Difficult and still great

With Maison Cailler, Nestlé launched a completely new chocolate offering at the beginning of 2012. The feedback agency Exsider.com examined the offer and the experience of the first few months as part of an exclusive study.

Nestlé launched Nespresso in 1986, redefining the pleasure of coffee. Initially a flop, Nespresso later became a resounding success. Today, Nestlé Nespresso has global sales of more than 3.5 billion Swiss francs and organic growth of about 20 percent. "Despite turbulent economic times, and despite the fact that choice in the premium portioned coffee market continues to increase, customers chose Nespresso last year in search of pure moments of pleasure," says Richard Girardot, CEO of Nestlé Nespresso.


Maison Cailler as it was in the old days

26 years later, Nestlé wants to repeat this unique success and 12 months ago launched Maison Cailler, a completely new chocolate concept. In their press release Nestlé writes: " Maison Cailler fuses the traditional chocolatier's art of Cailler with the most exquisite ingredients and a tailor-made service to create haute couture chocolate of first-class quality." We get that. But we didn't quite understand the new Maison Cailler concept. We asked ourselves whether this is due to our inability to understand or whether this concept is actually not very easy to understand, and therefore, as part of a small study on Maison Cailler, we first talked to three of Maison Cailler's competitors and then also talked on site with Cedric Lacroix, CEO of Maison Cailler, André Hefti, Marketing Manager Maison Cailler, and with Florian Helmke-Becker from The Pool and responsible for PR.

With quite amazing results and a complete change of heart on our part. But take a look for yourself. Maison Cailler describes its offer as follows: "Maison Cailler offers the ultimate luxury in indulgence: personalised chocolate. Using a specially developed process, connoisseurs can determine their personal chocolate character in the comfort of their own home - and the "tailor-made" chocolate will follow by return of post! Maison Cailler, the new luxury brand from Cailler, creates chocolate tailored to individual tastes. In numerous sensory studies, Maison Cailler has developed an exclusive process to reveal individual aromatic preferences and thus determine the personal chocolate character. This means that connoisseurs - whether for themselves or as a gift for their best friends - can rely on tailor-made indulgence, a box of chocolates full of favourites.
When an order is placed, the recipient first receives the ChocoTasteur. The box contains five different chocolate samples. These are evaluated online in a simple questionnaire, and the corresponding chocolate character is determined on the basis of the scientific process. In a second step, Maison Cailler uses this profile to create a selection of fresh chocolates that is perfectly tailored to the consumer's preferences and reaches him or her within 48 hours. Whether ChocoArty, ChocoCooning or ChocOla, the selection is made from 21 different recipes created exclusively to delight the palate of the discerning chocolate lover. The chocolates are supplied in coffers of one to five layers - as assortments, with just one variety or regularly as exceptional limited editions.

Character online

Meaning this: The whole thing is an online offer and only an online offer. I order a sample pack with different chocolate pieces in different flavours. I taste the chocolate pieces and rate them online on the Internet. Based on this rating, my "character" is determined, and according to this character I receive a special chocolate selection. That's why Maison Cailler's advertising says: "Your taste has character". Because it really does.
These characters are also described on the Maison Cailler website. For the ChocoCocooning character, for example, it says: Long live naturalness. They are trusting, confident and loyal. They value sincere relationships, nature and an original way of life. Your home is a cozy, warm cocoon, characterized by plain white china and honey-scented wood. You love to cook and bake and spoil your loved ones with homemade gifts. Your motto: "Clear as a mountain stream". You like simple ingredients like chocolate with fresh milk, noble vanilla, fine hazelnuts or caramel according to an old-fashioned recipe.

Gift as a goal

But the character is only the beginning, because Maison Cailler not only redefines chocolate consumption, it also wants to establish itself above all as a future gift concept. So you shouldn't so much order the chocolate for yourself as give it to someone as a gift. That means, first I don't give him the chocolate, but rather the selection pack, on the basis of which the chocolate taste can be determined, on the basis of which I then get my chocolate character selection. And this is not just any chocolate, but a very special chocolate, haute couture made from the very best cocoa beans, produced by the very best chocolatiers and packaged in the very best way. Cedric Lacroix sums it up: "I am convinced that the Maison Cailler way is the way chocolate will be sold in the future. Personalization is a trend, client service is a must, brand engagement is a must, social media is a must and e-commerce is booming."

Two problems

For all its future, Maison Cailler is currently struggling with two main problems: firstly, emotions and secondly, understanding. Maison Cailler is not yet emotional. "Schoggi", says André Hefti, "works 100 percent through emotions. Sales have to be emotional, that's the case with all luxury products. A visit to the chocolatier is emotional. Communicating these emotions via the Internet is very difficult. Because quasi par défaut, the Internet is distant." And the concept isn't really understood yet either. "At the beginning," says André Hefti, "we overestimated the consumer a bit at best and had to make some adjustments there. Message simplified. In the sense of an elevator pitch, where you have to explain the system in the shortest possible time and at the same time create an emotional connection.

Two approaches

Maison Cailler tried and still tries to address these two issues through various adaptations. On the one hand, they want to build a closeness and emotional connection to the customer via social media. That's why on the Facebook page of Maison Cailler you don't see the company, not even the factory, but five employees who talk about their everyday life. Even the website, which was beautiful but also a bit cold at the beginning, is now trying to be warmer and more emotional. On the other hand, they are trying to find access to the problem of understanding by simplifying and emotionalising it. The solution can be seen in the new campaign. The message and the visual structure have been drastically simplified. Less small, different things, but rather a clear image with clear access. In the first campaign, according to André Hefti, they were too advanced in terms of content and had already talked about the different chocolate characters. Everything was far too detailed. The new campaign focuses on a simple, clear and, above all, emotional hook. Take a look at the two ads and judge for yourself. Maybe it's a bit more emotional now and maybe a bit simpler. All in all, it's better.

Still great

But the adaptations show above all what is really great about Maison Cailler: you adapt. Perhaps one day you will find the chocolate in the Nespresso flagship store and be able to taste and order it there and then. We, for example, would like to be able to choose chocolate that suits the character of the gift recipient, because engaging with your counterpart, thinking about them, what they would like, is the most beautiful gift. Nestlé also does not assume that they know everything and can plan everything. No, rather they set up the project generously and for the long term, studying consumer reactions and constantly optimizing. All according to the trial-and-error principle. That's why Cedric Lacroix quite rightly said: "Our biggest problem: loosing the vision! Loosing sight of where we want to go!" This is precisely why Maison Cailler is a great project, which we can only hope will be successful and thus also serve as a model for far-sighted, entrepreneurial action.

David Guggenbühl and Boris R. Lautenbach


Long live naturalness
They are trusting, confident and loyal. They value sincere relationships, nature and an original way of life. Your home is a cozy, warm cocoon, characterized by plain white porcelain and honey-scented wood. You love to cook and bake and spoil your loved ones with homemade gifts. Your motto: "Clear as a mountain stream". You like simple ingredients like chocolate with fresh milk, noble vanilla, fine hazelnuts or caramel according to an old-fashioned recipe.

Life is a work of art
Sophisticated and always elegant, you prefer to surround yourself with people who have clear views. You yourself do not hang your flag according to the wind. You see challenges as opportunities, as an incentive for top performance. Always on the lookout for new things, you also let your loved ones share in your discoveries. Your motto: "Life is a work of art." You like the refined taste of a dark, tart chocolate - gladly accentuated by delicate vanilla notes or refined by fruity aromas.

Life makes you happy
You are always optimistic. You feel most comfortable in the company of your friends. Full of energy and enthusiasm, you inspire yourself and others. Somewhere and somehow you always have a project going on. You don't want to do without high-tech, but you are committed to alternative energies, because sustainability is close to your heart. Your motto: "Everyone should be happy." You like milk chocolate just as much as dark, in combination with intense cocoa flavours, roasted hazelnuts and melt-in-the-mouth caramel.

To live is to discover
You are a passionate researcher. This curiosity also extends to deciphering your own personality. Step by step you gain self-confidence and understand how to turn your weaknesses into strengths. You love challenges for body and mind and get to the bottom of things. Your motto: "Know yourself!" You like exotic treats. Enjoying sophisticated dark ganaches and milk chocolates, enhanced with vanilla, fruits or spices. The ideal combination? Sensual textures and rich flavours.

The full life
You are in the here and now. You love strong feelings and experience every moment as something extraordinary. You don't let setbacks stop you. Together with your friends - the more the merrier - you constantly want to experience something new and get excited about something special. Your motto: "Enjoy life together". You like creamy dark or milk chocolate with intense caramel, almond and citrus flavours. You like to experiment in order to discover new flavours again and again.

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