The Hershey Company, based near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, was founded in 1894 by Milton Hershey and grew into a multinational company (History of Goodness, n.d.) with 80 popular candy brands sold in 60 countries (Hershey Named No. 2 Most Powerful Corporate Brand, n.d.). The Hershey Company is a leader is the U.S. market for candies and chocolate with most of its focus on the United States, with 80% of its revenue coming domestically and 20% from other countries. Hershey’s marketing strategy is focused on the U.S. because other brands like Mars, Nestle, and Mondelez have a more well-established international footprint (Key, 2015). In the United States, Hershey holds the #1 position in chocolate (44% market share) and mints (37% market share), and the #3 position in gum (11% market share) and non-chocolate confections (8% market share) (Trainer, 2020).
The Hershey company has a well-defined and executed brand strategy. Hershey’s core brand strategy focuses on their major brand names, their iconic products. Hershey’s, Hershey’s Kisses, Reese’s, Kit Kat, and Ice Breakers are their top five brands, which account for 75% of their U.S. sales (Stanley, n.d.). They own other brands such as Jolly Rancher, Almond Joy, York Peppermint Patties, Pay Day, and Rollo as well. Their approach behind each brand is to develop strong brand equity, originality, and superior quality. Each core brand is valuable. They target this approach at smaller target markets (The Hershey Company – A Little Something For Everyone, 2020). Using a micro-marketing approach, Hershey’s customizes its products for the particular demands of a small market segment (Key, 2015). Pricing-wise, they charge more than comparable products, placing themselves as the premium brand (Hersheys Marketing Strategy & Marketing Mix (4Ps), 2017). Their micro-marketing approach with targeted and custom-tailored products allows them to offer more options at higher prices (Key, 2015).
Hershey’s has decided to be at the forefront of digital innovation in eCommerce and digital marketing in its industry and has redesigned packaging to look better in mobile pictures as well as to get more attention in stores (Lindell, 2019). In social media and in the digital commerce experience, Hershey has created a digital marketing strategy which rests on five pillars: develop connections to make products easy to find online, create high-quality content for every product, partner with retailers for conversion, create engaging brand communities for consumer feedback, and use data-driven ad delivery in order to give the right customers the right messaging (Steele, n.d.).
Although a local company, Hershey’s is a strong national company and global brand. They focus domestically, but they sell in 60 countries (Hershey Named No. 2 Most Powerful Corporate Brand, n.d.). As a brand, they have built a family of brands that have high perceived value to their customers, the brand equity that is their brand strategy goal. Through micro-marketing, fervor regarding quality, value-based pricing strategy, and innovating digital marketing, the Hershey Company has been successful in its brand strategy.
Hershey Named No. 2 Most Powerful Corporate Brand. (2015, June 24). CSP Daily News. https://www.cspdailynews.com/snacks-candy/hershey-named-no-2-most-powerful-corporate-brand
Hersheys Marketing Strategy & Marketing Mix (4Ps). (2017, December 26). MBA Skool. https://www.mbaskool.com/marketing-mix/products/17537-hersheys.html
History of Goodness. (n.d.). Hershey. https://www.thehersheycompany.com/en_us/home/about-us/the-company/history.html
Key, D. (2015, November 1). Evaluating Hershey’s Marketing Strategies and Initiatives. https://marketrealist.com/2015/10/hershey-marketing-strategies-initiatives/
Lindell, C. (2019, May 14). Hershey CEO Michele Buck on stand-up packaging, taking ‘holistic’ approach to commerce. https://www.candyindustry.com/articles/88676-hershey-ceo-michele-buck-on-stand-up-packaging-taking-holistic-approach-to-commerce
Stanley, P. (n.d.). Goodness Comes from Our Core: Driving Growth through our Most Iconic Products. Hershey. https://www.thehersheycompany.com/en_us/home/newsroom/blog/goodness-comes-from-our-core-driving-growth-through-our-most-iconic-products.html
Steele, A. (n.d.). Driving consumer-centric digital change. Hershey. https://www.thehersheycompany.com/en_us/home/newsroom/blog/putting-brandcommunity-experience-at-the-heart-of-digital-commerce.html
The Hershey Company – A Little Something For Everyone. (2020, September 3). The Brand Hopper. https://thebrandhopper.com/2020/09/03/the-hershey-company-a-little-something-for-everyone/
Trainer, D. (2020, August 25). Competitive Advantages Drive Sweet Growth Opportunities for the Hershey Company. https://www.forbes.com/sites/greatspeculations/2020/08/25/competitive-advantages-drive-sweet-growth-opportunities-for-the-hershey-company/?sh=22008f42d3fc