According to the press release:
Nestlé has created a new luxury brand that delivers fresh chocolates, tailor-made for individual tastes.
Actually, that's not the case. If you take a closer read through the release, it's a two-step process.
That said, it's part of a much broader initiative that has the potential (if it's successful, if consumers care, do people associate Nestlé with a luxury brand (Hershey couldn't do it with Scharffen Berger, et al) to influence chocolate marketing globally.
Your thoughts on the program, its chances for success, and how it might have an impact on the chocolate business generally - and your business in particular?
Some more from the release:
“Maison Cailler is a response to the changing times we live in,” Mr Lacroix explains.
“People are looking for more personalised products and services, and they are increasingly purchasing these online."
“We will be able to fine tune the Maison Cailler offering according to consumer feedback,” he continues.
“Although the five main chocolate personalities will never change, soon we will be able to identify nuances. The goal really is to be as personal as possible.”
People can register to set up a personal account on the Maison Cailler website; importing their Facebook contacts and logging the chocolate personalities of their friends.
They will also be able to post questions to the Maison Cailler team.
The Maison Cailler website, which works on all digital devices, will stream live footage from webcams in the chocolatiers’ kitchens; from the Moléson; and from the fields where the cows who provide the factory’s milk graze.
There will even be live footage from a cocoa farm in Ecuador.
“We are showing consumers that we are a real business, with real people, who work here every day making chocolate for them to enjoy,” adds Mr Lacroix.
Brian, you seriously want me to believe that you are not interested one iota in knowing the chocolate personality of Lady GaGa? Or Justin Bieber?
I quickly checked the web-site (perhaps it's not the correct one), but the Maison Caillier site (ch) looks quite old fashioned to me, with the Swiss Alps etc. To be honest, I don't see how they are going to play a leading role in the way people consume chocolate. In the coffee industry companies like Stumptown, Intelligentcia Coffee really "Rock", very different from the old swiss chocolate school. So, to be honest, I don't understand what they actually want, company marketing is not in line with the company believes.........and that is not going to be very convincing, a camera in Ecuador won't make much of a difference.
Extract from an e-news article published 2008:
"Nestlé today announced the establishment of the Chocolate Centre of Excellence, the company's first R&D facility entirely dedicated to the development of premium and luxury chocolate. . .
The establishment of the new Chocolate Centre of Excellence is a further sign that Nestlé sees luxury and premium products as one of its key strategic areas with above-average growth and profit potential over the coming years. . . It also explains Nestlé's partnership with Belgian luxury chocolatier Pierre Marcolini who will provide inspiration to the team in Broc for some of the company's future chocolate ranges."
Maison Cailler chocolate factory is located in Broc, Switzerland:
Link to Maison Cailler & Chocolate Factory article!
So far with our shop we meet 2 types of people. Those who buy chocolate in a grocery store, and those who seek out something better, maybe more personal. However that personal is usual not something that's going back and forth electronically but something where you can talk with another person and have real input or knowledge exchange.
To some slice of demographic that currently likes buying ferrero rocher, or other marketed global products this might speak to them with a sense of faux personalization. Like a Sky mall product.
Usually I don't see many of these people, so I'm not really sure if this will gain traction for those looking for a real product. It might be something you'd get as a present but after a few rounds it would fall into disuse.
They might be a real business with a marketing budget that dwarfs anything I can imagine and a production facility that probably looks like something out of a sci-fi novel. Proofs in the product and all that though.
The nice things about endeavors like these is you can find some gems in the rough and if they pan out for that scale there might be some trickle down thoughts that can be integrated into your own business. Always fun to watch and learn.
They aren't doing anything new, and in my opinion they are still missing the boat.
Choklat's been making personally selected truffles fresh per order now for over 3 years and has been very successful at it. Maison offers a few varieties, where as the 468 combinations that can be ordered through our website still dwarfs their offering.
The only difference right now is that we don't deliver outside of our immediate geographic area, whereas they do.
As far as I'm concerned Nestle' is playing catch up, and only serves to validate my business model of giving people what they want, as opposed to what we "think" they want, or what flavour happens to appeal to us as chocolatiers on any given day.
That's just my opinion.