The Chocolate Life

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Hi Andy
I think that marketing is a different subject that needs it's own thread. You mention that you want to market to even planners. Corporate, wedding, ????. Who is your market in the brochure?

A Events Coordinator has to handle all the aspects of a program. Be it a wedding, you will offer wedding favors, chocolate centerpieces, and perhaps, you have other things that you can put into your brochure, i.e., chocolate fountain rental? Do you want to be known as the caterer's chocolate company of choice? That is a good slogan, btw. LOL! Do a brochure with that. Tell them what you can do for them. Take a look at what others do, and see what their brochures promise. What can you do that is different? Do you make individually molded items for the bride and groom? Cake toppers? What could you do to make the wedding reception different?

Are you doing corporate gift baskets? Corporate candy bars? Fortune cookies dipped in chocolate that when opened, have wonderful forecasts of the next years sales?

For Valentine's, can you have molds made, or find some vintage ones, and cast them in chocolate? I know that there are Easter bunnies, but, why are there no Cupids? We eat bunnies, and I would gobble up a Cupid! LOL!!! As a matter-of-fact, that is one thing that I am doing. Coming up with my own molds. Very unique and great gift-giving items. I would hope to see more chocolate companies coming up with more molds to fill. That will get you press around Valentine's Day. I know that when I worked for the newspaper, I would wait for the seasonal press releases to be faxed over so that I could include something fun for the Community Page of the Times News that I did production work for. I was not a reporter...just their gopher...hehehehe. But, I learned alot!

Once you know what you want to do, where the market is for you, sit down with them and ask them what they want. Sit down with a few caterer's and ask them what they would love for you to be able to provide them with. They know their needs. Then, sell it to them!

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Andy, here are some more thought for you. What about a chocolate blog to educate your customers about you and your product, along with your website? Maybe have a forum for local people who love your chocolate and what they have done. Maybe they put together a candy bouquet using your chocolates, or they came up with a new cookie recipe using your chocolate raspberry filled confections. Get them involved with you!

Chocolate tastings are a big thing. Chocolate parties are really big. Google Dove Chocolate parties. You could put those together, but with your own chocolates. Show them off! . http://www.chocolateusa.org/pdfs/Tastingparty.pdf
http://www.hersheys.com/cacaoreserve/chocolate-tasting-parties.aspx
http://www.themerrychocoholic.com/chocolate-tasting-party-easy.html
http://www.thenibble.com/REVIEWS/main/chocolate/tasting-party.asp

Create your own Chocolate Festival. How about a Chocolate Weekend, a Chocolate Cruise or a Chocolate Show? Create one! People will love to be involved with you! Wow! Will word get out about you! I'll even come! LOL!!!

What about a merchant's association in your town? They will have lots of ways to help you. Will you be a tourist destination, or perhaps, a destination for folks in the local area, perhaps they can see you making the chocolates and that will be something to go see. I know that if you work with charities, donate chocolate for events, raffle off boxes of chocolates, hospitals building new wings, fundraisers like that, you will also be getting your name out there with free advertising with the charity. Are you teaching how to put any chocolate gift baskets together for the holiday? Are you going to teach a class on how to make wedding favors? People will come to them. They will buy your chocolates to put in the baskets, too. Put out a press release to local media, tv and newspapers and radio stations. It will get picked up on.

Okay, as I think of other things...I will post. And, I hope others will too!!!!
Okay, okay, okay. There is something that I think is just keen to do. Go to the public elementary schools. Do a chocolate presentation on the health benefits of chocolate. Fourth or fifth graders. I would check with the teachers and find out what grade studies the countries where chocolate is grown. You will work with the teacher to add great dimension to her lesson plan. You reach the mother and father through the child. They take home educational material about chocolate and your business! And, you provide samples, too! What ya think about that one? LOL! I love brainstorming!

http://www.fieldmuseum.org/Chocolate/education.html

You will be creating a big customer base. When I was Granny Goose, (Yes, I dressed up like a goose and ran around town in super markets and other places!), we loved educating the kids. They took home product and we turned product in the stores for immediate sales. We made our potato chips differently than Laura Scudders and educating the kids was a great sales technique!

Here is something that is done here in Arizona: http://www.glendaleaz.com/events/2008ChocolateAffaire.cfm

Put it in a file. You might do something like it one day!
Thanks for the outpouring here Annette. We're cranking away getting ready for the markets tomorrow so I don't have the focus I need to process all of this. I can't wait to dig in. Probably print it out and the family can read it during spare moments. :))
We read your material while we worked the markets this last weekend and I'm reading them again as I work on the marketing slick for caterers. You gave us some good things to think on.

As well I was made dreamy eyed at product expansion but I was corrected by my family to keep my eye on what we already do and anchoring that fully before branching out. I do like the idea of doing more molded chocolates and might start that up in my spare time (hah). I've been working on making our own hot drinking chocolate blend but I'm worried about the time inputs vs hour/cash.

It was an important point in sitting down with coordinators and finding what they want. We've got it scheduled to go to a few event coordinator meetup groups to talk shop and that will offer a great venue for finding out more how a caterer thinks.

Unfortunately (or fortunately) in our area we have a sever lack of chocolatier and bakery outlets. While that should mean healthy sales for us it is hard to tie into competition for resource ideas. I need to find some outside of our area.

As the tech-geek of the family I already have our homemade chocolate blog running and our online store. I'd like to do more with the store but the next step is pretty resource intensive.

I'll continue to steep in your notes and will publish some more of what I'm working on, or what I've found along the way, as it's found.

Oh yea.. I loved the idea of a chocolate festival but have no idea the workload that would require, but wouldn't that be a hoot. We currently are involved in some local charities work which has been a lot of fun. We're looking forward to the 2009 chocolate ball.
Ok, here's a pass at one of our Event/Coord slicks. Always open to constructive criticism.

HI Andy!

I love this! I wanted to let you know that I will post more on it later. Family coming in for Christmas and got last minute wrappings to get done. Sigh! It's almost over. I do think you are on the right track! Is this something that you printed off your computer, or was it printed at the printers?

Annette
Hey Annette, now that the holiday's are passed do you have any further commentary?

We're getting these slicks printed on a glossy paper from some friendly local printers. Small batch runs in case I need to change things. We've also made up a Clientele version for Spas/Salons/Massage & probably people like Real Estate or whatnot, where a client or client loyalty is important.

We've also ordered a few dozen clear boxes that can fit our 1/2oz truffles so we can visit places give out a slick and 3 pc sampler.

Always looking for ways to get in further..

Oh yea, we're also doing a Torte for Two for Valentines. Trying to get my Valentines PR stuff done ASAP so I can get it out to all the local journals.

Phew phew and more phew. ;-) At least I have copious amounts of chocolate and coffee to keep me moving!
Hi Andy!

Be sure you hit the florists shops. Their biggest business is Valentine's. They need a chocolate company that can offer them something new that their clientele will love!!!

Can you visit any of the school's where they will be having class parties for Valentine's, doing a presentation on Valentine's and Chocolate? Any teacher would love to have this, I am sure!!! 120 new customers, at least...each one of the kids, both parents and their neighbor's will hear about you. And other classes will then want you to visit. Can you do it for the whole 4th, 5th or 6th grade in the auditorium? Then everyone takes a couple chocolates home with them? We did this with Granny Goose Potato chips. Great way to make future customers and get the parents in. Ours was a supermarket item, so the kids ran right to it when they got to the store.

What Valentine's Events are you sponsoring or a part of this year?

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