I recently read an article entirely devoted to the fact that celebrity and horse rider Katie Price had ‘shaved’ shapes into her children’s pony’s coats including diamonds and love hearts. This caused an uproar this had caused amongst some fans who thought it was ‘cruel’.
Katie’s act of ‘shaving’ her ponies coats isn’t cruel. Horses and ponies grow ‘winter’ coats, which means that when exercise, they can become hot and sweaty and then catch a chill as they cool down as their coat stays damp. Therefore it is common practice to ‘clip’ their coats out and use horse rugs instead to keep them warm when not being ridden. Admittedly, I’ve never clipped my horses or anyone else’s with patterns or shapes. To be honest, clipping them takes so much time, I am happy to just stick to plain! However, lots of ponies are clipped out and patterns left on their rumps, so Katie’s love heart and diamond shapes are not unusual in the under ten year old’s world of horses. In fact, most ponies quickly grow back their coats so it would probably have only lasted a few weeks or probably been clipped off completely a short while after.
This got me thinking about the image and perception, which brands can have outside of their relevant sectors and how important it is to consider the wider implications of brand awareness, as well as seeing the bigger picture. Many brands cross over from the equestrian sector into the mainstream and having worked with brands which have done this, it’s a far easier step aside. However, stepping into a specialist sector involves specialist understanding to ensure that you are speaking the right language and tone of voice to the audience you are trying to engage with. So whether it’s ‘shaving’ or ‘clipping’, there is a difference and one, which we know!