Endangered Species Chocolate: Discovering and branding the consumer journey.

Endangered Species Chocolate (ESC) is the number one ranked premium, natural chocolate brand on the market, and a leader in the ethical chocolate space. However, in order to continue growing and expanding their success, they needed to base themselves in a firmer foundation of knowledge about their consumers. Knowing they needed consumer understanding to inform future marketing opportunities and initiatives to be as successful as possible, it all stemmed back to ESC’s overarching goal: to increase the funds allotted in their 10% GiveBack program to nonprofits to one million over the next few years.
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Mission

Endangered Species Chocolate is a premium chocolate brand, built on sustainable practices and empowering conservation efforts across the globe through charitable donations. As the first chocolate brand in the world to source all of its cocoa from fully certified Fairtrade farms in West Africa, their mission of supporting species, habitat and humanity across the globe starts at the source. At the heart of this mission is their GiveBack program, where 10% of their annual net profits go to organizations working for the benefit of endangered species and their habitats. As a mission-driven company, they’ve ignited our passion in all of the work we have done for them.

Process

Upon beginning our partnership with ESC, we first performed an investigation and audit of the company’s then-current messaging and targeting. We discovered that, while they remained successful in sales and perception, they didn’t have a comprehensive knowledge of their consumers’ characteristics and regular purchasing behaviors. This drove us to enter and complete an intensive research and analysis process, examining personas and trends for chocolate consumers as well as market trends within the industry. At the end of our research, we consolidated the information we gathered into the formation of five core consumer personas. Two of these top-tier target audiences had, to date, been largely under represented by the brand, while three additional sub-markets were identified as growth areas for ESC over the next five years.

Our research revealed how these personas shop for chocolate, but also the reasons why they buy the brands that they buy. While ESC’s mission is an important factor for consumers, it was not the only driving force that generated increased sales. Modern consumers additionally crave a more engaging brand experience, immersing the brand into multiple lifestyle aspects and allowing them to become omnipresent across multiple channels. In light of these research insights, Matchbook was positioned to adjust the ESC brand and efforts in a way to fit with the ideal consumer journey.

To make ESC as relevant and powerful as possible, Matchbook began implementing the marketing strategy, driving brand and marketing decisions alongside ESC’s marketing team. This included early decisions into their experiential and sales approach and delved into a rebrand for the organization. Digital development and engagement were important to build out, all paired with a new physical look for the brand and its packaging. We analyzed our target personas and found that social media and blog content, strategically placed across different platforms according to the type of content, were ripe to create increased engagement and brand success. We implemented a new media strategy regarding owned, earned and bought media. Whether through social channels, influencer marketing or a highlighted branded look for the business, our efforts continued to allow ESC to expand their influence with defined personas through strategic efforts.

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Results

As a result of more targeted and strategically-focused messaging and brand presence, ESC saw increased consideration and engagement from their targeted customer personas.

This reinvigorated brand messaging led to increases in sales and smart plays in the market. A targeted one-day sale partnership with Zulily as a result of persona research led to Zulily’s most successful chocolate sale ever. As a result of our branding activities, ESC saw a spike in sales and a 58% increase in website traffic. Since our involvement, ESC has continued to see consistent successes and exciting new partnerships with large-scale retailers including Walmart. Our most meaningful and successful partnerships come from the idea of doing good, and ESC has provided us an opportunity to aid a powerful cause with global implications.