Recipe For Chocolate: Mission + product = brand.

Saving animals and eating chocolate bars – it’s a pretty tough combination to beat. At the beginning of 2017, Matchbook was thrilled to partner with leading premium chocolate brand Endangered Species Chocolate (ESC), known for their great-tasting chocolate products as well a commitment to wildlife preservations and habitat conversation. Since 2005, the national chocolate brand has given $5 million to wildlife conservation causes, on top of Fairtrade practices and a daily mission to serve species, habitat and humanity around the globe. Already a top seller in the premium chocolate space and with a wide-reaching audience brought in by their global efforts, ESC wanted our support in reaching their goal of providing one million dollars in annual giveback. With 10% of their net profits given to conservation organizations, more sales would mean more donations to wildlife.


Through our initial investigation, it became clear that the successful company hadn’t yet honed in on the behaviors and characteristics of its consumers. To really accomplish their goal, they needed to know the ins and outs of their current and potential consumers, and identify influences along the path to purchase. We needed to directly pinpoint behaviors and preferences in order to create robust consumer profiles, helping ESC launch a new marketing strategy. We enacted a variety of marketing research methods to analyze ESC consumers, the premium chocolate category and the market as a whole. The research tactics ultimately enabled us to identify five core personas for ESC, each with different needs, shopping tendencies and relationships to the brand.


Listening to our new-found personas told us not only how they shop, but why they buy what they buy. Mission and responsibility in business is more important to consumers today than what was seen in previous times. However, it wasn’t always the main drive to purchase that would push sales toward a one million dollar giveback. By creating a brand scheme that allowed product influences and brand expectations to flow seamlessly together, Matchbook had the opportunity to create an approach for ESC to succeed.

Social Media Engagement

Social media was identified as one of the most effective platforms for ESC consumers and potential customers. We created strategy for how to address the five personas both in platform and in content. Our research determined what the precise balance should be when it comes to how much to talk about mission and how much to talk about things like taste or in-store promotions. And as always, it’s important to think strategically when deciding which platforms are most effective for each specific message.

Blog Emphasis

ESC’s blogs were already effective in sharing delicious chocolate recipes, allowing us to build off an already-established foundation. We built upon this media platform to tell stories involving partnerships with other mission-focused companies, efforts made in Washington D.C., and a feature piece on the company’s product launch sweepstakes.

Internal Resource Utilization

ESC’s Director of Innovation is excellent at making enticing chocolate masterpieces on camera and in their small kitchen/makeshift studio. Who wouldn’t want to watch videos about delicious chocolate recipes? In addition to building up their internal pieces, our team at Matchbook produced stock and lifestyle photography featuring the premium chocolate bars just in time for the holiday season and new packaging launch.

Targeted Earned Media

Today’s media landscape is much more than newspapers and local news channels. This age of earned media is about trusted and authentic third-party endorsements who can assist in reaching a target audience. In addition to traditional media and trade outlets, we amplified ESC’s message to the company’s target audiences through both well-established and locally-known bloggers and social media users, specifically on Instagram and YouTube. These influencer campaigns provide effective rapport with companies and products in today’s information-overload culture.

Successful Digital Initiatives

In the summer of 2018, we discovered a successful formula for a paid digital campaign surrounding Endangered Species Day. In conjunction with one of ESC’s wildlife conservation partners, Rainforest Trust, we were able create an online campaign to raise money to save 11,290 acres of rainforest habitat. In addition to social media ad placements and spreading the campaign organically, we also garnered earned media in the form of a newspaper feature linking to the campaign. Endangered Species Chocolate’s most notable campaign in 2018 was the launch of its dark chocolate and salted peanuts bar. The new product features the African elephant and was accompanied by a big-ticket sweepstakes. This included a grand prize trip for two to Kenya with luxury accommodations and the opportunity to interact with endangered wildlife on safari adventures, among other charming elephant-themed prizes. By combining paid and organic social media efforts, a campaign landing page, strategic partnerships, earned media and influencer marketing, we surpassed ESC's goals early in the campaign. An objective to acquire 15,000 emails over the course of the three month campaign, ESC had acquired 30,000 emails in its first two weeks through targeted messages and mediums.

Marketing For The Mission-Minded

Any company can put values on the wall and have employees memorize the words. Meanwhile, Endangered Species Chocolate truly lives its values every day. Their headquarters, located in Indianapolis, are filled with people who are passionate about what they get to accomplish every day - perfectly aligning with Matchbook and our own principles. Our most meaningful and successful partnerships come from the idea of doing good. In addition to working with Endangered Species Chocolate, we have long-standing partnerships with mission-based organizations, including Indy Humane, Digital Pathology Association, Indianapolis Urban League, Learn More Indiana, Best Breeds, Indy Do Day and NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity. If doing good and helping others sounds like a mission you can stand behind, we’d love to assist in the telling of your story and the growth of your positive impact. From digital campaigns to product launches, we have a devoted team that can help you ignite your cause. Contact us today or call Jenny Dexter at 317-920-1200!