David Hinks from award-winning chocolatier Cocoa Black explains how their graduate, Darroch Fisher, contributed across a number of projects and brought a freshness to their approach.
What’s your company’s background?
Cocoa Black is a multi award-winning chocolatier based in Peebles, Scotland. Founded by UK World Chocolate Master, Ruth Hinks, Cocoa Black has grown rapidly during a period of economic recession, and we’re now looking at international growth. Darroch Fisher was recruited as an Executive Assistant to provide internal challenge, expert input and project management support to a number of key strategic projects.
What piece of work was the graduate involved in?
There were several, in fact. The first was the development and launch of an e-commerce website
This involved everything from assessing relative demand for key products and services via the Google Keyword tool, through the web design and build, to testing and launch.
Three months after the launch, Cocoa Black undertook a more comprehensive round of user acceptance testing in order to identify and resolve any outstanding post-live issues.
In 2013, we launched a project aimed at developing an online community around the brand. A communication plan using Facebook and Twitter was developed which would form the basis of future social media activities. Any new requirements for the website were passed to the web developer.
Fourth, we developed a range of chocolate bars for wholesale.
The, the final project, working with Cocoa Black’s external accountant, a series of KPI’s were developed through which the company directors could monitor business performance.
Why did you take on a graduate?
Two main reasons. To challenge management decision-making, and as support to standardisation of our product and service offering.
What benefits have you had from employing a graduate?
It’s provided both an external challenge to strategy, and driven a faster delivery of projects.
What knowledge and skills has the graduate brought to your organization?
During his placement, Darroch has demonstrated an ability to think about the business strategically, as well as at the project level. With fast-changing priorities, he has often had to change focus between projects at short notice. His knowledge of e-commerce from a customer perspective has proved very useful as Cocoa Black worked on developing its e-commerce proposition.
Would you recommend the Graduate Placement Programme to other companies?
Yes, the programme provided essential support at an important time when the business was finalising its product and services portfolio. Darroch was a welcome addition to the team and has also demonstrated an ability to work independently. As an Executive Assistant, Darroch was able to strengthen internal challenge to company decision making.