A Marketing Masterclass from Omnom and Zac Efron
Omnom are masters at ‘bridge bars’. We’ll explain this concept below, as well as try to tempt you to enjoy, and to share, some great craft chocolate bridge bars by Omnom and a few other craft chocolate makers.
Finding Craft Chocolate
Once most people try craft chocolate, they get it. Immediately they taste the difference. And many then go on a journey of unwrapping the story behind the bar, realising how much good these bars do for them, the farmers, and the planet.
However, it’s not always easy to get people to try their first craft chocolate bar.
The first problem is one of access. In a pre-covid world, the secret of physical retail was “location, location, location”. But there are very few physical retail stores that stock craft chocolate. In comparison, in London, there are over 500 specialty coffee stores and almost every pub sells craft beer; but the number of physical stores selling craft chocolate is at best a couple of dozen.
Most sales of craft chocolate are therefore online, i.e., via the internet. And if the secret of physical retail is LOCATION, the secret of the internet is SEARCH. Hence Google… though increasingly for many physical products where the customer knows what they want the first port of call is Amazon; growing from less than 20% to over 60% in many categories over the last decade (source: NYTimes).
But if you aren’t aware of craft chocolate, you aren’t going to search for it (and there isn’t much craft chocolate for sale on Amazon). The serendipitous discovery of a great new specialty coffee or craft beer is a LOT easier via your local pub or specialty coffee store.
Back in the day, mass-produced chocolate companies were masters of TV and print advertising. Think back to your favourite childhood bars and you’ll conjure up an iconic advert. And we’ve had great fun assembling links to a few UK examples; the classic lorry, the kid in a cowboy costume, the guy performing amazing feats to deliver a magical box of chocolates, a boyfriend sharing their last whatever, or some beautiful lady romancing a stick of chocolate in some exotic location.
But this sort of FMCG (fast moving consumer goods) advertising is very expensive. And it doesn’t work so well in today’s media environment.
Instead, in the online world, word of mouth and endorsement by recognised (and ideally respected) celebrities reach the parts that others can’t. And, arguably, internet viral marketing is even more powerful with its capacity for exponential growth and ‘blitzscaling’.
Bridging the Final Gap
However, even with a recommendation or endorsement, there is often one final hurdle. For many products and categories, especially one that doesn’t fit an existing habit, consumers are nervous to even try.
And unfortunately, this can be the case with craft chocolate. Many consumers are reluctant to brave the unknown and try a bar made with beans from a place they’ve barely heard of and with a percentage that seems far higher than they are used to.
To cross this final ‘bridge’, craft chocolate makers have crafted bars which incorporate a familiar ingredient, or perhaps a local flavour, that customers recognise, helping them feel comfortable enough to give the bar a try. The familiar thus acts as a ‘bridge’ to a whole new tasting experience; for example:
- Pump Street leverages their baking history to bridge into craft chocolate with their sourdough or rye bar,
- Boho celebrates local US cuisine with their potato chip bar,
- Fjåk in Norway explores local delicacies with their reindeer moss and lingonberry bar,
- TCHO uses local sourdough pretzel pieces to produce an awesome (gluten-free) pretzel bar.
The list of bars, and makers, we have is awesome here; and we’ve assembled over two dozen brilliant bridge bars for you to try.
From the get go, Kjartan and Óskar, the founders of Omnom, have used their Icelandic roots to bridge to local consumers and international tourists. They have an awesome Nordic liquorice bar which is still one of their best sellers. They partnered with a local coffee roastery to make a bar that is like a solid cappuccino. Plus their black n’ burnt barley bar is an extraordinary experiment with local brewers.
Every Christmas they experiment with new local flavours and create more of their amazing packaging. Ditto Valentine’s Day and LGBT pride.
And they’ve just released a bar whose list of local and natural ingredients is as long as the name of an Icelandic saga! SUPERCHOCOBERRYBARLEYNIBBLYNUTTYLICIOUS.
The Great Taste of Zac Efron
In parallel, Omnom has worked another bit of magic. Kjartan and Óskar have become friends with Zac Efron. And Zac has just made a highly-rated Netflix documentary about Iceland. So of course Óscar and Kjartan, plus their crew and their iconic factory in Reykjavík harbour, all feature prominently. And this is an AWESOME mechanic for reaching new customers and persuading them to try Omnom’s bars.
Share the Love
If only every craft chocolate maker could persuade Zac Efron (or another celebrity actor with great taste) to try, and fall in love with, their bars.
But there is another way. It doesn’t have to be a celebrity who shares their appreciation of craft chocolate. A recommendation from a friend, family member, partner or colleague also works especially if it’s to an accessible, ‘bridge bar’.
So we’ve assembled a bunch of great bridge bars, see below for a few too. And we’d ask that you too share the love, just like Zac, and recommend these to your friends, family, and colleagues.