Tips for Launching a New Product in an International Market


Jeff Beckman, Director of Corporate Communications for The Hershey Company, recently spoke to PPRA members during the organization’s “Crafting a Sweet Launch” event. Beckman educated members about the challenges The Hershey Company faced when launching Lancaster candy in the Chinese market. Some of our most loved products and services did not originate in the United States. However, we share the same strong personal connection with our favorite brands globally. Here are 5 key points PR practitioners must keep in mind when launching a new product into an international market.


Every country possesses a uniqueness of its very own. After careful research, The Hershey Company learned that the preference of sugar content varies from country to country. The Chinese prefer a much lower sugar content in their candy than Americans. Once The Hershey Company pinpointed a major preference of the Chinese, they were able to adjust accordingly and create a tailor-made candy that would best suit their palates.

Culture and Heritage 

Before deciding to pursue an international PR strategy, it is vital to research the markets and trends within a country. Is there a strong need for a specific product? Who are your competitors? How can you position your product differently? The Hershey Company recognized China as a key growth market and noticed the opportunity for a new treat to be introduced into China’s thriving premium milk candy segment. The Hershey Company also found that Chinese consumers are strongly inclined to purchase products that are endorsed by their favorite celebrities. This small piece of information played a major role in the product launch.

What is Newsworthy 

PR practitioners must identify their key messages. Can you tie an impressive story angle to your product that resonates with your foreign audience? The Hershey Company wanted to emphasize the brand’s commitment to its roots. By linking its new innovation center, which opened in Shanghai, with Lancaster candy, Hershey was able to position the brand as an innovation leader.

Media Relations 

Recognize the most well respected media outlets and publications within a country.
Avoid jargon when expressing key messages and get straight to the point. Translate press releases, announcements and presentations into the local language. Hire an on-site interpreter if necessary. The Hershey Company established relationships with government officials and improved relationships with key retail consumers through memorable customer activities.

This post was written by PPRA member Renee’ Velez, a public relations graduate from Rowan University. Velez is a social media enthusiast and she also enjoys blogging. Connect with Renee’ on Twitter (@rvelez88) or follow her blog —

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