Hershey creates roster of eight agencies for comms, CSR support

Chocolate and candy giant The Hershey Company has selected eight agencies to support its communications and CSR efforts, following a competitive review.

HERSHEY, PA: Chocolate and candy giant The Hershey Company has selected eight agencies to support its communications and CSR efforts, following a competitive review.

The firms brought on include Zeno Group, Ketchum, Abernathy MacGregor, Beyond, VOX Global, JPL, UK-based Home, and Framework, confirmed Anna Lingeris, senior manager of brand PR and consumer engagement at Hershey, via email.

"Agency support is reviewed periodically and provides Hershey with the ability to tap into a broad band of talents and skills through specific expertise capabilities," she added in the email. "Agency communications counsel and expertise support various company strategic communications needs, including external communications, internal communications, brand communications, and corporate social responsibility."

She added that brand social channels are managed by Havas, Hershey's digital agency.

Lingeris declined to provide further detail on each agency’s scope of work.

Beyond, which has been working with Hershey for the last two years, did not compete in the recent review, which kicked off with a wide-ranging RFI last May to find one or more PR agencies to handle global corporate communications, brand communications, and social media.

When the search began, sources told PRWeek that at least 14, but no more than 20, agencies were invited to submit proposals. Lingeris previously said Hershey invited incumbent agencies, such as JSH&A Public Relations, as well as firms it has worked with on social or corporate efforts, to send submissions.

Hershey, which manufactures more than 80 candy brands worldwide, including iconic sweets such as Hershey's, Reese's, Jolly Rancher, and Twizzlers, sent out the official RFP this February. At the time, Lingeris said the company was seeking one or more PR agencies to handle corporate, brand, and internal communications for the US and key growth markets such as China, Mexico, India, and Brazil.

Beyond’s work with Hershey, which began with measurement, has expanded over the years, said Cody Elam, director of insights and analytics at the firm.

Initially, the Next Fifteen agency was brought on to create a program that looked at Hershey’s reputation in the media and compared it to conversations about competitors, added Elam. The program was built out to include key pillars of brand reputation for the company, such as performance and CSR efforts.

The work evolved to include some projects around wellbeing and nutrition, as well as corporate reputation and brand reporting, added Elam. More recently, Beyond’s work has expanded globally with corporate reputation and brand reporting for Hershey in China, where the firm is figuring out "how Hershey’s brand is seen in Chinese media," he said.

Zeno Group deferred comment to Lingeris, and Framework, which helps companies with sustainable business practices, declined to comment. The rest of the agencies on the roster were not immediately available to offer statements.

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