Explaining our love affair with chocolate

Posted on Posted in Beloved Brands in the Market

chocolateConnecting chocolate with love is easy. Chocolate contains phenylethylamine, the same chemical released in the brain when we fall in love. Eating chocolate can give some people a natural “high” which is often related to the feeling of being in love. It’s a similar addiction that coffee uses to create your morning brand rituals.

Some of the world’s chocolate bar brands are the most beloved and powerful brands in the world. Consumers are passionate about their choices, mainly because chocolate bars usually serve an extremely personal purpose. It could be a pick-me-up in the afternoon, a celebration for when something good happens or recovery when something terrible happens. It is our escape–a guilty pleasure. Chocolate bars connect us back with our youth and give us those childhood feelings of joy.


Brand love explained

I created the brand love curve, which shows the differences in how consumers feel about a brand as they move through five stages. It defines their feelings as unknown, indifferent, like it, love it and onto the beloved brand status.

For unknown brands, the strategic focus should be to stand out so consumers will notice the brand within a crowded brand world. For indifferent brands, the strategy must establish the brand in the consumer’s mind so they can see a clear point of difference. At the like it stage, the strategy is to separate the brand from the pack, creating happy experiences that build a trusted following. And, at the love it stage, the focus shifts to tugging at heartstrings to tighten the bond with the most loyal brand fans. Finally as your brand moves to the beloved brand stage, the strategic challenge is to create outspoken, loyal brand fans who are willing to whisper to their friends on the brand’s behalf.

When did you first love your favourite chocolate brand?

However, do you remember when you tried a Snickers or Reese Peanut Butter Cups for the first time? You likely just kept picking one out from the check-out counter until one became a favorite brand. There’s no logic in your chocolate bar choice–strictly an emotional decision or as Hotspex says an e-rational decision. You likely fell in love with your brand before you could even think. Hearing “NO” from your parents made you want it even more. I know my weakness was that Orange Aero bar….or was it the Big Turk…..or the Caramilk bar.  There aren’t any bad options in my mind.

Tough to break into the chocolate business

An odd fact about chocolate bars is that consumers have been making the same choices for about 50 years now. The top 10 chocolate bars today in your market are the same top 10 chocolate bars in the 1950s; just the order is different. If you look at the top brands (see below) you’ll see that almost all of them launched in the 1920s and 1930s. The only “new” chocolate bar to breakthrough is Twix, which began 50  years ago, and still yet to crack the big time.


Cracking the top 10

There have been many attempts to crack the top 10 but all massive failures.  The factors inhibiting new brands from succeeding:

  • Distribution is tightly controlled by powerful companies like Nestle,  Mars, Hershey, and Cadbury that it’s almost impossible to break through and displace the older brands
  • The amount of advertising dollars spent on key brands is prohibitive of other brands being able to afford it.
  • You make your first brand choices at such a young age that you choose one of the big brands near the check out stand.
    There have been many great ads over the year. The most consistent brand has to be Kit Kat, which started using the tagline of “Have a Break…have a Kit Kat” back in 1957. Now, that’s a big idea!


The last few Super Bowls have produced two of the best chocolate bar ads.  The Betty White Snickers ad was a huge hit, not only during the Super Bowl, but the viral support it spun her into the Saturday Night Live host later that spring.

This year, the M&M’s Naked Guy, not really a big idea but a cute execution.

Necessary ingredients to create brand love

  • Everything must be about the consumer: You need to know your consumers as well as you know your brand. Dig deep to understand and appreciate the consumer insights, enemies and needs. Emphasize consumer benefits, not features. Since consumers always wonder, “What’s in it for me?” communicate what they get from you and talk about how your brand makes them feel.
  • Dare to be different: Your brand needs to stand out as being better, different, cheaper, or else it won’t be around for very long. Be the brand that defines your unique value, rather than adding more clutter to the mountain of clutter.
  • Build everything you do around your brand idea: Your brand idea is the first point of connection and creates the lasting impression. The brand idea is the reason consumers first buy. Every time your brand delivers, the bond tightens just a little more. Whenever you fail to deliver, the consumer goes into doubt mode, wondering if they will stay with your brand.
  • Breakthrough focus: You must focus your brand’s limited resources to key breakthrough points you believe will tighten the bond with your consumers, putting the brand in a more powerful position to drive higher profits. You have to know your consumer, know what your brand stands for and be willing to focus on the strategies that will pay back in building the brand.
  • Passion matters: You must exhibit incredible passion in the marketing execution, consistently focused on surprising your consumers, with a goal of becoming one of their favorite brands. Always remember “I love it” is the highest bar you can set for achieving great work. If you do not love the work, how can you ever expect your consumer to love your brand?

brand love

Brand love generates brand power

The tighter the bond a brand creates with their consumers, the more powerful the brand will become with all stakeholders. Think of brand love as stored energy a brand can unleash in the form of power into the marketplace. You can use that power with consumers, competitors, new entries, employees, influencers, media, suppliers and channel partners.

These beloved brands command power over the very consumers who love them, as consumers feel more and think less. These consumers pay price premiums, line up in the rain, follow the brand as soon as it enters new categories and relentlessly defend the brand to any attackers. They cannot live without the brand.

Beloved brands have power over channel customers, who know their consumers would switch stores before they switch brands. Stores cannot stand up to the beloved brand; instead, they give the brand everything in negotiations. The beloved brand ends up with stronger store placement, better trade terms and better promotions from retail partners.

brand profit

Brand love means brand profits

With all the love and power the beloved brand generates, it becomes easy to translate that stored power into sales growth, profit, and market valuation. Here are the eight ways a brand can drive profits:

  1. Premium pricing
  2. Trading up on price
  3. Lower cost of goods
  4. Lower sales and marketing costs
  5. Stealing competitive users
  6. Getting loyal users to use more
  7. Entering new markets
  8. Finding new uses for the brand.

Beloved brands can use higher prices and lower costs to drive higher margins

Most beloved brands can use their loyal brand lovers to command a premium price, creating a relatively inelastic price. The weakened channel customers cave in during negotiations to give the brand richer margins. Satisfied and loyal consumers are willing to trade up to the next best model. A well-run beloved brand can use their high volume to drive efficiency helping to achieve a lower cost of goods structure.

Not only can they use their growth to drive economies of scale, but suppliers will cut their cost just to be on the roster of the beloved brand. The beloved brand will operate with a much more efficient marketing spend, using their power with the media to generate lower rates with plenty of free media. Plus, the higher sales volumes make the beloved brand’s spend ratios much more efficient. The consumer response to the marketing execution is much more efficient, giving the brand a higher return on investment.

Beloved brands use higher shares of a bigger market to drive higher volume

The beloved brands use their momentum to reach a tipping point of support to drive higher market shares. They can get loyal users to use more, as consumers build the beloved brand into life’s routines and daily rituals.

It is easier for the beloved brands to enter new categories, knowing their loyal consumers will follow. And finally, there are more opportunities for the beloved brand to find more uses to increase the number of ways the beloved brand can fit into the consumer’s life.


To learn more about this type of thinking, you should explore my new book, Beloved Brands.

With Beloved Brands, you will learn everything you need to know so you can build a brand that your consumers will love.

You will learn how to think strategically, define your brand with a positioning statement and a brand idea, write a brand plan everyone can follow, inspire smart and creative marketing execution and analyze the performance of your brand through a deep-dive business review.

Beloved Brands book

To order the e-book version or the paperback version from Amazon, click on this link: https://lnkd.in/eF-mYPe

If you use Kobo, you can find Beloved Brands in over 30 markets using this link: https://lnkd.in/g7SzEh4

And if you are in India, you can use this link to order: https://lnkd.in/gDA5Aiw

Beloved Brands: Who are we?

At Beloved Brands, our purpose is to help brands find a new pathway to growth. We believe that the more love your brand can generate with your most cherished consumers, the more power, growth, and profitability you will realize in the future.

We think the best solutions are likely inside you already, but struggle to come out. Our unique playbook tools are the backbone of our workshops. We bring our challenging voice to help you make decisions and refine every potential idea.

We start by defining a brand positioning statement, outlining the desired target, consumer benefits and support points the brand will stand behind. And then, we build a brand idea that is simple and unique enough to stand out in the clutter of the market, motivating enough to get consumers to engage, buy and build a loyal following with your brand.

We will help you write a strategic brand plan for the future, to get everyone in your organization to follow. It starts with an inspiring vision that pushes your team to imagine a brighter future. We use our strategic thinking tools to help you make strategic choices on where to allocate your brand’s limited resources.

Our brand playbook methodology will challenge you to unlock future growth for your brand

  1. Our deep-dive assessment process will give you the knowledge of the issues facing your brand, so you can build a smart plan to unleash future growth.
  2. Find a winning brand positioning statement that motivates consumers to buy, and gives you a competitive advantage to drive future growth.
  3. Create a brand idea to capture the minds and hearts of consumers, while inspiring and focusing your team to deliver greatness on the brand’s behalf.
  4. Build a brand plan to help you make smart focused decisions, so you can organize, steer, and inspire your team towards higher growth.
  5. Advise on advertising, to find creative that drives branded breakthrough and use a motivating messaging to set up long-term brand growth.
  6. Our brand training program will make your brand leaders smarter, so you have added confidence in their performance to drive brand growth.

To learn more about our coaching, click on this link: Beloved Brands Strategic Coaching

To learn more about our training programs, click on this link: Beloved Brands Training

If you need our help, email me at graham@beloved-brands.com or call me at 416 885 3911

You have my personal promise to help you solve your brand building challenges. I will give you new thinking, so you can unlock future growth for your brand.


Graham Robertson

Founder and CMO, Beloved Brands Inc.