HALIFAX and LEEDS, ENGLAND — Sniffers Pet Care has formed a new Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) with marketing experts at Leeds Beckett University (LBU) to build upon its growth. Through the partnership, a team of academics will support the pet company in the development of its new brand Naw.

Sniffers is a small business based in Halifax with more than 40 years of experience in the pet industry. According to the company, it has recently witnessed significant growth. The KTP will seek to support Sniffers as it enters new markets, as well as help build the company’s marketing strategies. It will also establish a brand personality and consumer reputation for Sniffers, all to support its goal of becoming the leading natural dog treat supplier.

“We have experienced impressive sales growth in recent years — in part, due to the COVID-associated increase in dog ownership in the United Kingdom,” said Simon Brown, chief executive officer of Sniffers Pet Care. “We are ambitious and motivated to continue our strong growth through this new partnership with Leeds Beckett — including developing our own-brand products and growing in new markets.

“Working with LBU has been a fantastic experience so far — the support and insight we’ve received already to get to this point in the KTP process has been beyond expectations,” he added. “We very much look forward to embedding the capabilities within our business and helping us meet our ambitious targets — particularly as we are on the cusp of launching our new retail brand NAW.”

The two-year partnership is partially funded by the English government through Innovate UK.

The project will be led by David Andrews, Ph.D., senior lecturer in marketing at LBU. He has more than 30 years of experience and has worked with more than 200 small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Andrews also serves as a business coach at LBU’s Help to Grow: Management program and regularly collaborates with regional businesses to help further their growth.

“The KTP will focus on developing and embedding a platform for Sniffers to grow sustainably,” Andrews said. “We will develop strategies to identify the best distribution channels for Sniffers to enter new markets and establish their own-brand products. Using our expertise to support the wider team at Sniffers, we will build their management capabilities, skills and training. This will create a more strategic approach for the business, embedding innovation throughout the company and facilitating the company’s long term growth objectives.”

Through the KTP, Sniffers’ personnel will have access to LBU’s Help to Grow: Management and Women Empowered through Coaching and Networking (#WECAN) business support programs.

“Working with our academics enables Sniffers to take advantage of future opportunities from a basis of sound academic knowledge and expertise, and a solid strategic foundation,” said Jo Griffiths, head of KTPs at LBU. “The project will embed improved strategic marketing decision-making capabilities and skills to support longer-term, sustainable SME growth. These ambitions and objectives align directly with the UK government's agenda to foster a robust economy and for levelling up.”

The project team also includes Helen Hepworth, lecturer in marketing at Leeds Business School. Hepworth has two decades of experience in the UK CPG market, focusing on product development, category management, sales and retail. LBU will also recruit a graduate to help carry out the project.

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