Can there ever be too many sorts of chocolate?
Shoppers don’t appear to suppose so—and producers have responded with alacrity to their cry for extra confections. Throughout 2017, the premium chocolate phase grew 10% in comparison with the yr earlier than attributable to elevated demand and a deluge of recent product launches. By 2018, many established manufacturers have been struggling to defend their market share. That features Theo Chocolate, the primary natural, fair-trade, bean-to-bar producer in North America. After greater than a decade within the market, gross sales had grown sluggish.
“It’s a cluttered and aggressive panorama,” mentioned Jason Harty, Chief Advertising Officer at Theo Chocolate. “Furthermore, chocolate is an impulse-driven merchandise, closely influenced by worth promotions. We make chocolate from scratch with high-quality, fair-trade components, so we don’t compete to have the bottom worth.”
The chocolate class isn’t only a crush of competing manufacturers—it is full of competing narratives, too.
“There are narratives about saving animals, moral labor practices, and saving the rainforest. There are narratives about love and about treating your self. There are loads of competing messages, and we noticed a possibility to specific our model positioning extra clearly by means of new packaging,” defined Harty.
Theo Chocolate had a number of virtues they needed to speak, together with its moral sourcing practices, the care with which it crafts its chocolate, and its superior style.
In late 2018, the Theo Chocolate workforce engaged progressive design firm clarkmcdowall to guide its rebranding initiative. The company performed a segmentation research paired with qualitative analysis to grasp the goal client, the function that chocolate performs of their lives, and the prevailing equities Theo needed to leverage. “We’re nonetheless a younger, scrappy model. We’re not a startup. We do not have the sources of a giant CPG firm. Investing in the precise locations—together with doing the analysis upfront and having robust inventive expertise—in the end made an enormous distinction for us,” mirrored Harty.
“We requested, ‘Which have been the weather that we may depart behind? Which did we wish to evolve and double-down on?’ Specifically, we realized so much about how a lot the model mark helped to inform Theo’s story—the pure irregularities within the letterforms communicated a way of caprice and pleasure that we needed to retain,” mentioned Adrienne Muken, Inventive Director at clarkmcdowall. The company left the model mark unchanged, aside from eradicating the coloring inside and across the letters to make it extra versatile.
The model’s predominantly white packaging additionally proved to be a particular asset that helped it to face out on the shelf—a beacon in a sea of little brown bars. “That off-white model block is a very nice gadget by which we are able to draw shoppers’ eyes and get them to step just a little nearer to what we’ve to supply,” defined Harty.
In contemplating what ought to evolve in regards to the design, they prioritized style attraction. “It’s bought to look scrumptious; that’s job one. We would have liked clear and obvious taste indications and rapid style attraction,” mentioned Harty.
The meals pictures on Theo Chocolate’s authentic packaging indicated the flavour—reminiscent of a chocolate-dipped cherry—however generally shied away from displaying the precise product. The brand new pictures integrated chocolate squares, showcasing the feel and giving shoppers a preview of what they might anticipate upon unwrapping the bar. In addition they toned down the picture-perfect high quality of the meals. “The unique photographs have been nearly so good that they misplaced a few of their realness. We needed the brand new imagery to be an actual illustration of fine components, not only a stereotypical sweet model the place the components solely symbolize flavors,” mentioned Muken.
In an analysis by Designalytics, shoppers reacted extra positively to the brand new pictures and have been extra prone to affiliate attributes associated to style attraction with the brand new design, together with “genuine style,” “indulgent,” and “satisfies a candy craving.”
The general design route that the workforce chosen was the “large reveal,” encapsulated in a colourful, watercolor brushstroke that serves as a window into the product pictures. “The meals pictures has loads of persona, and it’s bursting out of this swash graphic. We take our model mission severely, however we needed to make it possible for we have been additionally speaking a way of pleasure and goodness,” mentioned Emily Raffensperger, Senior Designer at Theo Chocolate, who created the distinctive watercolor textures by hand.
The workforce additionally revisited the typography on the packaging, eliminating the hand-written typeface in favor of a clear sans-serif. They selected to undertake a chunkier, extra modern font for the flavour selection. To make the entire affair simpler to navigate, clarkmcdowall broke up the block of claims, inserting the knowledge extra strategically in several areas of the package deal. “We needed to affiliate truthful commerce with the model and tie natural extra carefully to the product and components,” defined Harty.
In fall 2019, Theo Chocolate launched its new look to the delight of each shoppers and retailers. “We walked into our retailers with a little bit of trepidation. We have been very assured in our work, however you by no means know what the customer goes to say. They unanimously cherished it—each the ultimate product and the narrative of how we arrived at it. That’s vital for a model that’s been round for 15 years and is well-embedded within the commerce. It was actually heartening,” recalled Harty.
Theo Chocolate promoted the brand new branding closely throughout different advertising and marketing channels and used a model e book developed by its inner design workforce to information the appear and feel of those supplies. “We labored retroactively, utilizing the packaging design as our hero undertaking after which extrapolating from there. The important thing parts from our packaging have now develop into our core model property, and so they play out throughout each medium, together with net, social media, and our print collateral,” mentioned Raffensperger.
Primarily based on Designalytics’ client analysis and the model’s gross sales efficiency, it’s clear that buyers are candy on the brand new design. Over the previous six months, Theo Chocolate’s gross sales have elevated by 11% within the grocery channel in comparison with the identical interval in the course of the prior yr. The model has outpaced and contributed to class progress in the course of the COVID-19 disaster. Furthermore, base velocities over the previous six months have elevated by greater than 20% in grocery and pure channels in comparison with the identical interval in 2019.
It’s arduous to think about something extra satisfying than these outcomes—effectively, besides possibly considered one of Theo Chocolate’s new peanut butter and jelly cups.
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