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Hershey's tips for building brands

News, 24 February 2017

LAS VEGAS: The Hershey Company, the confectionery group, is drawing on a trio of underlying principles as a guide for effectively building its brands.

Mary-Ann Somers, the organisation's General Manager/VP US Confection, discussed its brand-building strategies during a session at CES 2017.

And one important consideration, she reported, involves making sure the positioning of its brands can be accurately described as "consumer-driven" in nature.

"It's kind of a cliché in some ways, but we had these incredible brands that had been around for over 100 years," she said. (For more details, including examples, read Warc's exclusive report: Hershey champions the "3Cs" of brand building.)

"There was something so special at the heart of these brands. And we really needed to understand what that was. We needed to define it. We need to be laser-focused on it."

By truly understanding its brands, Hershey – and its agencies – can deliver more "creatively-inspired" messaging which is brought to life across various channels, and has a meaningful impact on consumers.

"If we can do that, then we can translate that [understanding] into great briefs, and those great briefs could then translate into creatively inspired ideas," Somers said.

A third component of how Hershey is thinking about its brands is keeping them "commercially-grounded" – meaning, for example, that marketing plans are consistent right down to the shelf's edge.

"It's really about the P&L being very strong. But [it's] also the way we talk about our 'air' and 'ground games' being really connected: What you see at retail connecting with what you see through advertising," Somers said.

Collectively, these principles have helped Hershey's ensure that its portfolio of sweet treats remain fit-for-purpose from a marketing standpoint.

"Those three phrases really drove us to a holistic approach of how we transform our marketing," Somers said. "It gave us a mantra to focus the business."

Data sourced from Warc