Monday, December 5, 2011

Vosges Chocolates: A Memorable Experience

Last summer, my team of IMC students had the privilege of analyzing Vosges' brand positioning.  We gave recommendations for their corporate gifts strategy.  What we found was that there only needed to be one brand association added to the existing brand equity: that you could still travel the world through chocolate, but that the journey should also be a memorable one.  From that one brand association grew a whole world of tactics.  We suggested everything from developing packaging with the company's story printed on the inner lid, to developing a scented ad for chocolate (similar to a perfume ad). 

We began by interviewing those that purchased corporate gifts, and then, based on those interviews, divided Vosges' consumer base into attitudinal segments.  Attitudinal segments are just what the sound like-- they are when you group your consumers by their behaviors rather than by their demographics.  What we discovered was that there were two large clusters in the consumer base--those that bought gifts because it was "all about me," and those that bought gifts that were "all about you."  Based on this discovery, we were able to make recommendations for industries to target.  For example, an "all about me" industry might be a quirky design firm, or a boutique advertising agency-- a company that wants to express its uniqueness through creative, handmade chocolates, and also support a small business.

Vosges Chocolates, a Chicago-based chocolatier, specializes in gourmet chocolates with novel ingredient combinations inspired by the travels of its founder.  Featuring expensive packaging and luxurious retail outlets, the chocoaltier has found its way from its humble beginnings in the founder's kitchen, into the aisles of Whole Foods and on the shelves of its own chocolate boutiques.  The brand is rich in associations, and has a free spirited, yoga loving persona.

By adding one brand association, you can readjust your positioning without reinventing the wheel.  You can add richness and dimension to your brand associations.  It was truly a memorable journey for us as well.

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