Taking Advantage of Changes in Legislation
The latest FDA regulations are designed in a way that natural and organic chocolate producers might find beneficial. Because the emphasis is made of mentioning actual information about the daily value and added sugars on a package, it is advantageous for natural brands, as they use only healthy ingredients for production, and the amount of sugar is minimal. Nevertheless, they should pay significant attention to designing a comprehensive marketing strategy to boost sales, especially if their activities are more dynamic during seasonal holidays. This marketing mix will be based on several campaigns – educational aimed at increasing awareness of nutrition facts and chocolate contents and promotional for drawing attention to organic products and targeting consumers.
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The objective of the first campaign is to draw consumers’ attention to labeling and nutrition facts to increase awareness and promote a healthy culture. The central idea is to educate people about the significance of studying labels, providing nutrition facts. According to the new FDA regulations, labels should provide details about serving sizes, calories, and daily values, and they should be actual (FDA, n.d.). Because this marketing mix is developed for a small company, it is essential to recognize that it does not have enough resources and opportunities for funding a massive marketing campaign.
For this reason, the primary source for running and promoting this campaign is a website. It is recommended to include several sections before designing and launching the website. First of all, there should be information about chocolate contents so that consumers are confident that the product is natural and does not include artificial and unhealthy components. Moreover, it is advisable to show short videos from production facilities to show how chocolate is made. The objective is to attract consumers to natural chocolate. Another section should provide answers to frequently asked questions about chocolate contents.
One more beneficial option is to educate people, teaching them to understand the nutrition facts label. Furthermore, it is essential to compare and offer natural products to a traditional chocolate bar. Here, it is imperative to avoid mentioning producers to avoid legal consequences, as it is a determinant of unfair competition (Ferrel & Hartline, 2014). This section should focus on comparing calories, the amount of added sugars, and daily values of both our product and those produced and offered by rivals. This step is advisable because it would point to the advantages of the proposed chocolate bars, as they contain less sugar and are healthier. Also, it is a perfect educational campaign because it would motivate a smart consumer to check labels and choose healthier and more natural products. It is an option for boosting sales because people are more likely to give preference to natural goods if they are shown how to select ones.
As it was mentioned above, describing nutrition facts is a crucial element of this marketing mix. For instance, according to the FDA (n.d.), daily value refers to the amount of vitamin D, potassium, iron, and calcium compared to the average daily intake. Another significant label is fat because it mentions saturated and trans fat. Because trans fats have a negative influence on the condition of human health, it is imperative to indicate this figure and pay attention to it. Finally, the amount of added sugars should also be noted because excessive consumption of these sugars leads to diabetes, obesity, and other serious health concerns (Wilson & Hurst, 2015).
In addition to increasing awareness of nutrition facts, this strategy aims at promoting healthy and natural products. This objective can be achieved by taking different steps. The first step as described above. It is comparing common chocolate to the product made from natural ingredients. If people find out that taste is the same or even better and this chocolate bar contains fewer calories and sugar, they will give preference to a healthy alternative. It is especially true in the era of growing consciousness and overall struggle for a healthy future. Another step is to target consumers. In this case, there are no limitations to choosing the target market because the product is 100% natural and healthy. That is why the idea is to show people of different ages and body tympanums.
However, it should be noted that the product is seasonal. It means that commercials should be seasonal as well whether they are posted online or appear in a local newspaper. For example, speaking of Halloween, the idea is to depict a woman, who gives natural chocolates as treats. The goal is to appeal to emotions and highlight that this woman gives the same chocolates to her children and her little guests. It means that the focus should be made on care and subconscious appeal to the belief that this product is good and safe for people of all age categories even children.
In general, targeting strategy is product specialization. The very essence of this strategy is to focus on producing only one type of product, i.e. natural chocolate. However, the specificity of this approach is to adapt it to the needs of particular consumer groups (Pride & Ferrell, 2016). For example, nuts are a common allergen. It means that introducing chocolate without nuts is an option for attracting highly allergic individuals. At the same time, it is a way to diversify products, which is beneficial for increasing consumer base and boosting sales.
At the same time, it is imperative to remember the seasonality of the product. To boost seasonal sales and make natural chocolate popular, it is recommended to fall upon diversification. It is an effective marketing tool, which helps to satisfy the tastes and needs of different consumers (Pride & Ferrell, 2016). Keeping in mind the scope of the company, it is impossible to assume a high degree of diversification. Still, introducing at least one or two seasonal products is an affordable decision. It is even more economically beneficial. The rationale for this statement is the fact that the company uses natural ingredients. So, it is better to purchase seasonal fruits and berries than to import the required contents. Speaking of seasonal diversification, pumpkin stuffing is an appropriate decision for Halloween. Adding apples and air-popped corn would as well hint at Halloween mood and make the product seasonal. Significant attention should be paid to nuts, except for allergen-free chocolate bars.
To sum up, this marketing strategy is based on several campaigns and techniques. The first one is launching a website, which would include detailed information about the product itself and nutrition facts labeling, thus fostering awareness, creating health-centered culture, and promoting sweets. Another technique is market targeting and product specialization aimed at pointing to the uniqueness of the proposed chocolate and increasing seasonal sales.
Adapting Seasonal Strategy to FDA Regulations and Reacting to the Rising Threat of Natural and Organic Chocolate Brands
Chocolate producers are susceptible to high risks of being outperformed by competitors because confectionery market products are easily imitable and substituted. The most significant threat is the rise of natural and organic chocolate, as the demand for healthy sweets is constantly growing. Even though such influential chocolate producers as Hershey announced the removal of artificial and unhealthy ingredients from branded sweets and it is one of the market leaders, the company should pay significant attention to developing a comprehensive strategy of reacting to the emerging natural and organic chocolate brands.
Introducing Hershey Kisses was a successful decision. Announcing that it is produced without using artificial flavor was another victory (Euromonitor International, 2016). However, Hershey should as well keep in mind recent changes in FDA regulations and adapt its marketing strategies to take maximum advantage of the new laws. According to these laws, chocolate producers should mention information about the daily value, nutrition science, added sugars, etc. (FDA, n.d.). As for now, the company moved to smart labeling, which meets the requirements of the new FDA regulations because it points out that a product is gluten-free and does not contain artificial flavors. This label helps Hershey to become a more transparent chocolate producer, as people know the constituents of candies they love to buy (Heneghan, 2015).
As for adapting the marketing strategy to the new FDA regulations, the focus should be made on the packaging. It is imperative to focus on meeting the requirements to label size and content, mentioning all necessary details such as added sugars and nutrition value information. This information should be printed, using a readable font. Also, serving sizes, calories, and daily values should be actual (FDA, n.d.). Indicating facts about the product is the only way to take advantage on the new FDA regulations because transparency and smart labeling is the only strategy for winning a smart consumer and keep up with a rapid pace of confectionery industry development (Heneghan, 2015).
As there are numerous seasonal holidays, it is imperative to pay significant attention to offering Hershey Kisses in seasonal packaging. Due to several holidays, the focus should be made on the most popular ones such as Easter, Valentine’s Day, Christmas, and Halloween. The motivation for choosing a limited number of holidays is the fact that chocolate is a perishable product. That is why unsold candies cannot be kept until the next season. Moreover, proposing limited variations of seasonal packaging would make the company recognizable, and its marketing strategy more effective. The rationale for recommending this decision is the assumption that bright packaging with seasonal drawings would stand out against the traditional packaging of the company itself and its competitors as well as motivate consumers to purchase them.
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Keeping in mind the recommendations mentioned above, the idea is to design a seasonal package, which would contain a drawing on the front side of the chocolate or candy set and all necessary information required by the FDA regulations on the rear side. Also, it is advisable to introduce different designs of packages during different years. The motivation behind this idea is the assumption that people are interested in the Hershey product not because of its taste but also due to its peculiar and bright styling. For instance, Halloween is traditionally associated with pumpkins, bats, and various monsters. Easter is the season of eggs and rabbits. Valentine’s day cannot be spent without flowers, kisses, hearts, and Cupids. Finally, Christmas is synonymous with Santa Claus, Christmas tree, and miracles. All these elements should be reflected in Hershey’s Kisses packaging in different combinations and colors. Still, orange, black, and brown can become the colors of Halloween, red and pink for Valentine’s day, light blue for Easter, and deep blue, white, and green for Christmas.
The recommended marketing strategy is Hershey’s traditional approach – product placement. The very essence of this marketing trick is to mention Hershey Kisses in different radio programs, show them in magazines, clips, newspapers, on the Internet, etc. General idea is to develop a belief that Hershey is well associated with all holidays (Lamb, Hair, & McDaniel, 2011). Special attention should be paid to seasonal packaging, as it is a way to make Hershey a symbol of a particular seasonal holiday and celebration. It should be noted that product placement is not only public relations strategies but also helps target preferable consumer groups, e.g. teenagers, women, and young adults by showing them in ads.
Nevertheless, introducing bright packaging, which includes detailed information about nutrition, is only acceptable for drawing attention to the product. Being transparent and mentioning facts about daily value and added sugars can become a challenge because of the growing health consciousness and giving preference to natural and organic sweets, which are more healthy. This trend is established during seasonal holidays as well, as people choose to purchase healthy sweets made of nuts, yogurt, berries, or cereals (MarketLine, 2015). Because Hershey Kisses is a seasonal product, the company should react to the rising threat of natural and organic chocolate brands. Product placement mentioned above is among marketing strategies, which apply to maintain the company’s share and popularity. Also, it is recommended to target consumer group that usually gives preference to Hershey Kisses. For instance, as for now, Hershey targets children in schools (Nestle, 2013). Additional attention should be paid to young adults.
Finally, it is paramount to launch a massive and comprehensive campaign, which would center on the advantages of Hershey Kisses compared to competitors both traditional and natural chocolate producers. As for now, no artificial flavors are included in Hershey’s chocolate. This information should become the heart of the new campaign to point to the fact that the negative influence on the condition of human health is less profound. The idea is to teach people to seek a label, marking that a product is made better with natural flavors, e.g. ‘100% natural and caring for your health’ or any other similar text. Still, the primary concern is the amount of added sugars because they lead to diabetes and obesity. To address this problem, it is imperative to point to the fact that one candy a day is not what causes diabetes. So, it is unnecessary to stop buying Hershey Kisses.
To sum up, product placement, designing seasonal packaging, introducing labels, and further targeting or consumers are the strategies, which are best applicable to addressing the challenge of the new FDA legislation and the rising threat of being outperformed by natural and organic chocolate producers. And Hershey Kisses’ current market positions and financial conditions are appropriate for launching and supporting them.
Implementing Experiential Marketing in Promotion of Chocolate Brands During Halloween
Experiential marketing is a relatively new approach to marketing. It is opposite to traditional marketing, which is based on the assumption that a consumer chooses a product or service that maximizes benefits compared to identical ones or substitutes. It means that the foundation of the traditional approach is the belief that all decisions are rational and well thought. In some cases, consumers give preference to a particular product or service provider because of emotional connection or because they are better advertised (Experiential marketing, 2013). Still, these are the determinants of traditional marketing. It is still widely used because of its effectiveness and commonality.
However, due to the evolution of an ordinary consumer and turning into a smart consumer, it is paramount to modify this approach and introduce new strategies. The modern technique is referred to as experiential marketing. It is based on both emotions and rationality of consumers’ decisions. The primary idea is that people give preference to those goods and services, which are closely related to their previous experience of consumption (Schmidt, 2011). It means that the role of feelings and emotions is more significant than in the case of traditional marketing, and the central objective of a manufacturer is to create memories and positive experiences connected to their goods (Zhang, 2012).
Experiential marketing is a combination of numerous strategies. First of all, there are communications strategies, i.e. sales promotion by public relations, advertising, and issuing annual reports so that people are informed of companies’ progress and introduced innovations. Moreover, there are verbal and visual techniques, which refer to various verbal and visual messages such as labels, logos, signs, and other symbols that represent a manufacturer.
Another strategy is product presence. It centers on the packaging and other physical attributes of an offered product. Furthermore, co-branding is also a technique used by experiential marketers. This approach is based on different arrangements and agreements with other manufacturers or investors to increase production or improve performance. Also, people associated with a company such as salespeople or representatives are a part of experiential marketing. Finally, significant attention is paid to websites and electronic media. The idea is to include not only detailed information about a proposed product or service but also make it attractive and entertaining (Experiential marketing, 2013; Schmidt, 2011).
Experiential marketing applies to all spheres of business activities and products, and the confectionery industry is not an exception. However, before recommending effective strategies, it is imperative to highlight the fact that a productive technique is one that entertains consumers but, at the same time, educates them and appeals to their emotions (Schmidt, 2011). It means that people give preference to those manufacturers, which recognizes the effectiveness of entertainment and gaining new knowledge.
Keeping these ideas in mind, it becomes easier to find ways to implement experiential marketing in the promotion of chocolate brands during Halloween. The proposed approach is a comprehensive plan, incorporating most of the strategies mentioned above. The objective of this marketing mix is to boost seasonal sales and improve the financial performance of chocolate producers. First of all, it is essential to focus on product presence, i.e. physical attributes of chocolate. There are two aspects to this approach. First, it is recommended to design the seasonal packaging of a chocolate bar. For instance, drawing some funny monsters or pumpkins is applicable for hinting at the mood of Halloween.
The second aspect of the strategy is to add new flavors or stuffing of chocolate. As the traditional product is pumpkin, introducing a limited series of Halloween chocolates is advisable. The foundation of this approach is adding either pumpkin flavor to bars and candies or seeds both sweet and salted. The idea is to create a special filling related to this seasonal holiday so that consumers are fond of it and desire to purchase it during the next seasons. Redesigning packaging format is recommended for each season to point to the brand’s uniqueness and special approach to its consumers and producers. In addition to it, changing the color of packing is also acceptable. For example, adding more black and orange, as they are symbols of Halloween.
The next strategy is communication. It aims at targeting consumers by making attractive commercials that depict happy people, eating brand’s chocolate. Moreover, the idea is to show happy children, who received these sweets as Halloween treats. Here, it is imperative to present candies and chocolate bars in seasonal packaging and as a part of the Halloween celebration. The goal is to turn a brand into a symbol of Halloween or at least point to the fact that there is no need for preparing homemade treats because there are industry-prepared goodies that are mod and appropriate, as they create the needed mood.
Furthermore, it is recommended to focus on visual and verbal techniques. Primary attention should be paid to texts of advertisements and signs on chocolate packaging. For instance, it is advisable to incorporate a symbol, which would point that offered sweets are a limited edition and available during the Halloween period only. A bat, ghost, skeleton, witch or black cat are all appropriate examples of symbols that can be used in a campaign because they are synonymous with this seasonal holiday. Mentioning ‘limited edition’ on a package is also helpful.
Finally, it is imperative to pay significant attention to websites and electronic media. First of all, a website should be redesigned during this seasonal holiday. For instance, adding Halloween music and changing colors to orange and black is an appropriate strategy for creating a needed mood. The website should provide detailed information on the limited edition chocolates, new flavors and stuffing, and other special offers. Moreover, because the objective of experiential marketing is not only to entertain but also to inform and educate, including some details about contents and nutritious value is recommended. Another option is to add short videos that show the process of production so that a consumer knows what chocolate or candy is made of and how it is made.
To sum up, experiential marketing is the best option for promoting chocolate brands during Halloween. The rationale for making this assumption is the fact that Halloween is a period of special mood and atmosphere just like experiential management appeals to emotions and feelings. Public relations strategies, communication, redesigning packaging, focusing on verbal and visual techniques, and adding a new section on the website or adapting landing page to the atmosphere of this seasonal holiday is a combination of strategies, which should be used by chocolate producers to boost seasonal sales and draw attention to the uniqueness of their brands.
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