No brand is formed overnight. It requires a lot of time and money, as spent by brand owners, in carefully nurturing and growing a franchise. And over time, the brand forms an identity in the consumer’s mind and becomes their preference. This brand equity accrued over the years is at its most vulnerable when it has to shed its old identity and adopt a new one, which can turn out to be a risky endeavour. Hershey India pulled off one such brand transition while shifting from Brookside Dark to Hershey’s Exotic Dark, that too by deploying packaging as a tool to convey the message.
Day by day, packaging innovations are finding novel ways to get more branding mileage. Packaging has not only become a dominant medium to communicate and intrigue customers, but also, is playing a major role in boosting a brand’s growth and helping it reach new audiences. With Hershey’s Exotic Dark’s smooth brand transition, the company has paved the way for another facet of packaging to be looked upon.
The Brookside brand equity
According to a study by Harris Group, 72% of millennials would prefer spending their money on experiences rather than on material items. Today, Indian consumers are more inclined to spend on unique and exotic experiences, as compared to a few years ago. Brookside capitalised on this and positioned itself to appeal to the discerning audiences.
To build a premium reputation in the market, Brookside has been bringing alive its proposition by partnering with premium brands to create unique experiences for consumers. One such partnership was with Sula Vineyards. In which, the company hosted a wine pairing session with the sampling of Brookside at its music festival Sula Fest. “Brookside attracts a customer base of high socio-economic class, aged between 25 and 40 years, living in metropolitan cities. They are highly discerning and experiential in their hobbies and interests, who love lifestyle experiences such as fine dining, wines, music and travel,” says Deepa Naik of Hershey India.
In addition to Sula Fest, to create a buzz in the fashion circle, Brookside collaborated with Times Fashion Week as an exotic chocolate sponsor. The brand had also associated with the TV show Big Boss, engaging the show’s participants with a variety of tasks. These initiatives increased brand awareness in the country
The journey from Brookside to Hershey’s
To accelerate Brookside’s growth by 2021, Hershey India intends to transition the brand to Hershey’s Exotic Dark, says Abhishek Kumar, general manager marketing, Hershey India.
Kumar explains that over the past three years, Brookside has been able to build a strong franchisee of consumers. However, accelerating growth becomes a key task.
So, the company decided to deploy the branding shift. "The strategy is in line with our ‘Hershey’s First’ mantra, which aims at prioritising investments that would foster the growth of our leading brand,” he adds.
The strategy will also help the company gain a strong foothold in the premium chocolate’s category, with a range of products including Hershey’s Kisses, Hershey’s Bar and Hershey’s Exotic Dark.
The branding is in tandem with Hershey’s recent announcement that all three products will be available pan-India through modern and general trade, and eCommerce channels. The Hershey's Exotic Dark chocolate will comprise of a unique combination of dark cocoa rich and exotic fruit flavours like Blueberry and Acai, Raspberry and Goji or Pomegranate.
“For us, the challenge was the newness of technology.
Our team overcame all the hurdles of supply chain manufacturing and the turnaround time of execution was amazingly fast.
The innovation will target and handhold Brookside’s current consumer franchise and provide them a delightful experience as they discover their beloved brand will now be known as Hershey’s Exotic Dark.”
- Deepa Naik, Hershey India
Pick, peel and reveal
According to Naik, packaging is one of the best medium to communicate the brand’s message. “We had put a lot of thought in planning out the re-brand from Brookside to Hershey’s Exotic Dark.
An important challenge given to the packaging team was how to leverage the pack and make the current Brookside franchisee aware of this brand name transition. In this process, we ensure a smooth transition without impacting the current stock in pipeline.” To address this challenge, the Hershey India packaging development team spearheaded by Naik, worked out on a unique proposition of pick, peel and reveal.
“Through this packaging innovation, nothing changes for consumers as they still see the same Brookside branding on the pack however they soon discover the new branding through an intriguing strip which when peeled off would reveal the new branding – Hershey’s Exotic Dark,” says Naik. The strip over the preformed pouch was not a regular pressure-sensitive label.
Instead, it was an integral part of the pouch. In addition, the strip’s peelable strength was specifically designed to be satisfactory enough for the end-user to easily open the strip and experience the transition.