Brand-led finance: Hotel du Chocolat

I like the way Hotel du Chocolat is raising finance to find its expansion. Rather then going to the bank, the firm is asking customers, or rather members, to subscribe to a "Chocolate Bond" issue… and offering to pay interest in chocolate!

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As the website explains:

– The £2,000 Bond: six free Tasting Boxes/year worth £107.70, equivalent to a 5.38% return

– The 
£4,000: Bond: 13 free Tasting Boxes worth £233.35/year, equivalent to a 5.83% return

This is clever on several fronts:

1. Reinforces loyalty of existing members: makes them feel highly involved with the brand, and is a way of sending them a monthly or bi-monthly package

2. Recruits new members: you need to sign up as a member to take part, so it encourages more people to join the brand's fan club

3. Beats paying interest to the bank! Why pay interest, when you can use your own product, driving trial and re-trial

4. PR value: creates great buzz value, from something as mundane as raising finance

In conclusion, shows that "brand-led business" is about using the brand literally in every bit of your business, not just advertising.