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Philip Poole – Whittaker’s winning formula

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In the final Unleash Your Potential Speaker Series presentation for 2017, the speaker was Philip Poole. He has been Whittaker’s head of marketing since 2002 and as such is an extended member of the Whittaker’s family dynasty. Philip has seen the company pledge for ethical-production, make unexpected collaborations with other brands, master social media and navigate the sometimes-choppy waters of celebrity endorsement. Whittaker’s have won accolades as New Zealand’s most trusted brand every year since 2012. Moreover, they are consistently improving their share in a valuable market. In 2016 New Zealand chocolate sales totalled $365 million.

Philip shared the Whittaker’s story, the principles that Whittaker’s follow to develop and bring products to market and the key to their success as an iconic and immensely succesful family-owned New Zealand brand. The main outake from Philip was that “There’s no silver bullets in all of this, it’s the result of very hard work”.

Here are Philip’s other key insights into the entrepreneurial values and strategic business model of the family-owned company that has won the hearts and sales of New Zealanders:

A family owned business
Whittaker’s is a proud family owned business with the fourth generation of the Whittaker family now involved in key management roles. Being family owned and New Zealand based is central to their organisational values. “We are fully committed to New Zealand, we are not moving to China, Thailand, Australia or anywhere, we’ve invested a lot in our factory and we’re continuing to invest.”

Most trusted and loved brand
Whittaker’s are immensely proud of the recognition that their brand has received as the most trusted and most loved brand in New Zealand. They believe that their strict focus on product quality is why they win these accolades. Philip says that everyone in the company is proud to be the “only team in the world that continually beat the All Blacks” to be New Zealand’s most loved brand.

A strong brand culture
When it comes to choosing chocolate, consumers are bombarded with choice. Whittaker’s competitors are global companies with much greater resources to put behind their products. Whittaker’s approach is to focus on building a strong brand culture, “we have to make sure that what we do is better than what they do, or we won’t survive.”

Philip explained that a strong brand culture is a magnet to consumers, drawing them into your brand community. “We want to move people from being spectators, that’s people that are aware of the brand, to supporters. And supporters of a brand will not go to another brand.”

Quality is critical
Quality is at the centre of Whittaker’s strategy “we’re fanatical about the quality of the product. You’re going to put it in your mouth, you do not want to be disappointed”. The approach that distinguishes Whittaker’s from other New Zealand chocolate manufacturers is that they manage the whole manufacturing process from bean to final product. “By doing it yourself, you guarantee the quality.”

A strong brand story
Whittaker’s has become a shining example of brand storytelling and communicating their brand story through a variety of engaging channels. “All great brands have good stories behind them” Philip explained, “we focus on what is unique to Whittaker’s”.

When Whittaker’s launched their new creamy milk chocolate, they were faced with the challenge of convincing their loyal consumers that changing the recipe for their chocolate was in their benefit and would make their favourite product even better. When Whittaker’s put the challenge to their advertising agency the response was “there’s only one person in the world that can convince people to buy this new improved chocolate, Nigella Lawson”.

Whittaker’s then leveraged their success with Nigella Lawson to promote the brand story for their new Artisan chocolate range. This range took them into a new product category in which they have taken substantial market share from their main competitor, Lindt.

What have we learned?
Whittaker’s have developed a strong brand with a compelling brand story. Their approach involves using their brand community of over “700,000 followers on Facebook” for consumer research. They tap into their talent and intuition then act quickly to try new approaches. Philip shared that taking risks is essential to their approach “I always think taking risks is the fun part of the business.”

Philip Poole spoke at the University of Auckland as part of the Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship Unleash Your Potential Speaker Series.

Watch the video of the full presentation

 

Philip Poole – Whittaker’s winning formula

Philip Poole has been Whittaker’s head of marketing since 2002.

Philip Poole – Whittaker’s winning formula

Philip Poole has been Whittaker’s head of marketing since 2002.

social media

In the final Unleash Your Potential Speaker Series presentation for 2017, the speaker was Philip Poole. He has been Whittaker’s head of marketing since 2002 and as such is an extended member of the Whittaker’s family dynasty. Philip has seen the company pledge for ethical-production, make unexpected collaborations with other brands, master social media and navigate the sometimes-choppy waters of celebrity endorsement. Whittaker’s have won accolades as New Zealand’s most trusted brand every year since 2012. Moreover, they are consistently improving their share in a valuable market. In 2016 New Zealand chocolate sales totalled $365 million.

Philip shared the Whittaker’s story, the principles that Whittaker’s follow to develop and bring products to market and the key to their success as an iconic and immensely succesful family-owned New Zealand brand. The main outake from Philip was that “There’s no silver bullets in all of this, it’s the result of very hard work”.

Here are Philip’s other key insights into the entrepreneurial values and strategic business model of the family-owned company that has won the hearts and sales of New Zealanders:

A family owned business
Whittaker’s is a proud family owned business with the fourth generation of the Whittaker family now involved in key management roles. Being family owned and New Zealand based is central to their organisational values. “We are fully committed to New Zealand, we are not moving to China, Thailand, Australia or anywhere, we’ve invested a lot in our factory and we’re continuing to invest.”

Most trusted and loved brand
Whittaker’s are immensely proud of the recognition that their brand has received as the most trusted and most loved brand in New Zealand. They believe that their strict focus on product quality is why they win these accolades. Philip says that everyone in the company is proud to be the “only team in the world that continually beat the All Blacks” to be New Zealand’s most loved brand.

A strong brand culture
When it comes to choosing chocolate, consumers are bombarded with choice. Whittaker’s competitors are global companies with much greater resources to put behind their products. Whittaker’s approach is to focus on building a strong brand culture, “we have to make sure that what we do is better than what they do, or we won’t survive.”

Philip explained that a strong brand culture is a magnet to consumers, drawing them into your brand community. “We want to move people from being spectators, that’s people that are aware of the brand, to supporters. And supporters of a brand will not go to another brand.”

Quality is critical
Quality is at the centre of Whittaker’s strategy “we’re fanatical about the quality of the product. You’re going to put it in your mouth, you do not want to be disappointed”. The approach that distinguishes Whittaker’s from other New Zealand chocolate manufacturers is that they manage the whole manufacturing process from bean to final product. “By doing it yourself, you guarantee the quality.”

A strong brand story
Whittaker’s has become a shining example of brand storytelling and communicating their brand story through a variety of engaging channels. “All great brands have good stories behind them” Philip explained, “we focus on what is unique to Whittaker’s”.

When Whittaker’s launched their new creamy milk chocolate, they were faced with the challenge of convincing their loyal consumers that changing the recipe for their chocolate was in their benefit and would make their favourite product even better. When Whittaker’s put the challenge to their advertising agency the response was “there’s only one person in the world that can convince people to buy this new improved chocolate, Nigella Lawson”.

Whittaker’s then leveraged their success with Nigella Lawson to promote the brand story for their new Artisan chocolate range. This range took them into a new product category in which they have taken substantial market share from their main competitor, Lindt.

What have we learned?
Whittaker’s have developed a strong brand with a compelling brand story. Their approach involves using their brand community of over “700,000 followers on Facebook” for consumer research. They tap into their talent and intuition then act quickly to try new approaches. Philip shared that taking risks is essential to their approach “I always think taking risks is the fun part of the business.”

Philip Poole spoke at the University of Auckland as part of the Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship Unleash Your Potential Speaker Series.

Watch the video of the full presentation

 


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