By Peter Martin, Managing Director, House of Sarunds – a leading continental chocolate and confectionery supplier.
The appeal of chocolate is virtually universal and for this reason it remains one of the most popular promotional products on the market.
With statistics indicating that the confectionery industry is worth over £5 billion in the UK alone, of which chocolates makes up £3 billion, and with an average of just under 200g of chocolate being eaten per person per week, it is clear to see that one of the main attractions of using it as a promotional tool is its huge popularity with the population at large.
This makes it suitable for almost any type of campaign. Whatever the specific business sector or profile of the target audience, there is a chocolate or confectionery product that fits the bill.
While chocolate gifts are most obviously associated with Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Easter and other gift-giving or celebratory occasions, its broad-based appeal means it can be used in promotions all year round. Whether it is an off-the-shelf product or a bespoke item, all campaigns and needs can be catered for.
Retailers operating within the constraints of even the smallest marketing budget can take a number of simple steps to boost their business without breaking the bank.
Key to success is establishing a close relationship with suppliers as they often offer a range of complementary marketing support materials and services. This can range from advice on the most suitable ranges to stock, to how to display them in-store in the most appropriate and appealing way.
Some suppliers, including ourselves, also use the services of an experienced PR agency in order to get their brands known to the wider public and so create a consumer pull for products, thus encouraging them into the shops. A strong and proactive media relations campaign, focusing on well-written, creative editorial and the use of high quality captioned images, has far more impact and credibility than straight forward advertising.
Running competitions in the media is another way of attracting the attention of potential consumers – and for local media the value of the products that must be given away in order to make a competition viable is often not too high. These have the added benefit of carrying visual branding.
In-store tasting sessions are hugely popular with consumers and are a tried and tested way of increasing footfall and attracting new and repeat customers. These can be organised and run without excessive cost.
For example, we offer practical help and stock for in-store tastings, as well as assisting with posters to help publicise the event. We also run regular ‘chocolate workshops’ where our retailers can come and find out everything they need to know about chocolate, from its history, to marketing and promotional tips, giving them plenty of ammunition to use in their own marketing campaigns.
The company has established itself as one of the key players in the luxury chocolate industry, both consumer and promotional. We offer the largest range of exquisite continental chocolates and confectionery available in the UK and are the exclusive distributor of a number of brands including Kimberley’s English handmade chocolates and truffles and Van Coillie handmade Belgian chocolates.
When you add our first-class customer service and presentation expertise into the mix then it is easy to see why buyers of promotional products return to us again and again.
The company was founded in 1987. Since 1999 it has been under the directorship of myself and my wife, who after successful careers working in the City and in retail respectively, were looking for a new challenge that would enable us to work together.
One of the company’s strengths lies in its membership of Veranco, a 37-member Belgian confectionery buying group, of which House of Sarunds is the only member in the UK. Being a member of a co-operative enables us to offer superb value to our customers through competitive pricing and fast delivery of products.
We offer something to suit all tastes and budgets and can bring all the innovation and skills of a specialist chocolate shop on a commercial scale.
Today, the company employs 41 people based in Dorset, including an 18-strong sales force covering the whole of the UK, and has worked for many well-known and prestigious brands including Buckingham Palace, KBC, AXA Healthcare, BT and National Trust sites including Waddesdon Manor, as well as supplying and packing own label products for most of the big retailers and department stores.
In the last seven years the business has grown by 700 per cent and we are confident that this success will continue, given the size of the promotions market and the potential of chocolate and confectionery within it.
Products are sourced from over 50 manufacturers, predominantly in Belgium and Great Britain, but also from other countries including Germany, France, Holland, Italy and Spain and many of the chocolates we supply are handmade according to traditional methods.
This level of quality really makes the products stand out from the crowd and their superiority is recognised by the recipient, which leaves them with an extremely positive impression.
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