Bring your confections to life with these marketing tactics during National Candy Month

Sweeten your bottom line

June is National Candy Month, so now’s the time to take to your social media channels — you’re on the big ones, right? — and use the hashtag #NationalCandyMonth to increase traffic and awareness. But before you do, let these successful marketing tactics inspire you to do something truly special this month.

6 ways to market during National Candy Month

If you play your cards right, you can use these six tips to highlight your delicious sweets during National Candy Month.

  1. Forge strategic partnerships.

  2. Switch up your store’s setup and packaging.

  3. Capitalize on current events.

  4. Combine candies to create something new.

  5. Share sweet stories.

  6. Use social media to do something special.

Ready to celebrate? Break out those tasty treats and keep reading!

1. Forge strategic partnerships

Holidays are the perfect time to step up your game and encourage customers to shop locally rather than online or at major retailers.

This year for Valentine’s Day, MoKaya, a chocolate shop in Grand Rapids, Mich., partnered with local distillery Long Road Distillers to make chocolates infused with the award-winning spirits.

The partnership landed both companies plenty of press coverage in western Michigan and likely helped more than a few folks find special gifts for their sweethearts.

It wasn’t the first time MoKaya had partnered with other local companies. The chocolatier regularly makes chocolates with local breweries like Founders Brewing Company and its popular KBS (or Kentucky Breakfast Stout), generating buzz in the process.

Pro tip: Identify local companies you could partner with for National Candy Month and approach them with a plan. Perhaps there’s a local winery that could provide wine for a special wine and chocolate tasting event at your store.

2. Switch up your store’s setup and packaging

National Candy Month Happy Pills
Photo via Happy Pills Facebook

One quick way to get attention is to create a unique or themed setting inside your store.

Many candy shops look very similar, with rows of glass cases showcasing their selection of sweets. But Happy Pills in Spain makes customers feel like they’re filling out a prescription. The pharmacy-themed candy shop does it fairly simply, too — a clean white motif, plenty of medical crosses on the bins, and pill bottles as packaging.

Pro tip: Slight adjustments to your existing store, maybe inspired by a local landmark, could set the community on fire with social photos.

3. Capitalize on current events

National Candy Month Golden Knights
Photo: Courtesy of the Vegas Golden Knights

The hockey world was abuzz in chocolate talk this spring. Why? The Bellagio Patisserie in Las Vegas had unveiled a giant chocolate sculpture of Golden Knights goalie Marc-Andre Fleury to celebrate the start of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The team took notice, and Fleury himself made a visit to the chocolate replica. Social media and news outlets around the country ate it up, making it well worth the five weeks the pair of pastry chefs spent working on it.

What would resonate locally for National Candy Month? It could be a sports team, a celebrity or a popular local event. While a lifesize replica is a tall order, even small logoed pieces can create big buzz.

4. Combine candies to create something new

Candy comes in all shapes and sizes, and there’s no reason you can’t put a few together to form something greater.

Cadbury Dairy Milk decided to celebrate 1 million Facebook page likes by making a giant chocolate thumbs-up — like the Facebook like symbol — out of thousands of individual chocolate bars. A real-time stream of the process garnered more than 350,000 views, and after a picture of the stunt went viral, the page gained another 40,000 page likes.

Pro tip: If you don’t have a particular milestone to mark, think about spelling out a holiday greeting, like “Happy Father’s Day,” with different types of candies. Don’t forget to post a picture online. A well-done image could encourage increased social engagement and, at the very least, attract shoppers looking to get their chocolate-loving dads a gift.

5. Share sweet stories

In 2016, Necco celebrated the 150th anniversary of its Sweethearts candy by releasing a video called The 55th Valentine. The video featured two men, Jack and George, who had been together for 55 years but had married just that year. It was part of the company’s digital Share Your Sweet Story campaign, in which people were invited to share their stories of love.

The campaign proved marketing doesn’t have to be centered on a product, but can extend to a brand’s identity.

It also showed the power of crowdsourcing content. So start mining your customers to find people willing to share stories that represent your brand.

6. Use social media to do something special

Sure, Snickers might be one of the behemoths of the candy world with a budget to match, but there’s a reason it won Best in Show at Adweek’s Media Plan of the Year awards.

In Australia, the candy bar brand linked social media outrage to the price of Snickers at 7-Eleven stores. The angrier the public got in Australia, the cheaper the candy became. Playing on the brand’s successful tagline, “You’re not you when you’re hungry,” customers were sent digital coupons when they were angry about whatever it might be that day, from Brexit to “Game of Thrones” spoilers.

In a five-week period, the price changed more than 5,000 times, and Snickers sales increased 67 percent with 6,600 coupons redeemed.

 

What’s more, the brand’s social activity skyrocketed with a 1,740-percent increase in Facebook traffic and a 120-percent gain in Twitter mentions. According to Adweek, Mars, the owner of Snickers, is looking to launch similar campaigns in the United States.

Your shop may not have the luxury of a multimillion dollar marketing budget and complex “Hungerithms,” but doing targeted outreach on social media could create similar local buzz. Who knows, you could even go viral this National Candy Month.

Pat Evans
Pat Evans is a freelance writer and corporate historian in Las Vegas, NV, and Grand Rapids, MI. Along with histories and marketing content, Pat focuses editorially on business, food & beverage and sports. Following five years at the Grand Rapids Business Journal, Pat now writes regularly for Grand Rapids Magazine, Las Vegas Food & Beverage, The Manual and Nevada Business Magazine, among others. His content work ranges from former professional athletes to food and beverage companies. His first book, Grand Rapids Beer, was published in 2015. His second, Battle Born Beer, is due out in late 2018.