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A New Indulgence

BY Anjana Naskar

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Q] Being a premium chocolate brand, what was the objective behind entering into the coated-wafer biscuit chocolate segment in India?
Hershey’s India has received immense consumer love with the national launch of its premium range of chocolates. Our consumer-winning campaigns, in-store presence across 150+ cities, and continuous innovations have helped us to gain a strong foothold in the premium chocolate category in less than three years. We are thrilled to foray into the chocolate coated-wafer market with the launch of Hershey’s Choco Tubes, which will further strengthen our position and make Hershey’s more accessible to value consumers. On the back of a consumer-qualified mix and our brand-building prowess, we are confident of replicating our success in this category as well.

Q] How do you plan to establish your product in a market that is a completely new space for your brand, and what does your media mix look like?
Our first priority is to drive its physical availability across cities, and secure appropriate placement by leveraging our current distribution footprint. We have a robust marketing strategy in place to introduce Hershey’s Choco Tubes to our consumers. We will be using a mix of traditional and Digital media channels to create awareness around the unique four-layered product proposition, while leveraging Hershey’s premium, and indulgent chocolate.

Q] What is your target market, and who is your audience for the new offerings?
Chocolates are consumed across age groups. The target audience for our range of existing chocolates and now Hershey’s Choco Tubes is millennials and Gen Z who are constantly seeking new and delicious chocolates and sweet treats.

Q] Tell us a bit about #YourForevers campaign. How are you amplifying it?
Through the #YourForevers campaign, we wanted to create a way for consumers to proclaim their love, and make a grand gesture for their ‘Forevers’ on Valentine’s Day. We had invited users to submit a proclamation of love. Participants received a shareable card for their loved ones, and winners from Delhi and Mumbai got the opportunity to share their message on Valentine’s Day on exclusive screens at the Ambience Mall in Gurugram, and the Palladium Mall in Mumbai. We also hosted a notable on-ground activation where consumers could use a Digital selfie slingshot to record their love and leave with a chocolate hamper and printed versions of their photos.

Q] You have also collaborated with influencers for the above campaign. How important is influencer marketing for the brand?
Influencer marketing is an important aspect of our overall marketing strategy. We believe that it helps us reach our target audience in an authentic and engaging way. Influencers wield a substantial following on social media platforms, and have a remarkable impact on the audience’s purchasing decisions. By forging alliances with relevant and reputable influencers, we are able to leverage their followers’ steadfast loyalty and credibility, thereby cultivating a favourable association with our brand. For our Valentine’s Day campaign, we collaborated with Terribly Tiny Tales, and multiple influencers to showcase the dynamics of modern relationships with their much-celebrated web show “Butterflies.”

Q] The Hershey Company has also forayed into the metaverse with the launch of ‘Hersheyverse’. How do you think it’ll help the brand and consumers?
Many companies are now exploring the potential of metaverse by using it for their brand campaigns. Hershey India activated metaverse with the launch of ‘Hersheyverse’, during Christmas, as part of our efforts to reach and engage with younger audiences who are increasingly spending time on Digital and virtual spaces. It is a virtual world that allows users to explore and interact with various Hershey’s products and experiences. Users could navigate through different zones, such as the giant kiss, shops, and the choco canon, and complete various social quests to win a sweet surprise in the end.

Q] Apart from venturing into Metaverse, what other emerging technologies are you using to drive growth for the business?
We are constantly exploring emerging technologies to drive growth for our business. We have leveraged the use of AR filters and tech-based interactive microsites for our HerShe and Valentine’s Day campaigns. We are also exploring AI to better understand our consumers and their preferences.

Q] What kind of growth are you seeing for your brand, and which particular product is seeing the highest trend?
We have witnessed strong growth in the Indian market in recent years. The company’s focus on brand-building, innovation, product localization, and consumer-centric strategies, supported by a strong in-store presence, has helped it to expand in India. In terms of products that we offer, we have a diverse portfolio, including chocolates, spreads, syrup, and milkshakes. We have been expanding our product offerings in India by launching several new products and innovations in recent years. Hershey’s most popular products in India include Hershey’s Kisses, Hershey’s Milkshake, Hershey’s Syrup, Hershey’s Spreads, and SoFit plant-based beverages. These products have been well-received in the Indian market. Also, we are extremely enthusiastic about the potential of Hershey’s Choco Tubes in the market this year.

Q] What are your plans for the rest of the year? What will be your key focus areas going forward?
Our marketing and product initiatives stem from consumer insight and validation. The consumer is at the heart of our decision-making. We will be introducing new products and compelling campaigns that generate excitement, drive engagement and build our core. We also plan to launch new products in line with evolving consumer preferences.

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