From confusion to clarity. The tale of two inspired chocolate makers and how I helped them get clear on their brand strategy.

A defined brand story and voice helps connect your customers to what you really care about. Giving them an emotional reason to buy from you and creating loyalty and advocacy.

But what happens when you’re not quite sure how to create that link? You hook up with a business storyteller, of course.

Rebecca Rogers and her business partner Richard Buckley, founders of the divine Oak Restaurant in Bath, took a leap of faith into the artisan chocolate market during lockdown with Harth Chocolate. Creating, IMHO, quite possibly the greatest hot chocolate in the world, they set out to disrupt a traditionally masculine marketplace, defining their place with new feminine energy and creative originality.

My challenge was to help refine Harth’s brand strategy to reflect their personal ambitions and their desire to do something different that would impact not only their customers but the broader world around them.

With drive and creative flair in abundance with them both, I helped them define their purpose, set out a big vision and set the values and guiding principles that support this.

As a result, Rebecca and Richard and the team at Harth now have a well-defined brand story and voice along with a marketing tool kit to tell their story consistently, push their brand harder and grow the business.

“Working with Hilary provided us with a lot of clarity in terms of marketing and new product development (NPD). It has sped up decision making and galvanised our brand.”

Rebecca Rogers, founder of Harth Chocolate

Want to know exactly how I did it? Read on.

Insight into a Business Brand Strategy Workshop

On a cold winter’s day, the three of us huddled around Rebecca’s kitchen table. The electricity was off in the village, and we relied on a neighbour to keep us fuelled with coffee. Conversations quickly got lively, and before long, some fundamental truths started to emerge, forming the backbone of their brand strategy.

“It was quite an intense & cathartic experience.”

Rebecca Rogers, founder of Harth Chocolate

Methodically, I took Rebecca and Richard through the main components; their core positioning (purpose, vision and values), brand positioning (audience, market and goals) and brand persona (personality & voice). Acting as a voice of the customer and, from time to time, devil’s advocate, I ensured both had space to discuss and debate whilst providing some structure to make sure we stayed on track with the workshop’s objectives.

Time for a bit of storytelling magic

Helping them decide, importantly, on their brand’s personality, I had a little trick up my sleeve – my Brand Archetype cards. There are 12 different archetypes ranging from the soft and sensual Lover (think Chanel) to the Magician (Disney) or intrepid explorer (brands like North Face and Patagonia)

Rebecca and Richard quickly ruled out a lot of the brand personalities that didn’t feel like them before settling on Explore and Innocent, both of which align to a desire to explore spirituality. This personality, which focuses on individual fulfilment in the here and now but without standing still, reflects their brand purpose perfectly; to inspire a more natural rhythm that provides space to enjoy the everyday.

Don’t forget the customers.

When you have a product, like chocolate, that’s got universal appeal, it would be easy to skip over this stage. But in fact, it’s even more critical. Rebecca and Richard have a united vision to make their mark in a world dominated by masculine chocolate brands. They want their chocolate to inspire those who identify with strong feminine energy, so we worked hard to explore exactly what this person would look like. By creating a persona and getting deep under their skin, thinking about their fears, regrets, and desires, we were able to make that all-important link between Rebecca and Richard’s purpose and vision and their ideal customer’s emotional and spiritual needs.

When you have two people working together in partnership, in the way Rebecca and Richard do, it’s even more essential to invest in this process, seek agreement and create a united brand platform to move the business forward.

I’ll leave the final say to Rebecca.

“I’d advise any other small business owner facing similar challenges to us to get everything written down early doors and don’t avoid the difficult conversations.”

Wise words indeed.

If you are feeling stuck with your brand and not sure what you stand for or how to talk about it consistently, I can help. Check out my packages on my website and book a FREE 30-minute discovery call to figure out the next steps together.