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Hershey Company: Listen to Customers and They Will Guide You Toward Brand Loyalty

Herhsey's Brand LoyaltyBrian Kavanagh, Senior Director, Insights Driven Performance and Retail Evolution, The Hershey Company believes that, by listening to customers, they will guide a marketer in the right direction toward brand loyalty.

“Then it’s up to you as a marketing expert to put innovative strategies and tactics in place to engage them,” Kavanagh told Loyalty360. “We are always listening and responding to our consumers. We work directly with our retail partners to ensure that we are delivering a positive, 360-degree brand experience inside and outside of the store. We are excited about the challenge of reacting quickly and innovatively to an exponentially changing marketplace. The pace of change will never be slower than it is today, and that creates challenges, but also great opportunity for nimble, entrepreneurial thinking. Consumers want a dynamic and engaging shopping experience, and we are investing in unique solutions that we bring to market with our retail partners.” 

Data is a powerful tool, Kavanagh said, but large amounts can be very overwhelming.

“At Hershey, we have invested significant time synthesizing many different data sources to give us a full picture of what is going on with our brands, category, and the full retail environment,” he explained. “Whether that’s weather data to help us understand how burn bans in the Midwest impacted summer s’mores sales or synthesizing data to find clusters of stores that sell our York brand incredibly well for a targeted product launch. Be clear upfront about the actionable insights you are looking for and create a plan to implement them. Our entire organization has adopted a data-centric mindset, and that’s what it takes to be serious as an organization about using actionable insights. Marketing, supply chain, research & development, innovation, and sales all need to be speaking the same language.”

Hershey’s consumer philosophy is consumer-first.

“Our customer or retailer philosophy is always category-first,” Kavanagh said. “We will always do right by our consumer and category. A high tide lifts all sails–this philosophy has proven out for more than 120 years and it’s a value we’ll hold true to.”               

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