Two weeks ago I received an email from one of my most loyal readers. He owns a small bean-to-bar chocolate company in El Salvador and in this particular email he expressed the concern that “just having the best product we can possibly make each day sometimes seems to not be enough”. That got me thinking a lot. How can you have a great product to sell but still struggle in the market? Well, truth is that nowadays the power of Marketing and PR can push towards success brands with low-quality products to the detriment of others that really care about the standards of their production but unfortunately don’t have the same ability of storytelling.
Therefore, for those companies who still didn’t manage to reach their desirable share of the market, I would like to explain how the art of storytelling can help their chocolate business.
First of all, keep in mind that
1) CUSTOMERS DON’T REMEMBER PRODUCTS, THEY REMEMBER STORIES
Unlike 50 years ago, when the popularity of a brand used to depend mostly on the reliability of its products, nowadays companies are successful because they can sell us a story, an emotion, a state of mind, a profile to associate ourselves with. Women don’t buy CHANEL clothes because they are made with high-end materials. They buy CHANEL because they want to be recognized as the independent and sophisticated women that this particular brand represents.
Translated to the chocolate industry, this is the same reason why who buys Mast Brothers chocolate is more allured by the story of these two bearded hipster brothers from Brooklyn that presented themselves as pioneers of the bean-to-bar chocolate production than the chocolate itself. Those customers have been sold a story. Not a product. And it worked! It worked so well that they opened up a store in London not too long ago. I know many amazing chocolatiers in NYC that can be proud of their chocolate, but haven’t had the same success because they rely solely on their products and forget about stimulating the curiosity of customers.
This said, don’t be discouraged if you are still scratching your head believing that you don’t have any interesting story to tell, because
2) EVERY COMPANY HAS A STORY TO TELL
As long as you have a good product that won’t disappoint customers’ expectations, there is nothing wrong with marketing a TRUE STORY behind it. If nothing still comes to your mind, let me give you some hints:
– Who are the owners of the company? (Young and bold guys/girls that have always been passionate about chocolate since childhood? Or perhaps a middle-age person that has worked in finance for twenty years and then decided to risk it all for a happier life?)
– Is there something special about the production? (Do you constantly follow the trends and come up every season with intriguing flavors? Or perhaps you treasure the tradition and market classic palates? )
– What are your company’s values? (Do you have a daily dialogue with your farmers in Ivory Coast or Equador and always make sure to be a buyer fair to them? Or maybe you donate a certain % of profits to support a cause you care about?)
– What’s your company’s style? (Do you combine design or art with your creations? Or perhaps simplicity is your strength?)
There is ALWAYS something that makes your company special in comparison to the others. The challenge is to think hard about it and spread the word. Choose one story, stick to it and show it everywhere! On the packaging of your chocolate, in the description of your social media accounts, make an introductory video on youtube and put it on your homepage, make sure your store reflects your company’s vision and mission.
In other words, LET PEOPLE KNOW WHAT YOU ARE ABOUT. Marketing your personal story is fundamental for your company’s success. Because remember
3) QUALITY PRODUCTS MAKE HAPPY CUSTOMERS – QUALITY STORIES MAKE LOYAL CUSTOMERS
This doesn’t mean you have to focus all your efforts on your story. A quality product is a MUST for a good reputation and a long-lasting relationship with customers, but nowadays it is not enough. You need to personalize your brand and give your customers something to remember other than some good cacao in solid form. Stories stick to the memory more than the taste of a well-made chocolate. Give them something to remember, and you will be rewarded!
What’s the story behind your chocolate brand? Share it, we’d love to hear about it!
I did NOT get paid and did NOT receive any kind of favor for writing this article. These are my honest opinions at your service.