I've been keeping a careful eye on our friends at Madecasse, the chocolate makers.
And it looks like I am not the only person who is keen to see them succeed - Seth Godin has also been writing about them in his blog posting the brand, the package, the story and the worldview... wondering what they should do to get the chocolate bars leaping off the shelves.
To start off, the product itself is pretty good. And so thinks the New York Times. But does the packaging say "buy me, buy me"? Like Seth, I am not convinced they've got it quite right.
A couple of one-liners to kick-off the debate:
"Why should people buy from you if you're the same as the competition? What makes you different from the rest?" and "Marketing is not a battle for the product but a battle for the mind of the customer".
So a few thoughts.
No-one disputes the quality of the product, at least not once they've tried it. But for Madecasse virgins it is tricky - they will buy either if recommended (in which case the packaging isn't so vital) or because the packaging entices them.
Currently the packaging doesn't make the chocolate leap off the shelves. It doesn't tell a story..., it doesn't scream "buy me"..., it doesn't say "Hey Mrs Green Deli Shopper I am the one you want"...,
The back story is so fantastic that I think Madecasse are being too modest and shy. For specific shoppers (green/organic/chocoholics/environmentalists/third worlders) this chocolate should be "the only one... Why would I want to put money in the hands of the global capitalist scum when I can give it direct to the workers via Madecasse?".
This business should run and run and run.
BUT even though they have the power of a great product and the power of a great back story and the power of a great vision for the business... they still have to get the marketing right.
So, two things to do:
- Get the packaging spot-on. Identify your specific market niche - get it sorted and sell specifically to them
- Work the word-of-mouth marketing systems. In this world of Twitter, FaceBook, YouTube and so on you need to get your raving fans to help you sell your story.
Madecasse have such a brilliant story to tell (like Hobbs House Bakery - great history, great provenance, great product, great story, brilliant product) that they deserve every success.
Launching a Business With a Cause - Quick Update - blog article
Launching a Business With a Cause - articleMadécasse - and you can get their chocolate in the UK
Hobbs House Bakery and Directors' Centre - video