Now I’ve got your attention! But really - I do want to talk about chocolate because it’s Easter, because chocolate is known as the cure-all, feel good, indulgence (or every day treat) and I love how clever chocolate marketing is!
As Australians we absolutely love chocolate! We love chocolate so much we eat around 7kilos EACH (over 14’s) per year and as a nation spend around 1.5 billion dollars on buying it.
And the chocolate market is growing in size and breadth along with our waistlines! There are new brands launching every week and new promotions and collaborations tempting us.
Chocolate brands are relentless and know how to differentiate themselves with strategic positioning, market segmentation and targeting. They build market share without taking market share from others. Clever.
Chocolate companies know us. They know people buy chocolate on impulse (47%), so they put it in temptations way (e.g check-outs). They know women buy more chocolate then men but, of course, they are buying it for others as well as themselves so their promotions appeal to women. They know men buy chocolate in bulk (bars and blocks) for themselves so they make those choices easy. They know most of us buy most of our chocolate from the supermarket and so there is a whole aisle dedicated to chocolate.
While we are a nation of chocolate lovers there are, surprisingly, chocolate loathers (and people who like carob!). There are people who are indifferent – take it or leave it – there are even people who can control temptation and chocolate is not part of their menu plan. But they may still buy it for others.
Chocolate makers listen to us. If you don’t like to eat chocolate in the heat –your favourite brands come in ice-cream. And in winter, hot chocolate. Worried about where the cocoa beans come from? There are fair trade options for you.
There is a chocolate for every taste bud (e.g. chilli), a package for every situation (say thanks with Roses), a shape for all ages (e.g. frogs) a price point for all budgets. And did you know chocolate is good for you? (only dark and in extreme moderation) but you have to read the fine print to know that.
Do we even care about the connection between Easter and chocolate? Probably not but I’m going to tell you anyway!
First there came the egg … back in the day eggs (from hens) were not allowed to be eaten during the week leading up to Easter. Any eggs laid that week were saved and decorated and given to children as gifts. Victorians adapted the tradition with satin-covered cardboard eggs filled with gifts and in the 19th century hollow chocolate eggs appeared in France and Germany. Then there came the bunny – as rabbits are known for having big litters they became a symbol for new life and the legend of the Easter bunny appeared. Although in Switzerland, Easter eggs are delivered by a cuckoo and in parts of Germany by a fox.
Fast forward to today and we love the idea of chocolate so much at this time year we are tempted by fancy shaped animals that aren’t even made from chocolate. That’s right! Compound chocolate is basically a combination of vegetable fats and sweeteners along with emulsifiers and chocolate flavouring – what?! To aficionados chocolate without cocoa is just not chocolate.
We put chocolate in hot cross buns that have been out since just after Christmas and before we know it the chocolate marketing machine will have us thinking about Mothers Day.
So what is not to love about chocolate or chocolate compound? And what can you apply in your small business marketing from learning about (eating?!) chocolate?