Coconut Bliss: A Story of Relationships Marketing

Website Marketingprofs.com has published a case study of a small business that has grown rich by genuinely connecting with its stakeholders.

Coconut Bliss – an ice cream concoction that is organic, vegan, and kosher – started as a dessert for the private use of Luna and Larry Kaplowitz of the Western US town of Eugene, Oregon. Moving out from their friends and family, Coconut Bliss garnered the interest of local environment and sustainable-food advocates, as the product has a smaller carbon footprint than comparable products.

As the Kaplowitzes started to bring the product to market, it was natural for them to consider it something for people like themselves, and their marketing reflects this.

Their campaigns included tasting parties at local homes allowing tasters to chat with the dish’s creators. Further afield, they set up sponsorship tents at festivals and other events that targeted their demographic.

In addition to samples, Kaplowitzes handed out fliers and even petitions for consumers to ask local stores to carry Coconut Bliss. And when stores picked up the product, the couple would build relationships with the retail staff, even personally delivering produce and conducting in-store tastings.

Continuing with the personal touch even as the company grew, the couple personally answer emails and use social media as a relationship builders.

The results have been fantastic, says Kimberly Smith, the case study’s author. Revenues doubled from 2008 to 2009 to reach 5 million dollars annually. 2010 is also expected to be strong.

According to Smith, the lessons to be learned are:

* Get personal and build genuine relationships with people
* Empower advocates to get the products message out
* Befriend your distributors down to the little guy behind the counter
* And lastly, remain true to your roots and retain the qualities that put the product on the map in the first place.

This article is a synopsis of Kimberly Smith’s “Case Study: How a Mom-and-Pop Operation Turned Itself Into a Cult Brand”.

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