1. The idea
The idea of a dark chocolate version of Cadbury Flake was only one of many that came out of the 'original ideas workshop' held when the company decided to take the brand forward with a new variety.
The meeting - called in full marketing speak 'an Ideation workshop' - involved Cadbury Trebor Bassett (CTB) employees who were in the target demographic and who had an understanding of the brand.
Following this session the ideas generated in the meeting were sorted into those that were possible to take forward immediately and those that could kept in mind for the future.
Research is a major part of the initial stages of NPD as it helps companies gauge customer reaction to new ideas. The first part of this is qualitative research. With Flake Dark, it involved four focus groups. About 32 people from the core target group for Flake - women aged 18 to 39 - were asked about their thoughts on the brand and their reactions to the ideas for the proposed varieties.
This feedback meant the team behind the development could then work out how they would talk about the new concepts.
Quantitative research that followed measured the purchase intent of consumers and helped the CTB team choose which of the shortlist would be turned into a new product. According to CTB marketing manager Steve Chantry, a dark chocolate version of Flake was a clear winner in terms of intent to buy and from looking at market data. "We knew this was an untapped access point to dark as it's usually bought in a block. A dark Flake is more accessible."
3. Development and manufacture
Of course, there's no point to a good idea if it can't be turned into reality. Therefore, developing a recipe that works is one of the most important stages and involves people from a cross-section of departments.
Alan Valender, CTB science and technology confectionery development manager, chocolate brands, says that getting the taste and crumbly, flaky texture right took "extensive work".
He says: "We considered varying levels of differing types of cocoa, and cocoa butter, deciding on 45% of a specific type of cocoa content. This delivers the richness and deliciousness of dark chocolate, but lacks the bitterness associated with higher cocoa content products."
Chantry adds: "It took an enormous amount of development time, with problems ranging from the product falling apart to coming out as a lump."
The proof of the pudding, as they say, is in the eating. Two recipes were used for testing on several hundred members of the public, using different amounts of cocoa solids. The 45% recipe was the clear winner, with 68% of testers saying that they would buy it. This was higher than Cadbury Dairy Milk Caramel scored in its development tests.
A new recipe has an impact on manufacture and Chantry says that a seven-figure sum was spent on operations including new technology. Manufacturing started in Dublin in August and each bar takes just 20 minutes to be made from mixture to wrap.
4. on the production line
At the same time as the development takes place, what Chantry describes as "the nuts and bolts of the operation" begins. This includes the packaging design, the look and format, the price, weight and how the product is going to be launched.
Agency partners were called in to help develop graphics for packaging and decide on the format. Whereas Flake has a twist wrap, Flake Dark has a flow wrap, similar to that used for Flake Dipped and Flake Praline. The wrappers feature the iconic yellow associated with Flake with a maroon flash to indicate the dark chocolate content.
5. The advertising
A marketing plan was then developed for the launch. The company has traditionally used its Coronation Street idents to communicate news on NPD and new credits were shot in June to publicise any launches due in autumn. The company then worked with advertising agencies to set up consumer trials and plan sampling at train stations and shopping centres in October.
The publicity campaign also had to include notifying trade and consumer press well in time for their deadlines.
6. Coming soon...
Finally it's the turn of the retailers. CTB reps have been briefed and can now tell customers about the launch. Deliveries to retailers will start on October 9 and cash and carries will get their stock of new Flake Dark from September 25.