This was the view of a cash register I had at a chocolate retailer in O’Hare airport. The chocolate was great. The branding was horrible – an absolute fail.

The purchasing of chocolate is a near-holy event for me. It ranks as one of the all-time great inventions of the human race, surpassing the light bulb, penicillin, and the wheel – and I don’t think I’m alone in this opinion. Given that, when you’re selling expensive specialty chocolate, you might want to align your brand with consumer expectations.

The causes of brand negligence

  1. They’re busy eating – I haven’t had time to study this chocolate company, visit their website or look into their other retail points of sale. All I have to go on is the O’Hare experience. So I could give them the benefit of the doubt and assume they’re so busy eating chocolate they have no time to worry about their branding. As a chocoholic, I completely understand.
  2. Manufacturers, not marketers – I’ve found that most companies fall into one of two camps: They’re either marketers or they are manufacturers. Marketers know they need to market a product to sell it. Manufacturers believe if they build it, customers will buy it no matter what. Maybe the chocolate company is right. Maybe they don’t need to project a brand message at all. I would certainly go back for the chocolate covered raisins even though I’m completely put off by the messaging on the cash register.
  3. Not carrying through – I’ve seen many instances of brand message breakdown at the retail level. Sure, companies print their posters and have them put up in their retail franchises, but that’s not the only brand touch-point. The words their customer-facing staff speak to consumers are also their brand. This is usually not given the attention it deserves.

User interface at every interface

Every company should ask themselves what would serve customers at every point of contact with their brand. As far as I know, that retail experience is all the chocolate store has got. I sure hope not.

I have not been to their website, on purpose. Their website, even if it’s a fabulous experience, no longer matters because the termination point I had with their brand would greatly damage any other good experience. As marketers, we must focus on all areas of customer and prospect experience.

ion Leap is a New Jersey based content marketing service that helps clients plan and execute all aspects of their marketing more effectively, more cost-efficiently, and more inventively.

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