When Subpar Branding Just Won’t Fly

Randy Micheletti
VP, Director of Brand Strategy

When Subpar Branding Just Won’t Fly

For horse owners, summer is the time for peaceful, early morning rides before the sun heats up the day. It’s a time to spend washing, treating and connecting with your horse. Unfortunately, it is also the season of the most heinous insect on the planet…flies!

And, as all horse owners know, it’s a never-ending battle. You try everything and they just keep returning. Not only are they frustrating to you, they’re even more irritating to your horse. Imagine the way the horse feels as the summer heat kicks in and these pests will not leave them alone.

As we’ve learned from recent client focus groups, many horse owners are convinced there’s not much that can be done to effectively repel flies. Sure, some have regiments that are partially effective but many said during the heavy summer season protecting their horses from flies and other biting insects was a “losing battle.”

Here are a few tips on becoming more effective in the battle against flies and other insects:

  • Eliminate places where flies and insects inhabit and breed such as standing water, old water in a bucket, dirty gutters, or road ditches.
  • Provide your horse with additional protection during peak fly season and avoid being outside during these times.
  • Limit your horse’s exposure to flies and insects by using a fly spray specifically designed to kill and repel a broad spectrum of insects on contact.
  • Implement a fly control program that uses multiple products. Combining fly sprays, fly masks and premise concentrate and bate can provide complete protection for your horse.

Manna Pro partnered with Geile/Leon to introduce a complete line of equine fly control products for all applications, including sprays, masks, face and body wipes, and premise protection. Our knowledge and expertise within the equine category provided the framework to help us build a memorable brand, increase awareness of the new line, and drive sales of Force products.

Check out the launch campaign and the results generated: Drop Dead Powerful

Geile/Leon is a brand-driven marketing agency based in St. Louis, Missouri that specializes in equine marketing and new product introductions. If you’re looking to refresh a brand or launch a new one, let’s chat.

Industry Spotlight: Equine Web Design

Randy Micheletti
VP, Director of Brand Strategy

Industry Spotlight: Equine Web Design

With approximately 9.2 million horses in the U.S. coinciding with approximately 2 million horse owners, the equine care market size has grown to a substantial $900+ million dollar business. That’s nothing to shake a stick at.

The good news is there are many opportunities to communicate with consumers about your equine products; the hurdle though, is that the category is extremely crowded. As a brand, it’s more important than ever to stand out. One way to do that is through your website. It’s vital that equine brands keep up with technology to converse with their consumers…but how can your site stand out from others? Here are a few tips to follow that will ensure your site stands out:


I’m sure your brand has created a corporate identity. It’s crucial that you use that guide to ensure your brand and message are communicated consistently online and offline. Continuity within your site is also important – actually, it’s a major factor in conversion. When a consumer moves throughout your site each page must deliver a consistent design and message.

Aesthetically pleasing

Part of being aesthetically pleasing is keeping the overall design as clean and simple as possible. White space is a big part of that. It will allow your visitors to focus on what’s important and help get your key messages across.

Colors and images

This is extremely important, especially with horse owners. The use of warm and inviting colors resonates well with horse owners and it can complement the tone of the copy. The use of imagery is vital in this category. Horse owners love to see photography of horses. Showing a variety of different horses is effective as it broadens your opportunity to reach many horse owners. One thing to keep in mind – as you select an image, be sure it’s relevant and adds value to the message you’re communicating.

Relevant content

Equine sites have to be populated with relevant, keyword-rich content. You might ask, how do I determine if my content is relevant? Well according to Angie Schottmuller of Interactive Artisan, using the “Triangle of Relevance” can help. The triangle strategy incorporates three angles – business interest, user interest and time significance to maximize relevance and content, creating user action.

These are just a few helpers to get you started. One last thing to think about equine web design: always consider who you’re talking to and talk to them in an authentic voice. Horse owners appreciate honesty and a straight forward messaging that helps them understand what is best for their horse(s). Keeping this in mind will keep your brand top of mind with consumers and help solidify the conversion.

Download our Digital Marketing Audit to learn more about successful internet marketing.

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We have experience with equine; we know the brands, consumers and the products. Let’s talk about what your equine brand is doing to grow through digital marketing and your equine web design. Fill out this form with your information and we will reach out to you!

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Equine Web Design: 5 Brands Telling Their Stories Well

Geile/Leon Marketing Communications

Equine Web Design: 5 Brands Telling Their Stories Well

Marketing, PR and advertising all aim to tell stories of the brand. Telling a story digitally can be a challenge – especially in an industry where the audience is knowledgeable and looking to connect personally in a digital experience. The Equine industry is one that features many great stories of the relationships between humans and horses. In addition to being a labor of love for many involved, it is also a booming business which includes millions of horses and more than 1.5 million jobs. We have learned in our time working with our client, Manna Pro, that success is achieved in the equine industry (and many other similar, niche industries) by telling the audience a story and showing authentic personality through all communication mediums.

A number of companies and organizations accomplish storytelling through custom imagery and video that shows personality. In a world where stock images are everywhere, websites that have their own images really stand out. Some G/Lers met with our Web designer and came up with equine websites that we think successfully connect to their audience by showing personality – from imagery to content:

Note: Our Geile/Leon team has worked on Equine Web Design projects, including Manna Pro Product’s Equine blog. (We got all this knowledge from somewhere!) For the sake of staying as unbiased as possible, we haven’t included that project in the list below, but certainly feel free to check it out!

Screen Shot 2015-04-15 at 3.48.46 PMhttp://info.mannapro.com/equine

1. Cavallo

Website: Cavallo makes horse boots, saddle pads and equipment for riders. Their website stands out because of strong imagery, easy navigation and a focus on telling the story of how their products help both horses and riders perform at their very best. In addition to the store, the site’s content is boosted by a robust blog, general information on riding as well as testimonials and other information about the company.

Personality: Our team enjoyed how Cavallo invested in original imagery that shows the brand personality and their love for horses. They’re not just selling a product, but also selling a lifestyle. Putting the president of the company with the horses they work with every day makes her seem very down to earth.

Screen Shot 2015-04-10 at 12.08.53 PMScreen Shot 2015-04-10 at 12.09.07 PM https://www.cavallo-inc.com

2. Justin Boots

Website: The website for Justin Boots conveys a tone that shows the brand’s origins dating back to 1879 while also focusing on how they’re continuing to improve today. There’s a lot of rich imagery showing different age groups enjoying their products. In addition to still photos, they utilize a decent amount of video to tell more complex stories.

Personality: The website has some authentic photography that features their products and the people that use them. This provides another glimpse into the personality of the brand and how it connects to horses and horse lovers. Reaching across different audiences is tough, but the varying photography also shows how the products work for everyday life as well.

Screen Shot 2015-04-10 at 12.11.13 PM Screen Shot 2015-04-10 at 12.11.01 PMhttp://www.justinboots.com

3. Reinsman

Website: The western riding equipment heavily leverages their celebrity/athlete partnerships to highlight the competitive quality of their products. Their equine content is very crisp and well organized.

Personality: Seeing people with their horses and the actual Reinsman products makes the site more authentic. Their focus is more on how the products are more competitive and built to help you compete – showcased well by using images of well known professionals using the products.

Screen Shot 2015-04-10 at 12.18.30 PMScreen Shot 2015-04-15 at 3.42.00 PMhttp://www.reinsman.com

4. Grand Meadows

Website: The imagery on the Grand Meadows site does a good job of blending the quality of the product with the effects of what that product brings to the end user. By making that personal connection, it makes the site about more than just e-commerce. Also, having that combination of regular blogging and more in-depth feature articles also helps the site bring in inbound traffic.

Personality: The focus on helping horses grow makes them seem like they truly care about the horses wellbeing, which is really awesome. Seeing the owner insert herself into the brand and the industry also adds a strong personal touch.

Screen Shot 2015-04-10 at 12.22.34 PM Screen Shot 2015-04-10 at 12.22.44 PM Screen Shot 2015-04-10 at 12.22.23 PMhttp://www.grandmeadows.com

5. Noble Outfitters

Website: Another great example of digitally highlighting the culture of the brand. The Noble Outfitters online magazine is updated more than once a week with a good mix of product features and info related to those who might use the product.

Personality: There’s a lot of great original photography that makes them stand out. Their focus seems to be on highlighting the brand will help end users perform better while looking stylish in the process.

Screen Shot 2015-04-10 at 12.20.15 PMhttp://www.nobleoutfitters.com

Does your brand tell a story well? Share it with us! Connect with us via @GeileLeonSTL, or just email us at [email protected].

Interested in more of our equine work? Check out our previous blog about equine web design!

The Key to Building a Better Brand? Experiences.

Geile/Leon Marketing Communications

The Key to Building a Better Brand? Experiences.

Building a Brand: Enhancing your brand equity through strategic marketing and valuable customer experiences.

For many companies, especially those in niche industries that have a loyal following such as equine or manufacturing, there’s an ongoing struggle to raise their brand to the top. Before the Internet, brands relied on repeat customers, advertising through traditional mediums and amplification of their products/services through trial and word-of-mouth.

Now, at every turn marketers are fighting for a piece of the consumer pie (in more places than one). How do you make your brand stand out when consumers are overrun with choices? Through new experiences and meaningful relationships, on and off-line.

In the equine industry, consumers are immersed in their brands. They are constantly looking for a product or service that they can trust and really rely on – whether it’s to make their horse(s) healthier, get a leg up on the competition, make their job easier or their business better.

So, the opportunity for equine brand building (outside of traditional mediums) lies in experiences that are developed through digital problem solving.

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We’ve all turned to Google at some point in our lives for a recommendation. And, for niche industries, this is the sweet spot for brand building. Through Search Engine Optimization (SEO), website content and blogs that truly help your customers and an authentic brand voice that’s consistent on- and off-line, customers have a chance to experience your product before they even buy it. Therefore, creating relationships that will resonate with consumers the next time they are in need of your product or service.

Are you interested in other digital brand building strategies? Download our digital audit to assist you in setting up and executing a successful digital marketing campaign.

Interested in equine marketing? See some of previous our work building equine brands:
Senior Campaign
Integrated Ad Campaign
On the Move Sweepstakes

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