Sam Rose - Head of Content

Sam Alexandra Rose

20th July 2018

4 Lessons From Cadbury on How to Leverage the Power of Your Brand Online

A few weeks ago I came across Channel 5 documentary “Inside Cadbury” – a sixty minute look at the history of the chocolate company, from its origins selling drinking chocolate in 1824, to the opening of the factory in Bournville, to the Kraft Foods (now Mondelez International) takeover in 2010. As a marketer and because Cadbury is my favourite chocolate, I’m happy to disregard various reviews that complain the show is just an hour-long advert, and skip straight to what we can learn from the world’s second-largest confectionery brand. What has Cadbury been doing right all these years, and how can we apply this to online marketing?


1. What Cadbury did: Made their name an unavoidable aspect of their chocolate products

The Cadbury brand is prominent across all of its products, leaving customers in no doubt of which manufacturer is responsible for creating their favourite chocolate bars. When was the last time you heard someone say “Nestlé Kit Kat”, or “Mars Maltesers”? Probably never. Compare this to the way in which Cadbury chocolate is branded – “Cadbury’s Crème Egg”, “Cadbury’s Roses” and of course “Cadbury’s Dairy Milk” sound much more natural, because this is how we know them. Cadbury’s chocolate is so easily identifiable in this way.

Similarly, Microsoft have made it difficult for people to forget the brand of their operating systems, by giving them names that can’t be shortened. Consider Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows 98, and so on – these aren’t names that can be shortened, and Windows XP and Vista are perhaps the only exceptions. You can’t talk about the individual product without talking about the brand. This makes for a strong brand presence across not only a variety of products, but across users as new generations are introduced to the latest versions of the operating system.

What online marketers can do: Use your brand name to improve visibility

Try to use your brand name wherever you can – particularly in your paid advertising, search engine listings, and on landing pages. Remember that users could land on any page of your website at any time, and therefore every page offers you a new opportunity to introduce yourself to a new customer. This doesn’t mean that you need “About Us” style text on every page, but it does mean that you should bear in mind that people visiting your website may not have any idea of who you are, and this should be reflected in your website copy. You need to make a good impression on every single page. The same goes for PPC adverts and your SEO efforts – so make sure your brand name is present in your ads and in your page titles and meta descriptions, to breed familiarity among your potential customers.


2. What Cadbury did: Created iconic purple branding

In the programme “Inside Cadbury”, someone declares that if you asked a person in the street to think of chocolate and think of a colour, they would say purple. I’d argue that if someone asked me that question I’d say brown, because that’s the colour chocolate tends to be, but he does have a point. Though the Cadbury packaging was once more lilac and its original form would be less recognisable today, there is no mistaking the purple wrappers and logo – whether you’re looking at today’s design or the designs from twenty years ago.

What online marketers can do: Look after your assets

Have you ever taken a look at the Apple Identity Guidelines? This 56 page document details who can use the Apple logo and trademarks, where they can put them, the contexts in which the Apple name can be referred to, how photos of Apple products should be displayed, and even how large the logo should be.

While SMEs are unlikely to require such stringent rules, it is a good idea to lay out some guidelines so that your logo and branding is consistent across everything you do – including all web pages, marketing channels, and offline collateral. A style guide can help you to define how your brand should be displayed in a variety of situations. For example, if your brand name starts with a lowercase letter, should this also be lowercase at the beginning of a sentence? Apple is protective of its intellectual property because there is a risk of other companies ripping off and therefore damaging their brand. You may not see yourself ever having this problem, but it’s a good idea to be consistent – especially if there is a company out there that has a very similar name to yours.


3. What Cadbury did: Diversified their products while maintaining consistency

There are currently 276 products in the Cadbury range in the UK alone – including their bars, bags, ice creams, desserts, biscuits, travel exclusives, spreads, beverages, cooking products, and seasonal products for Christmas, Easter and Halloween. That isn’t even including any of their previous, now discontinued products (Spira, I miss you). Despite having such a diverse portfolio, every product Cadbury releases fits within their brand – nothing looks out of place or like it might have been created by another manufacturer. Because of this, consumers know what to look for when they want a Cadbury product, and they know what to expect when they get it.

What online marketers can do: Ensure consistency across all marketing channels, products and services

A basic rule of web design is that every page should be consistent. If some pages have a completely different layout, font or colour scheme to others on the website, this could be confusing and the customer may even think they have left your website and ended up on a different one. A strong brand needs consistency in order to increase visibility and familiarity. This means that your branding – including your name, logo, colours, tone of voice within your copy, and so on – should be the same on your website, on your social media pages, within your email newsletters, and in your offline marketing materials. If you are releasing a new product, ensure the way you present it online and market it to your customers is in line with the rest of your brand.


4. What Cadbury did: Remains current and contemporary without losing its roots, history or branding

As highlighted by its large product range, Cadbury continues to change its product offering to keep up with the latest consumer trends and adapt to its changing market. And with 538 products on its discontinued list, the brand knows when to let go of an existing product that isn’t profitable enough, and when to try something new. For example, with people perhaps more focused than ever on healthier living, next year Cadbury will be launching a Dairy Milk bar with 30% less sugar. But during all this, it also knows how to keep hold of its brand despite the changes to its product and the market.

What online marketers can do: Continue to evolve marketing strategies and apply your branding and mission to them

You can apply the same logic to your marketing strategies. The online marketing landscape is always changing, whether it’s a new social media platform being launched, or it’s Google making changes to AdWords (or as it’s now known, Google Ads). The important thing for marketers to do is to analyse these changes and adapt to them effectively without losing sight of their brand. Do find out whether you should try a social media channel you haven’t considered before, or create a new ad campaign or series of mailshots. But when you do, remember what your brand is, how you want to be seen, what your mission is, and who you are targeting.

Consider these lessons from Cadbury first, and you could be on your way to creating your own version of the iconic purple foil, or going viral with the next Phil Collins gorilla advert.

If you would like help with any aspect of your online marketing or website design and development, contact SilverDisc.

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