An interview with Guy Riddell, Head of Business Development, Godiva

Godiva is a Belgian chocolate company that started in 1926 as a family business. Since then it has grown and expanded into one of the world's best known luxury chocolate businesses. Here Guy Riddell, Head of Business Development at Godiva, explains the company's advertising strategy and use of pop-ups.

Guy Riddell_Godiva

Guy Riddell.

Please tell us about Godiva and your role as Head of Business Development.
Godiva currently has around 600 retail stores around the world; we have presence in around 80 countries through travel retail, wholesale businesses and retail businesses, particularly in Asia and North America. We only have a small footprint in Europe, but we are planning to grow our European footprint in key markets in the coming years.

I'm Head of Business Development across Europe, Middle East, India, Russia, Africa (EMEA), My role is to identify how to grow our business and determine the appropriate locations, model and format to do that.

Thanks to the nature of our business, Godiva can work from a pop-up store or a kiosk, through to a 200-meter flagship store with café. Earlier this year we opened a Godiva café in Harrods in London, extending over 200 meters and serving beautiful chocolate products, chocolate cakes, anything you can imagine. We also opened our flagship store in Saudi Arabia, which is 250 meters with an outside terrace and café. We also have some kiosks in smaller locations as well.

So our brand is very flexible, we can flex into different spaces ranging from 6 to 250 meters and to different product categories, not just retailing chocolates.

What kind of advertising do you normally use?
It depends on the market. When we opened in Saudi Arabia we did a lot of digital, a lot of social advertising, billboards and newspapers; in Japan, where the brand is very well known as being super premium, we do television adverts. So we tailor our marketing and advertising campaigns to suit the market and customer profile.

Do you do research to identify the profile of each market?
We spend a lot of time doing research, so we identify our customer, who we would like him to be, where are the markets with the highest chocolate consumption and the highest chocolate growth and then we split that into the mass chocolate and premium chocolate segments to gain an understanding of where we have the highest density of customers.

What do you think of pop-ups?
I think they are great; we are actually working with pop-ups at the moment. From the retailer's perspective it's a great opportunity to try out a location and understand the consumer demands before taking on expensive leases and spending capital to fit out the store.

Our business is very seasonal; Christmas to Easter is a very important trading season for us. So having a pop-up at the right locations for Christmas trading for four to eight weeks is an ideal opportunity for us.

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