor Sniff Design Studio

We’re pleased to start off the new year with some exciting news! Sniff Design Studio® was asked to write an article for up and coming Pets+ Magazine, a premier pet business to business mag.

Given our past and current experience in pet business branding we had the pleasure of contributing an article explaining the importance of not only having good branding – but professional branding.


If you’d like download and read the article click on the following link:
Command Your Brand Business Article by SniffDesignStudio for Pets+ Mag.

Otherwise, you can read it here:


BRANDING is a critical element in the success of any business, big or small. When done well, it’s like offering a firm handshake to each and every potential client you meet. And when done badly, it’s like sticking your tongue out at the world. So why do so many people get it wrong? Let’s look at five of the biggest branding mistakes that too many pet professionals regularly make.

Mistake #1: They don’t understand the power of a brand.

Your store design, logo, signage and advertising are all a bold statement that you are making to everyone who sees it. Those potential customers are going to quickly boil down your statement and file it in one of three basic categories: “We are really cool!” or “We are pretty average!” or “We are a freaking mess!” Once that statement is made, it is very hard to convince potential customers differently. This may sound like heresy to some, but a well-executed brand can even cover up for a weak service — at least for a little while. (At the very least, a strong brand buys you more tolerance for your mistakes.)

Mistake #2: They skimp on what it costs to build a brand.

Building a powerful brand takes time, skill and money. Too many pet business owners try to brand their new businesses (or re-brand their existing ones) over a single weekend. Saturday, they sip wine and think strategic “big” thoughts about their business. And then on Sunday, they go nuts with a CD of clip-art and a million Windows fonts. Believe me: in the end, your audience can see exactly what you invested in creating your brand. Just as bad as doing a bad D-I-Y job is hiring out your critical identity work to a $99-per-logo factory that doesn’t care one bit about what lasting impression your business will make.

Mistake #3: They don’t stick to strong brand guidelines.

Once you’ve established your brand style, stick to it. While it will be incredibly tempting to use a color or a font outside of your business’s usual style, doing this too often will negatively impact your customers’ perceptions. Customers see an

inconsistent brand as unreliable. This negative perception can be easily avoided by establishing a detailed style guide for your business and following it religiously. Stay disciplined!

Mistake #4: They build a brand and then let it stagnate.

If you’ve avoided Mistake #3 and maintained your brand guide lines for a period of time, eventually your cutting-edge identity will need refreshing. Logo artwork falls out of trend. Store signage fades and needs updating. Advertising campaigns run their course and need a new direction. (Even Met Life finally got rid of their famed Snoopy advertisements just a few months ago.) While the strongest brands might need only subtle changes over the long term, they are still in a constant process of changing and growing. Working with a knowledgeable pet industry designer can help you navigate this challenge and help your brand mature gracefully.

Mistake #5: They try to appeal to everyone.

To build the strongest possible brand, start by accepting the fact that you won’t appeal to everyone. The brand that connects most strongly with one type of customer is unlikely to connect as strongly with others. Don’t weaken your appeal and suck all the personality out of your brand by trying to reach everyone. Pick your niche and target customer, decide on your brand personality, and roll the dice!

MONICA CEVALLOS is founder and owner of Sniff Design Studio®; a small, award-winning graphic design boutique and pet blog that has catered exclusively to pet business professionals around the world since 2003. Contact Monica here.


Last but not least, if you are a pet business owner and/or manager you can get a FREE subscription of Pets+ Mag.  Pawsome!



Spotlighted on Small Business Trends

Spotlighted on Small Business Trends

We are so excited to announce that we’ve just been spotlighted on Small Business Trends. Here is the article in full, or if you rather you can read the entire article online here.


Spotlight: Sniff Design Studio Caters Specifically to Pet Businesses

With so many different pet-related businesses out there, it was just a matter of time until marketing and design minded entrepreneurs began focusing their efforts on that niche. Sniff Design Studio does just that. The design business creates a variety of different products and services just for pet-related businesses. Read more about the company in this week’s Small Business Spotlight.

What the Business Does

Provides graphic design and illustration services to companies in the pet industry.

Monica Cevallos, owner of Sniff Design Studio® told Small Business Trends, “This little design atelier is an all-in-one design studio with creative services ranging from: business logo design [to] Web design + development, web hosting, branding and more. After all, “cute” and “whimsical” definitely has its place in [the] business market — proven by this ever, exciting, expanding and muti-billion dollar niche market.”

Business Niche

Focusing specifically on the pet industry.

How the Business Got Started

Because of a gap in the market.

Monica says, “The design studio was created because I had noticed that there were no studios around that catered to just pet businesses and as a result, so many of them had terrible design. I really believed and still do, that a business should know its own value and as a result be willing to invest in its value. And if a business looks cheap, then it becomes the first impression a person has when seeing it.”

Biggest Win

Getting a board featured by Pinterest.

The board led to Sniff Design Studio securing more than 20,000 Pinterest followers.

Biggest Risk

Expanding beyond design and illustration.

Monica explains, “I tried tackling the (at the time), new and emerging eCommerce market. So, we decided to offer services for this. Well …major fail! eCommerce is a wonderful thing and wonderful market, however it’s very complex and requires much training and experience and that is something that I had little of. So after a few projects had failed I had to concede to this fact. It also reminded me of an invaluable lesson and that was to remain true to what I am good at and what keeps my interest piqued.”

How They’d Spend an Extra $100,000

Building a team.

Monica says, “I would hire people who are better than me in fact. Better designers, better Web developers, a better project manager, a better receptionist. A good while ago, I read a book that has really inspired me in many ways. (Studio Culture by Tony Brook & Adrain Shaughnessy) The biggest thing I have taken from it is that many of the studio/design firm owners have all said how important it was to hire people better and stronger than you. And than when you do, your team is all the more resilient, strengthened and simply solidified. In other words, you are only as strong as your team is.”

Company Mascots

Two mischievous dachshunds, Mina and Max.

Monica says, “Mina and Max were so popular that I created a comic just for them and it was also [the] main comic for Pup Culture Mag – back in the day. Here is a link to see it.”

The company now has a new mascot as well, a nine-month-old miniature wire-haired dachshund named Mia.


*Some minor edits were made to this orig., article for grammatical/spelling purposes.