Co-creation is, perhaps, one of the most important aspects of our business. It is the moment that Luker Chocolate and the customer come together to develop a wholly new and unique chocolate concept. It is a delicate balance between art and science where we collaborate to achieve a single aim. But one that’s made up of an almost infinite number of variables.
There are two main approaches to co-creation, which we can describe as ‘remote’ and ‘in-person’.
Remote refinement to co-create
Remote co-creation is the most challenging as there is no face-to-face interaction. We work from Bogota with clients who might be based half a world away – in North and Latin America, Europe, or Asia.
To encapsulate the scale of the task: could you describe a colour to someone who had never seen it? Explaining the intricacies of taste over email presents similar challenges. But our years of experience in food and design help us to make it work. We have created a new language of flavour to translate the actual chocolate experience into something meaningful to our customers.
It takes constant back and forth as we painstakingly refine the wealth of potential chocolate experiences into a single creation. The perfect product, presentation, and packaging. After so much care, the unveiling of the final packaged product is a moment of real pride – a job well done by both customers and creators.
The Luker experience
In-person co-creation, while delivering the same outcome, is a different ballgame. When clients come to us, they embark on a journey of discovery. They see the fields where the cocoa is grown, the farmers who grow it, the factory where the chocolate is made, and the people who pour their heart and soul into its creation. The relationship between client and team develops with new-found respect, as they understand and see for themselves the passion and expertise throughout the full value chain.
Now the language of taste becomes completely sensory. Combining with the sights, sounds, feel, and aromas of chocolate to create an immediate emotional response. While the customer is always right, immersion in this new world – something we call the Luker Experience – can change minds. As customers listen to our descriptions, visit the farms, taste the subtle changes in formulation and see the evolution of packaging, the co-creation process becomes a personal as well as a business odyssey.
Head and heart to co-creating chocolate products
Our approach is always unique because every customer is unique. But we base everything on getting into their heads, and their hearts too. As part of the ideation process, we conduct in-depth interviews to understand their challenges, their objectives, and the factors influencing their decisions. Including chocolate trends such as the growing global appetite for oat milk recipes or a new focus on wellness.
This intricate and intimate attention to detail helped us to deliver a novel approach for one customer. Our research showed us that their chocolate was enjoyed as a luxurious indulgence, part of a ‘chocolate stash’ to be shared day by day and piece by piece. Our packaging reflected this reality, with each piece designed to heighten sensations and capture a precious moment – of relaxation, warmth, and a feeling of home.
Taking co-creation to the next level
We are always working to build on both remote and in-person co-creation. Central to this desire is a focus on ever-more effective collaboration and ideation, internally and externally.
We’re perfecting the process of bringing the right skills at the right time to deliver on customer requirements – harnessing Luker’s diversity of expertise. Work with our colleagues in the commercial team will see earlier input to ensure that briefs are completely on point, saving time and delivering a wholly seamless customer journey.
We’re also continually rolling out better ways to work with clients, introducing new concepts to recreate the consumer experience more effectively. And we’re looking at ways to bring the full Luker Experience to consumers too – exploring opportunities to get closer to the farmers to share their story and expertise to those at the end of the chain.
Finally, we’re closing the loop by engaging with our cocoa farmers and their local communities, through art competitions. For example, where winners see their designs appear on Luker packaging. This builds sustainable well-being amongst the communities where Luker Chocolate sources its cocoas.
Luker Chocolate co-creation takes time and care because we understand that chocolate is unique. While health-giving and a kitchen staple in Colombia, we rarely eat chocolate for its nutritional value. Chocolate is about an experience, an emotion, a precious moment in time. We have the best job in the world because above all else, our job is to tap happiness.
By building an integrated value chain, not only can we guarantee a cocoa supply for sale for our clients, but we can also provide environmental sustainability and socio-economic growth for all participants involved in the process.