Candy Group Updates Series Featuring Members

The National Confectioners Association’s online series “The Sweet Life” promotes the industry’s range and economic might. 

The National Confectioners Association has rebooted a streaming video series designed to showcase the diversity and impact of its industry.

Last week, NCA, a trade group representing candy manufacturers, released a second set of videos in its series “The Sweet Life,” which features factories and shops connected with American candy companies. Each of the videos goes behind the scenes of a particular manufacturer and features brief interviews from front-line workers to company executives.

Part of the goal of the series is to showcase the diversity and strength of the industry, said NCA Director of Public Affairs and Communications Carly Schildhaus. According to NCA, approximately 58,000 people work for domestic candy manufacturers at 1,600 facilities.

Production on “The Sweet Life” halted after COVID-19 restricted access to manufacturing plants.

“This is an opportunity for us not to pull back the curtain and bring people behind the scenes, but to put a spotlight on the people who are working every single day [in the industry],” she said. The release of the second season, featuring eight manufacturers, was timed to NCA’s State of the Industry Conference in Aventura, Florida, where president and CEO John Downs presented the videos with an emphasis on the value of frontline workers in the industry.

Downs first proposed the idea for the video series, Schildhaus said, and NCA began to produce its first set of videos in 2019. The COVID-19 pandemic halted access to manufacturing plants, however, so plans for a second season had to be tabled until recently, Schildhaus said. All videos are produced internally by NCA.

NCA has a little more than 400 members, which made selecting the candidates for the new batch of eight companies a challenge. But it ultimately wants to show what makes each manufacturer distinctive. That can mean the kind of candy being made; the second season visits firms focused on licorice and taffy. Or it can mean location; companies in the new season hail from Colorado, Utah, Ohio, and more. 

“Every company is so different, and we look at geographic diversity and a lot of different factors,” Schildhaus said.

Schildhaus said that associations considering developing a similar series should work closely with the subjects to determine what it wants to showcase—and what it needs to keep behind the curtain.

“We’ll talk through whether there’s anything proprietary that we can’t shoot,” she said. “And want to know, who are the people in your company who are going to feel comfortable getting in front of a camera, and how can we prepare everybody for what you’re doing? The people who work at these companies know their people really well, so they’ll know who might be the most excited to participate.”

In addition to helping serve NCA’s advocacy goals, the series also provides a benefit for the participating companies—a free promotional video they can use for their own communications.  

“At least one of our member companies has liked it so much that they use it in their booth at tradeshows,” Schildhaus said. “And some companies show it to people come to visit for tours—or if they don’t do tours, they can say, ‘Check out our video.’”

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