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A Word About Chocolate

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I’d like to share a case study about chocolate. Yes, that’s right, chocolate.

Torn Ranch, a purveyor of distinctive gifts and gourmet specialty foods recently brought us on board to begin a public relations campaign. When you develop a reputation for making countless varieties of all-natural chocolate truffles and you have been among the best for decades, you can count on a certain camaraderie from your customers. But what of the public?

The team at Torn Ranch was ready to see how its commitment to fine ingredients and tasty treats translated to the world of social media. Torn Ranch was ready for a financial  return on investment (ROI), which is one of the first things that the average business considers in their strategic decisions.

In the case of Torn Ranch, it had great products and years of experience. Torn Ranch’s scenario begs the questions: How powerful is the allure of chocolate? Need you offer someone a free sample? Or show them a picture? Or would just the sheer mention of it send sweet-toothers hovering towards you, bound by predictable universal laws like gravity and chocoholism?

And so began a Facebook contest that involved a cost-effective customized application to see who was interested in spreading the word or learning more. The 10 Facebook fans that Torn Ranch started with on Tuesday morning grew to over 700 by Friday; a four-day growth of 7,000%. The application also helped to record contact information for over 900 people, which doubled the size of the database they had spent 30 years collecting.

Projects that offer first class ROI are going to be the most attractive, in tune with our mantra to “Get Results.” You have to know your competitive advantage and fly that flag high to be able to reap the benefits of quality business practices. If there are 50 frozen yogurt chains in your city, you’d remember which one delivers to your door, or sings a song when you walk in, or makes their own hot fudge from scratch. They would make sure you remembered it.

Torn Ranch bakes, roasts and creates its artisanal items upon order, providing maximum freshness on a wide selection of products. For over 30 years, Torn Ranch has focused on using only the best ingredients and combining its products with innovative packaging, including eco-friendly packaging options. AND they know chocolate. These strengths made it easy to like their company, literally.

Figure out how to be effective and determine what differentiating features make your company special. You’ve found a niche. THAT’s your competitive advantage.

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Eric Lachs is the Marketing and Public Relations Manager at Marketing Matters (www.marketingmatters.net), a communications and design firm specializing in technology, consumer and custom electronics, audio-video and related industries.