The chocolate industry in the UK is huge. It is worth billions of pounds a year and shows no signs of slowing due to the affects of the recession. The industry in the UK dates from around 1900 when John Cadbury invented ‘solid chocolate’ in the form of the bars we all know today. The history of chocolate can be traced back many thousands of years. To the Aztec, Maya and Olmec civilisations in Central America who used the coco bean in offerings to their gods. They produced drinks (different to ours today as they contained no sugar or milk) and various other products from the coco bean. As the Europeans (from other areas of the continent) caught up on John Cadbury’s invention, the sweetie race was on. The French used it in cooking, the Belgian’s started the famous brand and the British started the confectionary industry. The industry today is huge and ranges from the bars that are available in petrol stations up to high end sweets in Harrods that are hand made and can cost over £100 a box. Leading companies in the UK would be Mars, Lindt, Cadburys and Nestle. There are many new brands of chocolate that have come onto the market in recent years. Brands such as Hotel Chocolate and Choccywoccydoodah are quite new and well established.
The marketing of chocolate products is very complex and involves a lot of work. It has been incorporated into all public holiday’s in the UK so that people will associate most events with it. Manufacturers put a lot of resource into their marketing and new products are always given good support so that they sell well in the UK market.
Most chocolate companies have used advertising in the past, particularly around events such as Christmas. The TV adverts for their products start in November. Chocolate companies do use radio advertising, but not as much as other forms of advertising (such as advertising billboards and other visual forms of advertising media). Magazines play a big role in the advertising portfolio and advertising chocolates in magazines has been going on for decades, and will probably never change. Advertising is possibly one of the most powerful forms of marketing for chocolate brands.
All chocolate companies have websites and normally these are high end sites, fun, interactive and social. They are quite different to other businesses, as they are not necessarily designed to be a sales tool, but more a visual shop window (in cyber space). Thought needs to be given to the website design itself, as people of all age and ethnic groups will visit.
What is the point in a website if people are not visiting it. Chocolate companies are in a battle with each other to be higher on search engines. Selling chocolates on line is now quite common, especially around holidays such as Valentines, Christmas and Easter. SEO is all about getting higher on the search engines like Google, Being found for search terms like ‘ordering chocolate’ or ‘luxury chocolates’ are important for any UK chocolate company.
Linked into having an internet presence is social media. Websites like Instagram work well as they are very much picture based. Pictures which people will like and maybe even ‘follow you’. Social media as well as being good for the chocolate brand is also good for SEO. Search engines do follow social media websites and factor in your social footprint when it comes to SEO.
Public relations plays a big roll with chocolate brands and they spend large amounts of money in targeted brand building exercises. Marketing for chocolate is all about building the brand. Building the reputation, and PR for chocolate companies is a great example of how it can be used to build a brand. With PR , you can sculpt an image and target the product do certain demographics (to children, high end etc.).
For any chocolate company, choosing the right agency is important. There are tens of thousands of marketing agencies around the UK to choose from, they cannot all be right to work with. The main thing that you need to look at is the industry experience the agency has. Have they worked in the chocolate industry before? Do they know how the industry works? Do they know the trends? Do they know the competitors? The other important question to consider is their success rate. If they have worked in the industry, how successful are they? Can they produce results? Can they justify their fees? Choosing the wrong company may well result in the following:
Selecting the right company should result in the following (the exact opposite):
It is very wise to shop around and get advice from different agency experts before deciding on who to work with. Marketing is an important part of any business. Do it wrong and your product (no matter how tasty it is) will never sell. Get it right and your chocolate will become a world brand.
All marketing agencies are privately owned businesses that set their own fees. Paying a lot of money is no guarantee that it would work. You could have paid 70% less with another agency and got the same results (or better). Results are all about how successful the marketing campaign is. There are some great campaigns for sweets milk tray for example (and some poor ones). But care needs to be taken on how much is paid. Remember that marketing companies need to make profit. The directors need cars, holiday’s, houses, expensive offices etc. so are charging profit to cover all the extras outside of your campaign costs. Generally the larger an agency is, the more resources they have; more resources means more costs, more costs means higher profits. Smaller agencies may be able to achieve just as much but for a fraction of the cost. It pays to shop around, it could save millions. Marketing for chocolate companies does not need to be expensive, fill in the form and we will show you.