I remember my seventh birthday in which I was gifted a box full of chocolates. It included Kinder eggs, Galaxy, Mars, Snickers, Milky Way, Hershey's, Smarties, M&Ms, Willie Wonka, fanfare and much more. I was only seven at that time and today I realize that marketers do have an extraordinary talent, which is to attract children from such a young age to be loyal to their products but not only that they tend to engrave an image of happiness along with satisfaction. Honestly, I preferred fanfare which is not available in the market today.Overview:
In this case study, the author brings about the tension caused by competition between Hershey's and M&MS over their worldwide famous, addictive and incredible chocolate bars. Many issues are raised starting from consumer behavior towards their products to the success of Hershey's in beating its rivals which is rather controversial. The author states the various reactions or subliminal perceptions consumers have towards each product such as: the brands logo, different colors, packaging and the obvious taste. A comparison between both brand equities is mentioned by stating their distinctive competencies that allow them to differentiate themselves in such a way that consumers have a positive memory of each product.
Hershey's "Kisses" product line is introduced alongside with different flavors that are intentionally aimed towards its rival M&Ms. The futuristic vision Hershey's has in mind is to go outside the traditional box of chocolate makers and convey a message that covers all consumer activities. Hershey's has been expanding their product limits by bringing a special version of its product that is rather unique. Even though a lot of effort has been put into their marketing strategies, Hershey's has been experiencing lower annual sales revenue than its rival, M&Ms. After conducting a thorough study of the probable issues of low sales, the company final realized that its packaging might have been too exaggerated in the sense that it is time consuming for consumers since they consider it infuriating while opening up the candy. They have solved the problem and took it to their advantage against M&Ms while also increasing advertising for its wanted "Kisses" product line. Today, and according to the author many Americans prefer Hershey's over any other candy bar. (Solomon, 2009, pg. 121, 148)
People from all across the globe have specific products that they prioritize based on their perceptions, taste and various other factors. On the other hand, once they start admiring such a product they tend to distinguish the characteristics of those products on brand basis. The activation model of memory states that various stages of memory processing take place which enlighten memory intake to certain degrees. It also emphasizes that the more the process of data is carved in the memory; the likelihood of it being in the long term memory is high. Moreover, the activation model of memory digs even further by including an associate network that relates to many factors linked together on the basis of creating relationships in terms of brands. The memory is saved in such a way that reflects back to our experiences with such products, being negative or positive. (Solomon, 2009, pg. 134-135)
In this case, and relating to the case study, consumers are aware of the characteristics of Hershey's and M&Ms since they have had positive or negative experiences that allow them to store such situations to remember in the near future. For example, earlier I mentioned the example of me remembering my favorite candy when I was only seven years old, fanfare, and this has been stuck and still is in my long term memory for various reasons. The product was addictive (in a sincere manner), thus adding value to my network association and I have compared it to other brands on offer that relate back to the same experience.Findings:-
Hershey's extension of its product line "Kisses" has indeed many benefits in comparison to the negatives. First of all, "Kisses" is a newer version of M&Ms strategy that also includes different flavors and ingredients. It also has a better packaging design that can attract more customers in comparison to its rival M&Ms. Hershey's wants to customize their product line in a way that it meets several consumers' occasions. Basically, Hershey's is going through introducing a new type of reinforcement. Definitely Hershey's is going to face positive reinforcement since the experience consumers will have will be positive with a strong presence. Hershey's is more or less facing a consumer base of fixed-ratio reinforcement that will continue being loyal since the same behavior will keep repeating constantly. Various other benefits are there for Hershey's that will contribute to further success such as: greater brand loyalty, larger customer base, diversity in its product line and decrease in risk. (Solomon, 2009, pg. 125-126)
In my opinion, Hershey's new product line strategy brings up much more advantages than disadvantages; however, a few disadvantages are possible to occur. For example, Hershey's may find it difficult to gain more customers from its new candy bars with new ingredients. By this I mean that some people will feel insecure to try out something new and would still prefer to stick with the original candy bar the Hershey provides. With time, Hershey will hopefully gain the confidence of its people and their adaptation as well as trust in their new line.Research:
Nostalgia is a common technique used by marketers to elaborate their concern for the genuine design, image and feeling of their products in the old days. Marketers tend to use this strategy on anniversaries or when they are introducing a new product that they feel is risky and so links it back to the old products in a way that the image conveys the same old feeling of trust and confidence. Hershey's may use an old packaging design that may be considered vintage to send a message to consumers of its originality and sincere taste. (Solomon, 2009, pg. 140)
As we can see in this image the label is a vintage which gives us a genuine feeling and re-establishes a sense of loyalty to the brand. I believe by Hershey using this strategy of Nostalgia, they will surely reduce the risk of introducing the product to the market and create a larger possibility of attracting many more customers since they might consider it much more elegant. Vintage products or in this case labels are always desired, thus, it is the ultimate strategy to be used by Hershey's. In addition, the concept of retro brand arises as we consider the nostalgia effect. This means Hershey's is upgrading its product line in a way that it reflects back on nostalgia and motivates consumers as well as reminds them of the past of Hershey's and the initial lifestyle perceived by the company. (Solomon, 2009, pg. 141)
Overall, the case of Hershey's and M&Ms is rather interesting in which marketers can learn a lesson for their future. Chocolate is indeed an important element of the marketplace today and that is one reason why marketers for chocolate brands feel the urgency to convey the best quality image to consumers on a worldwide scale.
The following is a list of recommendations I have concluded for Hershey's based on the analysis of the case study:
- Hershey's should use the power of Nostalgia to bring back the genuine feeling back to its consumers.
- Hershey's should consider shifting away from its rival M&Ms and initiate a strategy to battle the concept of color. By this I mean, not following M&Ms color technique but try to add in pure color from nutritious and healthy ingredients.
- Solomon, Michael R. "Section 2: Consumers as Individuals." Consumer Behavior New Jersey, USA: Upper Saddle River, 2009.