The numbers are in and chocolate sales are up, sometimes to record levels, with the economic downturn. Each of the major chocolate manufacturers in the U.S. (and major Swiss chocolate companies) are reporting growth in 2009. What does that tell us? Two things:
- When consumers can’t afford luxury items like plasma TVs and new cars, they replace those luxuries with chocolate. (Okay, that one might be a stretch, but #2 is more important anyway).
- When times get tough, consumers don’t give up comfort items. In fact, they buy more of them!
So that leads us to this question — how can you leverage consumer buying habits during a recession?
The answer is simple — make your brand like chocolate.
Now, you’re probably wondering what the heck I’m talking about. Let me explain the underlying concept. When times get tough, regardless of how people are doing financially, they seek out things that give them comfort and peace-of-mind. Chocolate is a comfort food to many consumers. It’s a small indulgence that brings pleasure and comfort at the same time. It’s a winning combination during a recession.
So “how can you make your brand more like chocolate” simply means — how can you infuse comfort and peace-of-mind into your brand message? This is certainly easier to do for some brands than it is for others. In fact, you might have to think out-of-the box to come up with the right messages that truly speak to consumers’ emotional triggers of comfort and peace-of-mind amidst economic turmoil.
Some brands might follow the path to appeal to item #1 in the list above with messages that say something like, “You can’t afford a car right now, so why not treat yourself to [insert product here]?” Others brands can follow the more effective path to appeal to item #2 in the list above with brand messages that says something like, “When the world gets crazy, you can always rely on [insert product here].”
What do you think? How can you make your brand more like chocolate and truly speak to consumers’ needs during the economic chaos?
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