I got to participate in a team building exercise on a recent
business trip to Belgium. Zaabar is a Belgium chocolatier in the center of Brussels and they offered a wonderful
experience for our team as well as a delicious marketing lesson.
Separate from the team building aspect, I thought that it
was a helpful reminder of how brands can use a tour, a class or a hands-on experience
to help explain value and differentiation.
We started with a welcomed demitasse sized cup of hot
chocolate. Then our guide provided a short 10 minute video and talk about the
history of chocolate, how it is harvested and some details about the processing
into ingredients that are used for baking or candy making. The brief lecture
and images helped to transport us to the fields of Cote D'Ivoire (Africa) where most cocoa is grown. We got a brief
glimpse into the way the cocoa pod (or fruit) is harvested, dried and
Our guide mentioned that the liquid gel around the seeds is
fermented by locals into an alcoholic drink. We watched as men separated the
fruit from its husk and removed the seeds. It’s pretty dangerous work as they
use a rather course blade to cut into the harden fruit. Then we observed how they separate the cocoa
solids and cocoa butter in the processing room.
I thought we got just the right
amount of information even with the challenge that our presenter spoke English,
not his native tongue to our multi-cultural group from Argentina, Spain,
France, Germany, Italy, Belgium and The U.S. And unlike many wine room tastings and tours, no one was speaking down to me. They used simple and clear language and terms to make the information informative but accessible. There was no jargon or pretense.
Then we got our hands into the chocolate!
An authentic chocolatier showed
us how chocolates are made from the melted liquid. How it is sweeten, tempered
and cooled on the marble slab so that it can be shaped into the proper
consistency of single pieces, bars or irregular shapes. He made it look so easy
as he shaped these elegant chocolate pieces with a dusting of cinnamon, graded
pistachios and an array of decorative toppings. After his brief demonstration,
we got to get our hands into the chocolate as we attempted to do what looked so
easy when done by an expert.
Guess what. It isn't that easy.
|The candies my team created including an N for Nomacorc |
The Marketing Lesson
The important marketing lesson for me came when I got to experience
the value and skill of the craft of being a chocolatier. So often we try and
explain our brands through words, pictures or PowerPoint.
Doing is powerful. Because of the hands on activity, I could truly
understand how hard it is to control the chocolate as I swiftly work against
the chocolate gradually getting warmer.
As we attempted to make our truffles and other sweets, It
was clear why this special chocolate had so much value. We had a first-hand
understanding of where the art and craft merged.
Although it wasn't part of the workshop, I was interested in learning how they handle subtle extracts or flavors like
rose, sage or curry without losing the delicacy of the flavors. He explained it privately to me in language I could easily follow.
I had a much
richer understanding why their prices were so high after the class. And, I was much more willing
to pay this premium because I could experience the artistry that created the value.
The tour helped me connect at an emotional level with the experience and I quickly forgot that I was just buying chocolate.
|Three pieces I created during the class |
What Could You
Is there a part of your business or brand that your
customers could try themselves to help them understand why you charge a
premium? How could you bring a classroom, workshop or tasting room experience to
your target audience?
Imagine a restaurant holding a cooking class for those who
want to learn a few of the secrets of the kitchen? Imagine the Instagram
postings that would come from that experience.
Can a portrait photographer teach a class of Dads how to
make him just a little better when he photographs his kids by revealing a few
tricks of the trade?
Could a coffee roaster offer a class in preparing the
perfect cup of coffee at home?
Can an expensive dress shop create a small demonstration of
how rare the material is in the materials used to construct the finished gown?
Could a winery give consumers a more complete hands on experience? It could be a tiny, small scale version of grape to glass but think how powerful the connections might be for the brand? Maybe they let you smell the sample of soil that you detect in different wines?
|My attempt a creating a 3-D chocolate|
How can you use hands on demonstration to give your customers
a sweeter picture of value? Give away a few of your secrets and in return, your
customers will increase their understand of why they do business with you.
Shameless plug from a proud Dad
If you are interested in food, cooking and laughter, you might enjoy my daughter Fanny's blog called Fanfare Foodie.
After winning the Rachael Ray Cookbook Competition
, she is now busy writing her cookbook and sharing hilarious video tips on food she loves to make. She expects to be on a book tour next year promoting family recipes and inspiration. Come along for the journey.
To keep up with all things Fanny, please sign up on her site. Thanks.
Check it out here
Labels: Belgium Chocolate, Difference, Marketing Hands-On Demos, Marketing Tours, small business marketing, Zaabar Chocolate