You notice it by their details, both offline and online. From the description of their key values to the exclusive experience of their products, from the customer persona they are talking to to the voice adopted, you can immediately recognize who is investing on a compelling brand awareness strategy that is generating added value to their business. On the opposite, those who have not clearly defined a long-term vision of their brand are also those likely to rely on their fate in a highly competitive market niche as fine or craft chocolate is.
What is ‘brand awareness’ in raw terms?
Brand awareness is based on how well customers are able to recognize and recall your brand.
Brand recognition and brand recall are both significant aspects of brand awareness.
While brand recognition is based on the customer’s ability to identify or tell a brand apart from others, this does not necessarily mean that customers remember the name of your brand, but merely that they are able to recognize it.
When customers are able to spontaneously remember even the name of your brand, your brand not only is recognizable but also performs an active brand recall.
Why is brand awareness essential for you as a fine/craft chocolate player?
Brand awareness plays a key role in consumer decisions. When faced with several options, brand awareness makes specific choices a little more evident than others. This helps consumers reach their purchase decisions.
Today, the consumer in a fine/craft chocolate shop—or online—is faced with lots of brand options, and therefore it is sporadic to remain 100% loyal to one chocolate brand. To be in as many consumers’ brand repertoires as possible, it is fundamental to drive awareness among category users. Having a low awareness as a brand in a fine/craft chocolate market means that you are more likely to be limited to the heavy category users, that is those who eat chocolate on a very regular basis. The issue with heavy category users is that because they tend to be more knowledgeable, they consequently tend to buy a wider variety of brands. Besides, because they are adventurous connoisseurs, they tend to always look for new brands to try.
Therefore, in order to grow your brand, an underutilized method is to focus on and attract light category users―those who eat fine/craft chocolate less frequently but prone to shopping foods based on the same values (quality, ethics, transparency, indulgence, etc.) for which fine/craft chocolate is sought and appreciated by its loyal buyers. These consumers, in fact, make up a more substantial proportion of chocolate tasters compared to heavy category users, and because they only buy more occasionally fine or craft chocolate, they do not know many brands. As a result of their limited brand repertoire, they tend to show a bit more loyalty just because they have fewer brands to choose from or because they are more likely apt to sustain locally-made products. These buyers may appear difficult to reach, but growth depends on acquiring them with the right approach.
After implementing a proper product distribution, putting together a solid brand awareness strategy is the crucial step in growing business for your fine/craft chocolate brand.
Best time and tools to start planning an effective brand awareness strategy
Summertime is the best period of the year to plan your brand awareness strategy effectively as a craft chocolate or fine cacao brand, as the highest peaks in sales are concentrated during fall, winter, and early spring. However, every time is right when you just need to assess or revise your current branding plan—if you have ever defined one.
What is not entirely acceptable in nowadays’ dynamic market is not having drafted a brand positioning and awareness strategy for your product and your name.
People out there will not buy your products just because you think they are the best on the square—yet without actually being aware of a few other competitors already struggling for the same attention on a blurry vagueness. Potential consumers and customers will buy your brand —and keep doing so—based on how well you are able to transfer the perception of your differentiating value on them, consciously and consistently.
To evaluate or plan a useful brand awareness model from the beginning, I have developed for you as the chocolate brand a thorough questionnaire aimed at assessing the current status of the elements that will make up your personalized brand awareness strategy. The template includes various aspects, such as:
- Brand Identity & Unique Selling Proposition
- Target Audience / Customer Persona
- Product/Packaging Quality & NPD
- Product Sale & Promotion
- Online Positioning & Social Media Marketing
- Promotions & Partnerships
Based on the answers provided, you can perform a more critical evaluation of your branding yourself or request tailored advice to work together on the various aspects to be redefined and improved.
The different questions, spread over 10 pages, have been formulated in such a way as to focus on aspects that exclusively characterize your brand, in order to be able to see it as truly unique and unrepeatable, and therefore recognizable on the market. While some aspects may appear in common for multiple brands, however, the primary purpose of the template is not to take anything for granted so to identify a genuinely personal and differentiating branding strategy that can catch on the mind of your ideal customer persona over time.