Growing up in a family that owned a confectionary business, Cathy Brand-Beere began making chocolates at age eight and selling them to her classmates. Her dream of opening “a real chocolate shop” became a reality in 1987, when she founded DeBrand Fine Chocolates and opened the first DeBrand store in her childhood home. The company specializes in gourmet chocolates delicately crafted to create a heavenly, mouth-watering experience that has made DeBrand Chocolates a coveted gift. “We constantly strive to maintain an extremely high level of excellence, from the ingredients to the packaging to the way we present our brand,” says Cathy. DeBrand has since expanded to include four retail shops in Fort Wayne, a wholesale business, and a mail-order department that ships to chocolate lovers worldwide. The company launched its first website in 1998 and has since relied on online marketing to help grow the business.
“New online customers make up our fastest-growing segment.”
Cathy Brand-Beere, President
They began using AdWords, Google’s advertising program, in 2013 to market DeBrand’s seasonal and holiday offerings. AdWords helps direct people searching for high-end chocolate gifts to the company’s website. “We need to cast a wide net to create brand awareness with people who are looking for high-end chocolates,” Cathy says. “At peak times, AdWords ads drive about a third of our total e-commerce traffic.” Google My Business helps people find DeBrand’s brick-and-mortar stores and see their holiday hours. The company also uses YouTube, Google+, and other social media platforms to entice online visitors. “People eat first with their eyes,” Cathy says. “When they see beautiful chocolates on our social media, they’re already thinking about buying before they even get to our website.”
DeBrand Fine Chocolates has 100 employees.
In 2015, DeBrand launched a mobile-friendly website to make it easier for customers to buy from their mobile phones or tablets. “We now have loyal customers in all 50 states,” Cathy says. “Some of our biggest orders are shipping to Florida and California. I don’t think those people would be able to find us if it weren’t for our online presence.”
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