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Whole Foods and Storytelling

ImageEveryone wants to hear a good story.  Everyone wants something to believe in. Storytelling unlocks relevance and emotion.  Good storytelling can create a direct link to authenticity, culture and brand values.  The best storytelling is both engaging and allows participation.  Every brand has a story.  An inner purpose and cultural relevance.   Let’s look at Whole Foods and reflect on their story.

Brand Spotlight: The Whole Foods Strategy

They aren’t just a “grocery store”, they are transforming the way we think about food. They have expanded beyond retail to an aspiration lifestyle brand (much like Starbucks did).

Whole Foods stands clearly for several core values:

1. Caring about the community and the environment
2. Promoting healthy eating and education to our stakeholders
3. Selling the highest quality organic and natural foods available
4. Creating ongoing win-win partnerships with our suppliers

And the consumer believes in these:

1. Whole Foods allows you to invest in yourself and your life
2. Whole Foods is honest, transparent and approachable
3. Whole Foods delivers premium shopping experience
4. Whole Foods is good for me, my community and the planet

Vibrant Storytelling Engine

They serve up high-caliber and byte-sized visual content to tell and energize their story.  This Storytelling Engine (AKA: Content Marketing) is centrally powered by Tumblr Blog, Pinterest and their Magazine where they tap into bloggers, photographers, illustrators, consumer content and a community of food experts.  While engaging their audience with real value their brand image is being reinforced in the visual language and relevant product content.

All Content ladders back to one or more key brand themes

A. Ideas & Inspiration
B. Education
D. Organic
E. Health and Nutrition
F. Environment & Sustainability
G. Community & Social Development
F.  Healthy Lifestyle-Oriented Topics

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Relevant Content Drives Conversation

Social Media channels are just a natural extension of who Whole Foods is.  They want to be an integral part of communities and seek to have conversations with their customers (and partners).  They have a social eco-system approach that includes 604 social points of presence.  Whole Foods makes an investment in fresh and valuable content that is delivered in a personable and honest way.  They always have a focus on their community and not their brand first.

Regional Content Focus

Whole Foods also has realized that their customers’ needs are different and vary from region to region. Besides having region specific social accounts and content marketing strategies, they also segmented their messaging to respond better to their audience’s needs. For instance they have one Twitter account for meat related topics and another for cheese. Whole Food stores around the country have now created their own Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter accounts.

Whole Foods marketing is really about storytelling – a layering of images, texts and ideas (as ideals) that embrace customers into their world.

August 27, 2013 • #, #

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