Old Age Style and New Age Decadence: Creating a National Brand Identity

Heading into the 2017 Summer Fancy Food Show in New York, René Bollier and his team at Andre’s Chocolates wanted to create a national brand and take their exceptional chocolate candies to a national stage with the right presentation. The company worked with Kansas City-based Willoughby Design to reimagine its brand identity.

As with any business, Andre’s Chocolates had to figure out what made it special before it could take the next step forward. Andre’s Chocolates first opened in Kansas City in 1955 when René’s grandfather Andre emigrated from Switzerland, bringing with him a knowledge and passion for authentic Swiss chocolate.

Since that time, René’s father Marcel and then René himself have worked to continue that tradition, and that tradition is reflected in the new packaging products that Andre’s introduced at the Fancy Food Show.

“What we came up with, beyond having great chocolate, is our story. We’re into our third generation of ownership, and the fact that in all that time we have stayed as traditionally Swiss as possible is what sets us apart,” René Bollier says.

Willoughby used a traditional Swiss art technique known as a scherenschnitte (scissor-cut) pattern, and did it in the Swiss national colors of red and white to convey the message Andre’s wanted to send.

When asked to describe his confectionery’s chocolates, Bollier gives an effective summation: “The perfect combination of old age style with new age decadence.” The flavors are strong and rich without being overwhelming, worthy of a Swiss confiserie. René Bollier was trained by chocolate masters in Switzerland, and sends his employees to train there periodically as well, all in order to maintain that authenticity.

They give great attentional to detail with their confections, which is exactly what they wanted their packaging to express. René Bollier believes that the right branding plays a tremendous role in sales.

“You might not have name recognition or a reputation in different markets. Packaging is essential, and while we’ve always put a focus on it we haven’t always made as much of an effort as we have with this new brand identity,” he says. “This day and age, packaging can be the difference between making a sale or not. People want something that is beautiful, giftable, and can tell a story, especially when it comes to luxury items with a higher price point.”

By sticking to tradition but also looking at ways to move the business forward, Andre’s Chocolates has been able to endure for over 60 years and become a Kansas City landmark. In that process, the confectionery has become a tradition in itself.