Move Over Mr. Wonka
Detroit Local Case Study #5
Not since Willy Wonka has chocolate been so fun. Mr. Wonka has nothing on the women of Bon Bon Bon. For this Detroit-local case study, I want to look at a business that embodies the idea that a brand is a reciprocal relationship with its customers and fans.
In their own words, Bon Bon Bon is:
"an artisan, luxury-in-a-sense, chocolatier hand-making fresh, good goodies or Bon 'bonbons' in Hamtramck, the heart of Detroit, Michigan."
As a brand geek (and chocolate fiend) there are so many things I love about them:
- They're women owned and operated (by the Babes Babes Babes)
- They're Michigan inspired/educated/based
- They LOVE their work/their product/their customers
- They have the support of a village
- They are plugged into the "attainable luxury" trend
- They have a supporting cast that includes a dog, a cat, and a darling little girl
- They have a custom mural in the new storefront
- And, talk about infectious enthusiasm! They have that in spades.
Alex Clark's business has enjoyed national acclaim and a loyal following not only for its amazing products, but also because of the relationship Bon Bon Bon fosters. You don't have to have ever actually purchased their product to root for them from the sidelines. They make social media relationship marketing look effortless--and completely authentic. Plus, they're agile. They can brainstorm an idea like a limited-time Flaming Hot Cheetos Bon and make it happen. And, they can enlist their friends to help drive awareness. Word-of-mouth consideration from friends and family? Check.
For those of you who've never been there, let me describe the purchase experience. The new shop features a retail storefront with a window into the chocolate-making process so customers can feel a part of the "food science" that happens there. The purchase experience involves a series of Monopoly-like cards on a counter above each selection. Customers indicate their choices by moving up the Monopoly cards. Then, these selections are encased in corrugate and wrapped in shipping tape and stamped with the flavors of the Bons inside. The packaging perfectly illustrates the brand attributes--communicating both functional (protect the chocolate) and emotional (gritty and hip, as far from Godiva as you can get, rooted in the brand's where) attributes.
Finally, Bon Bon Bon enjoys the support of its fellow local business owners. It's an illustration of the cooperatition that uniquely personifies Detroit's entrepreneur culture. Although these brands compete for disposable dollars, they aren't cutthroat. You can see all kinds of examples of them helping each other. They effectively extend their own reach by partnering with their community and celebrating each others' successes.
If you haven't already tried Bon Bon Bon, get on it. And, if you have a Detroit-local case study you'd like to share, please do!