Haven’t a clue?

Any parent reading this will know that young children always get sick at the worst possible times… like when you’re on holiday.

You spend all year anticipating the family break, pack the suitcases in readiness, finally drop the dogs off with the sitter and off you go. Then disaster strikes…usually within the first 24 hours:

Little Jonny or Jenny has the complexion of a beetroot, is running a temperature and now wailing uncontrollably. Meantime, you’re cursing as you’ve forgotten to bring the single, most important item on the packing list: Calpol.

This situation certainly resonates with the Johnson family, reminding us of times past when our children got sick at our most remote holiday destinations, like the Isle of Arran, the edge of Dartmoor and once on a skiing holiday, high in the French Alps.

Kids. Their timing is impeccable. You can set your watch by it.

In such a situation, your long-awaited holiday is about to be de-railed, so swift action is required:

Off you trek then to the nearest town - always miles away - in search of a pharmacy for the “parental panacea”, "pink liquid gold" and thankfully here is where your luck changes.

Whether in the UK or Europe, pharmacies are often the easiest businesses on the high street to locate. Why? Because they have a universally recognised brand….. a very distinctive green cross displayed outside. You can spot pharmacies from a considerable distance, which enables you to find what you’re looking for, quickly and easily and make a purchase.

That is the power of branding.

Emergency over!

Back at base, your child miraculously recovers, to the point that they immediately develop a gargantuan hunger - it’s not on the label, but past experience suggests that Calpol is both a pain killer and appetite stimulant! So off you go again, this time instructed to search for McDonalds.

In town once again, you find the burger joint easy to locate as Maccy D’s is in yer face, with those distinctive, golden arches; probably also visible from space. McDonalds restaurants also have a strange, vacuum effect in that they suck you in.

Burgers delivered and consumed, it’s once again back to happy holidays! - all thanks to strong branding helping you locate what you need in a time of crisis.

At this point you may be wondering what on earth any of this has this to do with SQPs?. But to answer that you must first understand that SQPs have a problem…

As you probably already know - because you are “an insider” - SQPs are people qualified to give advice, prescribe and supply certain categories of veterinary medicine and their role has been recognised in statute for some time now. However, Joe Public does not recognise SQPs nor what they do; JP knows next to nothing about SQPs, even when they’ve been served by them, because effectively, SQPs have been invisible for years.

If you ask around you’ll find this is true of the average animal owner, even those who have recently bought VPS medicines from a SQP and may have benefitted from their advice. That’s pretty tough for a person who has worked very hard indeed to earn their Level 4 qualification and who is committed to ongoing CPD and adherence to a rigorous Code of Practice in order to stay on a professional register.

It’s a missed opportunity for business too as demonstrated by a recent experience I had when buying VPS products from a local pet superstore:

My first difficulty was in locating the products I was after. They were on a shelf near the front door but facing the back of the store, meaning I walked straight past them while on my search. Having eventually located what I was looking for, the medicines were (of course) behind glass, so I had to then go and search someone able to supply me with what I wanted. That’s not the best customer experience, is it? Many pet owners would have been put off at this point and simply turned to the internet.

We at Vetpol want to fix this problem.

At this point I must reign myself in, for fear of this blog becoming an advertorial. Instead I attach our range of trademarks designed to signpost VPS medicines and link them to the SQP with the knowledge and expertise to help owners make the right choices for their animals and use products responsibly.

So whether you’re a SQP working in a veterinary practice, pet shop, farm supplies or saddler we would like to solicit your feedback and hear your ideas on the various ways in which these trademarks might be used in your business to help customers find you and the products they are looking for. Please register with vetpol.co.uk and add your comments to the SQP forum or join our group on Facebook.

Think about the next parent who hasn’t just got a sick child on holiday and needs Calpol but may have a pet dog too and just realised it is infested with fleas. How might your business be as effective as the local pharmacy and McDonalds at signposting where you are, what you sell and what expert advice you have to offer?