Think Like a DTC, Act Like a CPG

Hershey has an audience strategy that is data- and customer-first. As Ashlee Carlisle, Media Audience Strategy & Activation, The Hershey Company, put it, "We make a product -- candy, gum and mints -- that has potential to go into 98% of U.S. homes."
But, "for one brand and one platform, we had two audiences. Within our agencies, we had two different people buying off one brief. The process had broken down. We got so engulfed in other passion points, we lost track of the fundamentals."

Using a farm-to-table mindset, Hershey started with the planning process. "Everything begins and ends with a brief. At the agency, we looked at the brief but it could be misinterpreted. Brief and activation were areas I decided to impact," she said.

"We are living, walking and breathing an audience-first strategy and not a campaign-first strategy. Each moment of truth is an area where we had to win and understand our consumer. We functionally aligned ourselves in siloes. But if you have one focus, you don't have full visibility in the full funnel. All roads lead to the consumer."

Hershey's new planning process goes from audience insight to the brief to the strategy to activation, and, finally, to measurement.

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