Hessie Jones is working with a startup company, Chocolocate, focused on bringing awareness to organic and fair trade chocolate.  In the off-chance you are unfamiliar with fair trade efforts, much of the world’s chocolate production begins with farming and harvesting cocoa. 90% of the world’s supply is grown and harvested on family-owned farms. However, given the trading conditions, cocoa farmers aren’t paid enough to cover the cost of production, and therefore cannot sustain a living. This has led to the rise of child labor in the cocoa industry.Cocoa farms in Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana employ millions of children who work for paltry wages, and in hazardous conditions, to keep chocolate prices low for Western manufacturers. Not only children as young as 12 are separated from their families, but they work in hazardous conditions working with machetes and no protective gear.

Chocolocate launched anapp Chocofinder that is available in Toronto but will be spreading to other metropolitan areas, soon. I caught up with Hessie to learn more about the company and why that led her to Tellagence as a solution.

How did Chocolocate get started?

The company started with the development of a documentary called SemiSweet that raises some important political and social issues associated with chocolate production. From its inception, the purpose was to build awareness about fair trade issues. The chocolocate website and mobile app were created to help chocolate lovers locate chocolates according to their tastes.  The number of people who were drawn to the screening of the documentary as well as the number of app downloads exceeded  Chocolocate’s expectations. Initially, Chocolocate was built to be the chocolate resource for all things chocolate.

Can you tell me a little more about the application?

The application was initially developed to build awareness for and support the documentary and provided users the ability to locate fair trade chocolate.  There are many people that would like to participate in purchasing fair trade products but when they do not know where they can purchase it becomes a burden.  We are removing that step.

In addition, the application allows us to share content about fair trade to our users. We are very excited about what we are doing here with Chocolocate.

After the documentary what was your next step in getting this application into peoples hands?

Well, the application has been around for 6-7 months.  First it was the documentary but it didn’t stop there.  We need to continue to see downloads of the application so we looked at the holiday season as a campaign opportunity.

Moms are big purchases around Christmas, and honestly, a network I am very familiar with.  So I went out into this community to engage and drive awareness of the Chocolocate application.   We saw success but not to the level we would have liked.

How would you change the process to see higher success?

Leveraging the Mom’s community allowed us to capitalize on building awarenss to a backed-in community since we had very little time to cultivate the relationships to drive awareness to the campaign. We also realized that as compelling as the story was, we needed to tug at people’s heartstrings. A general resource around chocolate was not enough to woo engagement.  We needed more context around our efforts.  Garnering strong partners like World Vision has allowed Chocolocate to focus on the Fair Trade Category.

So what was next?  Why Tellagence?  

Tellagence offers us the ability to recognize the right relationships from the start and build those relationships. Building a community around Fair Trade provides strong and sustainable possibilities for Chocolocate  We want to look within our context and begin building relationships that provide us with partner opportunities, content integration, and strong synergies to deliver thought leadership in this category.

We want to use Tellegance to identify strong communities within fair trade – specifically for chocolate to 1) amplify the message for our Valentine’s Day Campaign and 2) support the message for Chocofinder beyond the campaign.

Share a little about you campaign.  We think it is pretty great.

For Valentines Day we have created 5 videos that will relate to 5 different audiences.  The girlfriend, the boyfriend, the mother, and so on.   These videos speak to the importance of purchasing Fair Trade chocolate in combination with a little fun.  For example, why the girlfriend will make the boyfriend feel guilty if he doesn’t buy her fair trade chocolate. And of course they should use the app to find it.


I would like to thank Hessie for her time.  She is always great to speak with about social marketing and what she is working on.  Tellagence is excited about Chocolocate and cannot wait for the app to hit Portland.  We will be sharing the Valentines videos here in the near future so stay tuned.  Good luck to Hessie, Danny and the Chocolocate team!  You are doing great stuff.