When I visit our member candy stores, one of my favorite things to do is to spend time in the retail area and watch the connections customers have with the staff and the store.

As the bell on the door rings and the chocolate maker welcomes the customer, they are building a connection.

From a business person stopping by to get his favorite childhood treat to the grandmother who always comes back to buy personalized holiday chocolates for her grandchildren, it’s the emotional response to the store and the product that draws them back.

Our industry is among those lucky enough to sell a product that seems to create connections all on its own. But that doesn’t mean customers don’t want to know more about you, the chocolate maker.

During one recent visit to a confectionery shop, the candy maker showed me photos of his family decked out in chocolate-themed T-shirts in their kitchen. They use the simple photos to help tell their story, and by extension build connections.

While Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites can help us build the emotional connections vital to any business hoping to thrive long term, they can sometimes leave us feeling less connected than ever. So it’s important to always be actively telling your story in a variety of ways with a variety of methods.

Ask your customers to tell you why they love your store.Their stories and photos will inspire you, your staff and your other customers. They also will clarify your

Upcoming RCI Event Dates: 


92nd Annual Convention & Industry Expo, San Francisco, Calif., June 11-15; Reconnect June 17-20 in Hawaii.

Canadian Chocolate Tour, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Sept. 18 – 21, 2012


Up-to-date event information can always be found online at www.retailconfectioners.org/events

purpose and give you a reason to work long hours or press on to finish the next demanding task. And at the end of the day, I hope we all go to work for more than a paycheck.

Share their stories.Share them on your website, in your advertising, in your store or through your social media. Tell others about how your candy has become a part of so many families and traditions. (Be sure to ask for permission to share their stories and photos when you collect them though.)

Make memories for your customers.Share your customer stories with your staff and ask them how they could create meaningful memories for your customers today. Identify the successful element in the story and how great customer service creates great experiences with lasting memories for them and the customers.

Make connections with colleagues this year.  Sometimes work can be isolating and cut you off from the richness of relationships. Make plans to intentionally build connections and friendships this year by spending time with colleagues in the industry. Relationships naturally happen when people share a common interest or experience and RCI events are a great time to meet and build friendships that will give you personal satisfaction and fulfillment.

 May stories about your brand, your confections and you be shared among friends you know and friends you did not know you had.