SME brands I like: Pana Chocolate

It all started with a treat offered to me by my hairdresser. “You’ve got to try a piece of this chocolate,” she said, almost like she was offering me some illegal substance. And, yes, it was that good.

I had to have some more.

And let’s be clear, while I like chocolate, I’m in no way a chocoholic (that distinction belongs to my husband). So, many bars of Raw Cacao Pana Chocolate later, friends were visiting from the US and, of course, I couldn’t let them leave without introducing them to my find.

And so hairdresser to client, friend to friend, Australia and beyond – it continues to spread.

But even if I didn’t like chocolate all that much, I’d have to show a bit of love for any company that wears their promises on their sleeve (or in their case on their box) to the degree Pana Chocolate does.

“Raw. Organic. Handmade.”

And further on their website:

“Made in Australia from Natural Ingredients and nothing else added. Promise.”

Much like the story last month’s brand (Griffin+Row) that I liked, a strong core of promises that are embedded into everything lay the foundations for the resulting brand.

In Pana Chocolate’s case, this translates into:

  • Transparency about what is and what isn’t in their product and why;
  • A nifty diagram of what handmade looks like and distribution that underlines the handmade ethos – available but not too available (hoping I never see it in Woolies);
  • A commitment to sustainability embodied in their “love your insides, love the earth” motto literally stamped into every piece; and
  • Recycled packaging (of course).

A number of years ago Seth Godin wrote about purple cows. In essence, his advice was to make something, do something, be something worth noticing, that makes you stand out from the crowd.

Pana Chocolate is an example of a purple cow. A really good product that stands for something and makes that both visible and accessible to people in a way that you just have to talk about.

So here are three takeaways for other SMEs:

1. Make something “purple cow” good.

2. Stand for something – products aren’t enough; when I care about what you care about I’m more likely to stick with you.

3. Don’t tell me what you stand for; show me what you stand for.

(As a note – anyone I mention in these blog posts is here solely because I like what they are doing and think others can pick up a tip or two from them.)

If you like a brand and think I would like it too post it in comments or give me a shout out on Twitter with the name and I promise I’ll look at them – can’t promise I’ll talk about them though.

See you next week.

Michel is an independent brand advocate dedicated to helping organisations make promises they can keep and keep the promises they make – with a strong, resilient organisation as the result. She also publishes a blog at You can follow Michel on Twitter @michelhogan.


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