Loyalty Melts Away – Both Ways?

English: Cadbury Wharf, Knighton, Staffordshir...

English: Cadbury Wharf, Knighton, Staffordshire This building and the wharf were operated by Cadbury’s between 1911 and 1961 to process locally collected milk and produce “chocolate crumb” which was transported to Cadbury’s in Bourneville (Birmingham) along the Shropshire Union Canal. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There is an interesting article on the Telegraph Website by Rosa Silverman about Cadbury cutting out a traditional Christmas gift to members of its Pension scheme. For years the pensioners have recieved a Christmas gift of a small parcel of chocolate. The company says it has to stop to plug a hole in the pension fund.

The cost of the gifts is about £210,000 and the gap is thought to be £320,000,000. By my calculation that will take 1524 years to plug. The UK President of the holding company Mondelez, Maurizio Brusadelli says they have to cut costs. Interestingly, Maurizio has had a pay increase from £14,400,000 to £18,900,000 a 31.5% rise.

When the company was simply Cadbury there was a sense of tradition and loyalty between company and workers. The company had built a model town for the workers, Bourneville, and was a fine example of Victorian philanthropy.

The loyalty extended to the customers who tended to stick with Cadbury despite the rising competition. I remember my uncle Matt who, late in life, emigrated to California. He had regular parcells sent out from Scotland containing unobtainables such as ‘Cherry Blossom’ shoe polish and Cadbury’s chocolate.

Loyalty seems to have hit the skids with the takeover by Mondelez. The chocolate bare are changing. As a long time consumer I noticed a change in the taste and constituency of the old brand. I contacted the company who assured me that nothing had changed.

Now I am not one to protest at change. Change can be a good thing. Companies can change their products to cope with changing markets. The danger coes when your customer base is tied to the traditions and history of the company. Customers may see change as a good thing. Ther are other brands of chocolate out there and once customers feel that something new is the order of the day they may just find that new taste somewhere else.

When the company makes it plain that they want shot of the oldies then the oldie customers mught just shuffle off to anothe brand. I’m sure Mondelez would agree that’s a good thing too.

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