New American Chocolate
WIRED magazine founder Louis Rossetto and co-founder Timothy Childs presented Brazer Communications with a unique challenge in 2007: launch a new kind chocolate company for a new generation of chocolate enthusiasts—millennials who seek both high quality and social meaning in their purchases. Rossetto, the company’s first major investor, had recently become its CEO and wanted to make TCHO synonymous with innovation and flavor in the centuries-old and very traditional chocolate industry.
Good communication starts with listening. Mara listens really well. Then she and her team have that unique ability to translate your story into what your target needs to hear. One of the highest ROI investments we made in starting TCHO was hiring Brazer Communications to do our communications.
Our strategy was to offer the TCHO launch story as an advance exclusive to a top-tier daily newspaper to reach the greatest number of our target audiences and generate buzz in the blogosphere. We debuted with a story in the New York Times, working closely with the reporter to help her understand TCHO’s truly unique qualities and approach to making premium, tree-to-bar chocolate. The story immediately generated orders for the company’s first chocolate bars and sparked a blogging frenzy around the young company—within 24 hours of publication, more than 90 bloggers reported on the New York Times story.
Brazer capitalized on the awareness, reaching out to daily newspapers, national magazines and key websites. Early placements in San Jose Mercury News, WIRED, Food & Wine and CHOW.com fueled the media campaign, generating feature stories in newspapers and online publications across America and international coverage in The Economist, a 10-minute segment on GloboTV in Brazil, and widespread international online coverage.
Six years after launch, Brazer Communications’ publicity campaign has generated nearly 90 million media impressions in consumer and trade print, online publications, broadcast and blogs.
Coverage Highlights: The New York Times, San Jose Mercury News, WIRED, The Economist, Martha Stewart Living, Travel+Leisure, Food & Wine, Redbook, Self, Vogue, Pregnancy, Time, Discover, InStyle, United Airlines’ Hemispheres, Forbes.com, BusinessWeek.com, MSNBC.com, Oprah.com, RealSimple.com, Daily Candy, Epicurious, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, Dallas Morning News, San Francisco Chronicle and Gourmet Business.
• Publicity was a significant – and sometimes the sole – driver of TCHO’s web sales, with huge spikes occurring after each major media placement
• By mid-2013, TCHO products were on shelf in more than one thousand specialty food stores in the top 25 U.S. markets, and the company had closed key deals, including one that made TCHO chocolate available in more than 5,000 Starbucks locations across the country. TCHO also is being used by more than 500 chefs and confectioners in everything from desserts and sauces to gelato bars and beer.
• Brazer’s Martha Stewart Living placement directly influenced the decision of Whole Foods buyers to put TCHO on their shelves in spring 2010.
Search Engine Optimization
A 2010 Google analysis compared the number of results returned by a Google search for “TCHO” to searches for competing brand names. With 194,000 results, two-year-old TCHO followed only Hersey and Godiva in a ranking that included older, more established craft chocolate companies Theo, Green & Blacks and Scharffen Berger.
Client testimony: TCHO CEO Louis Rossetto noted to investors that Brazer’s work for his company has “resulted in placements that would have cost millions of dollars if we had bought them…[moreover, the coverage is] worth more than paid media, due to the third party credibility of earned media…” He also told the Brazer team their work provided TCHO with its highest ROI.