Magazine article Management Today

Brain Food: Decisions Angus Thirlwell, Hotel Chocolat, Co-founder/MD of the Luxury Mail Order Chocolate Firm

Magazine article Management Today

Brain Food: Decisions Angus Thirlwell, Hotel Chocolat, Co-founder/MD of the Luxury Mail Order Chocolate Firm

Article excerpt

MY BEST ...

The best thing we did was to rebrand ChocExpress as Hotel Chocolat. We'd been ChocExpress since our launch in 1993, but by 2003 we felt the name had shortcomings. The business had changed over the past 10 years, and the brand was like a coat that didn't fit any more. We kept it on but it was uncomfortable.

People used to say that our chocolates were 'surprisingly good' - we felt that the name ChocExpress wasn't giving us the lift necessary for a luxury brand. The main requirement of the name had been to inform people that chocolates could be posted as a gift - quite unusual in 1993. Ten years on, we wanted something with an escapist element. Hotel Chocolat is that: an alluring name that operates on an emotional level.

It was a particularly good decision because it was driven by our own plans; we weren't just reacting to something. The name-change has made us more confident as a business and our growth rate has stepped up - we grew by 40% in the first six months of 2004, which is faster than last year. It's marked a growing-up process for the company. …

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