EQ (EQUINE) STABLE:
MUTUAL PASSION CONNECTS BRAND
With a brand transition from Pfizer to Zoetis, the need to build and strengthen relationships, and the desire to grow the business beyond an already well-established
consumer base, Zoetis looked for new ways to extend their influence and grow the
business. The company made the determination to expand into social media with
a highly-regulated business, choosing the experienced social community strategic
leader, LiveWorld, to take the helm. The goals, to dialog directly with horse owners,
reinforce the brand transition, and extend the premium customer experience, have
been successfully met in just six months.
Zoetis (formerly Pfizer Animal Health), with 4.3 billion in annual revenue, is singularly focused on
animal health — providing quality products, services, and a strong commitment to their customers.
Traditionally, Zoetis has had an indirect relationship with their end customers, leveraging veterinarians as the conduit for their products. Zoetis determined it was time to take the next step — to a
solid and direct relationship with those who use their products — with an eye toward growing their
business by offering the premium sales experience to those not already engaged with the brand.
Also, the industry is tightly regulated and, as such, Zoetis needs to carefully balance regulatory and
legal requirements with a more free-form social media experience.
To implement the effort, the Zoetis Equine team asked social media leader, Liveworld, to create
and deploy a social media strategy and program guided by these key goals:
Zoetis (formerly Pfizer Animal Health), with 4.3 billion in annual revenue, is singularly focused on animal
health — providing quality products, services, and a strong commitment to their customers. Traditionally,
Zoetis has had an indirect relationship with their end customers, leveraging veterinarians as the conduit for
their products. Zoetis determined it was time to take the next step — to a solid and direct relationship with
those who use their products — with an eye toward growing their business by offering the premium sales
experience to those not already engaged with the brand. As a caveat, the industry is tightly regulated and,
as such, Zoetis needs to carefully balance regulatory and legal requirements with a more free-form social
To implement the effort, the Zoetis Equine team asked social media leader, LiveWorld, to create and deploy
a social media strategy and program guided by these key goals:
SOCIAL ARCHITECTURE PROGRAM
The program, a series of interviews, workshop sessions, and planning meetings, effectively combined
customer, brand and social knowledge into a cohesive design to connect Zoetis business goals to social media. The social architecture program resulted
in a socialized view of the brand, the creation of a
social cultural model as a basis for customer experience, a roadmap for brand participation, and integration across the marketing spectrum.
The plan was to create a passion-driven community
based upon members’ love of horses, and it focused
on individual owners and the handler/trainers who
were also likely to be enthusastic participants in social media. Secondary strategies were crafted to approach other audiences.
IDENTIFYING THE CULTURAL MODEL
To create a social-cultural identity for EQStable,
developers likened the experience to a party: If
EQStable were a party, what type of party would
it be? It was determined that the gathering would
be informal, conversational, and focused on local
communities, with “BBQ at the Fair” as the overarching concept. In short, it was to be an enjoyable
virtual place for discussion of topics that mattered
to fellow horse owners and lovers. This experiential vision was the basis of the culture that, through
content and moderation, Liveworld would deliver to
the Facebook community.
It was clear that success would require meeting both
practical and emotional needs of the EQStable audience, the recreational horse owner and the equine
handler/trainer. The aim was to help our target audience:
Connect to other businesses, families, and
communities with similar interests and values
Build their businesses by delivering solutions
from our equine connections, Zoetis, vets, and
Stay current on important matters of horses’
CHOOSING A PLATFORM
An in-depth review of the social media spectrum considered channel strengths, weaknesses, and limitations of
content type; legal and regulatory concerns and limitations; target audience penetration and access methods;
cultural brand fit; and brand resources and risks. As a result, the final recommendation to engage audiences
was a primary focus on Facebook, a secondary effort on Pinterest, and a supporting role for YouTube.
Brag and share pictures of my horse(s) with
others that have the same passion level
Tips from the pros thay help me care for my
HANDLER / TRAINER
Current trends, animal health, legislation, local
Let me demonstrate my skills and grow my or
my stable’s brand
Invite me to be an expert and share my skills.
Share with me videos of others I consiter peers
Based upon the established cultural model and venue determination, LiveWorld developed a comprehensive social content
programming plan, launch strategy, and growth plan; followed
by launch, ongoing management, content programming, engagement, moderation, and strategic refinement; guided by in-depth
insights gleaned as the program evolved.
The “About” page sets the stage in this mission statement:
“Zoetis Equine is driven by our passion for horses and their well-being, and for the equine industry and those it supports; this is the
force behind our Facebook page. The consequences of disease and
lameness impact not only the animal but the owner as well. We stand
with you to provide you and your veterinarian with the best products
to help your horses enjoy long, healthy lives.”
The launch plan included specific actions designed to share the excitement with three distinct groups:
Ensuring the Zoetis team was educated and excited about EQStable
Sharing the word with existing customers
Encouraging partner participation (breed associations and sponsor partners)
Enthusiasm mounted as EQStable was featured on Zoetis.com, in marketing communications and
newsletters, and in subtle reminders of Zoetis social media participation, such as employee signatures. Existing relationships were leveraged to encourage sharing of EQStable proprietary content,
as well as to invite active participation and content sharing across those partners’ social media venues.
In coordination with Underscore, the EQStable launch included Facebook advertising and promotion, including elements focusing on quality, key demographic and interest groups, and targeting
partner sites with similar interests. These efforts included strong calls to action, along with banners,
promoted content, marketing, and joint promotion with the EQStable App — resulting in rapid initial
Long-term growth strategies include creating ongoing partnerships with organizations such as the
American Quarter Horse Association, Home for Every Horse, and Time to Ride. Such alliances — for
both content sharing and referral traffic — are designed to touch on the emotions and passions of
those who share the love of horses, while serving the needs of both EQStable and partner participants.
Images of your horse, seasonal events and
contents, heartwarming stories, etc
Sharing content from others, engaging in dialogue
Peer-recommended trainers to join discussion, give tips, share videos of them, etc
Solution offerings, testimonials, profiles of
ink to newsletter for deeper information
While advertising was a key driver in the initial development of the community, the key to retaining
interest is strong content that shares information
and relays the pleasure of being involved with
equines. Many brands make the mistake of talking
mostly about themselves in social media, as if it
were a broadcast medium — and the content thus
falls flat with the target audience. Successful social media efforts focus on the attendee, just as
a great party host focuses on the guests having
an enjoyable experience. Engaging the audience
to encourage ongoing participation, to provide
the opportunity to meet other interesting people,
to discuss topics of interest with the brand and
each other, and to share experiences and stories
of general interest — these fuel a strong social
An optimized content mix of 40 percent social, 40
percent category-specific (horse-related), and 20
percent brand focus was adopted as the strongest
path to growth and ongoing engagement.
To drive EQStable activity, monthly content themes centered on viewer interests and Zoetis business focus, including seasonal activities and health-related trends, events, and product timelines. In
addition, these stimulating and recurring content items continue to draw in and encourage active
participation on the part of EQStable members:
Engage Discussion: quotes, captions, must-smile video
Targeting Audience: horseplay, stable club
Define the Company: personification of hosts, profiles, events
Demonstrate Expertise: veterinarian tips, nutrition health
Display Brand Content
While pre-scripted content is at the core of community posts, engagement with the community generates real-time content via conversations and trends. The LiveWorld team focuses on day-to-day
management and engagement, making micro changes that maximize the discussion topics, passion
areas, and interests of the community. Ongoing, we analyze post performance to fine-tune and improve scripted programming, resulting in a highly engaged community of equine enthusiasts.
The content calendar, while planned monthly, rapidly responds to news that matters to an audience
focused on equine-related events. For example, members responded strongly to a June 18 post following the Black Forest Fire in Colorado.
Data indicated the post was widely shared and liked while LiveWorld
hosts actively engaged fans in the
comments to enthusiastic response.
In addition, LiveWorld reviews those
posts that resonate best with the
audience, with an eye toward developing fresh content that meets
both member expectation and
brand goals over time. Beyond the
oft-quoted Facebook likes, we conduct deeper research looking at activity levels, sentiment, passion levels, topical analysis, and timing.
CREATE A DIRECT
DIALOGUE WITH HORSE
The EQStable Facebook page was launched on March 7, 2013. After
one month, the Facebook page had 107,000 Likes and a 29% engagement rate—more than TRIPLE the average ratio for communities of
this size among the top 1,000 brands on Facebook.
Our visibility in member’s newsfeeds is high, thanks to a good balance
of brand content with highly engaging social content and continued,
personalized and focused interaction with the fan base.
Other key metrics include:
The EQStable fans posted 35,173 comments to EQStable.
Community members actively ask and answer questions.
Member posts are 97% positive.
Less than 1% are reportable.
The page drove 200+ downloads of parallel app.
Aquistion costs are under fifty cents, compared to a dollar or
more for other methods.
CHANGE FROM PFIZER
ANIMAL HEALTH TO
Created a vehicle to share brand-centric community involvement,
industry support, and sponsorship stories to reinforce brand position
Successful initial personification of team members
Extended brand engagement with 15,000+ interactions
Customers self-source content and images (400+)
The site delivers high quality wellness content that has demonstrated value to fans, measured via survey, activity, and comment
Contact us at: +1 (800) 301-9507
or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org