For the first time, Hershey’s is inviting consumers to design their own candy bars by selecting their favorite ingredients, seeing the equipment in operation and designing the packaging for their custom chocolate candy bar at Hershey's Create Your Own Candy Bar. Lucky for me, my first business trip was opening this new experience at Hershey’s Chocolate World attraction. My colleague and I helped to support the media preview and VIP event hosted just before the grand opening to the general public. After our continuous local media outreach we greeted the media and ensured they were able to take in the full chocolate-making experience.
My entire prep for this event was similar to an exam/final presentation. (I promise you I will be a senior level executive one day still talking like I'm a student.) I don't know what was more funny – the fact that I looked like I was cramming for an exam on the plane ride or that I took a picture of my studies (see below). One thing is for certain, if you can become friends with the pilot on the flight in, you know it's going to be a good trip. As we boarded the plane to Harrisburg about an hour late, the pilot apologized to me for the delay. I asked myself, "Does he realize I am the youngest person traveling on this plane? He should be apologizing to other people, if anyone, considering the delay wasn't even his fault." We chatted about my first business trip to Hershey, which he said he wished he was joining. The best part occurred when we arrived in Harrisburg because as I walked away he wished me luck on my trip and told me to "go kick some butt." I love finding motivation in the most unexpected places.
I’m grateful I was able to see this program from groundbreaking to grand opening. It’s interesting to see a PR program come full circle and even more worthwhile being on-site for an event of this nature. I was able to take in the entire experience of meeting the client for the first time and putting faces to the emails and phone calls we have regularly. I also had the opportunity to fully experience the latest attraction – let me know what you think of my candy bar designing skills ; )
I received great advice from one of the clients with Hershey’s. She is on their PR team and has worked in an agency prior to her position with The Hershey Company. She explained the importance of learning to communicate with all different types of people and to adapt to their communication styles. This will help in conveying messages and avoid any misunderstandings. It will also help in understanding people in general, which is so vital to what we do.
And I haven’t even shared the final icing on the cake… er chocolate bar, yet. When I arrived at the Cincinnati/Kentucky airport for my connecting flight to Chicago I learned that it had been oversold by one seat and they were looking for someone to give up their seat and take the first flight out the following morning. Originally I said forget it, I want to get home. After weighing the options and realizing there were many more people that needed to get home to families, etc. I decided to stay. Not only did I “win” a travel voucher, a hotel stay and food vouchers, I got to see my best friend who lives in Cincinnati. Other travelers thought I was crazy for how excited I was to be “trapped” in Kentucky. I definitely think I won in this situation and couldn’t have imagined a better ending to my first PR biz trip. Life may not always follow your initial plan – you need to roll with it and make the best of any situation.
Any fun travel stories on your end?