Hershey’s Halloween ‘Helping hands’ retailer scheme preps industry for key spooky season

Hershey has reported a strong level of engagement with its ‘helping hands’ programme of supporting its retail partners, as the US business gears up for Halloween, which has consistently proved one of its most vital periods of the calendar year, writes Neill Barston.

As the company explained, its initial store scheme, which was started a decade ago, has paired corporate and other non-store employee volunteers with retail team members to join them in shops to help set up merchandising displays, fill store shelves and experience a day-in-the-life.

According to the company, the venture has proved instrumental in the past few years, with ,ore than 2,000 volunteers have participated in the Halloween preparation efforts, and each one has walked away with a deeper respect for the role our retail team plays—and an experience they’ll never forget.

As Stephanie Berman explains of the venture, the company stars making its  Helping Hands matches toward the end of summer. Volunteers from across the business, including marketing, sales, engineering, packaging and supply chain, are paired with Territory Sales Leads (TSLs). She said: “We’ve even had our Chief Sales Officer and Chief Human Resources officers participate, along with several Vice Presidents, some of whom started their careers as TSLs. This season, a record 550+ volunteers are joining in.

“The experience is always action-packed and challenging. It’s also inspiring. Invariably, Helping Hands partners are wowed by all the responsibilities of our TSLs. In addition to building merchandising displays, this team is hard at work sharing consumer insights with retail partners and flexing our technological capabilities, like using 3D visuals and augmented reality to optimise display designs. Plus, they never stop hustling.”

Furthermore, her colleague Ryan Riess, Vice President, Brand Strategy and Creative Development, agreed that that the initiative had proved instrumental in promoting a deeper engagement with its key retail partners and in understanding the challenges they face.

He said: “I didn’t realise how difficult the job of a territory sales lead is. The drive, stamina and commitment that each retail team member shows every single day is inspiring. They are truly making moments of goodness on the frontlines with their daily interactions. Witnessing the conversations and storytelling these teammates did all while merchandising and strategising with our retailers made me proud to be their teammate. “Every single employee, from commodity buyers to food scientists to marketers, are counting on them to get the ball across the line.”

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