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Branded relationships in five easy lessons : Whole Foods

03/16/2012

Source: wholefoodsmarket.com via Elizabeth on Pinterest

Here’s the lesson behind these five easy lessons of branded relationships: Identity is just the beginning. Experience matters and culture makes you a brand rock star. Whole Foods Market ® (NASDAQ: WFM) clearly gets it. Even check-out is gamified, offering color, lights, and sound that prompt intrigue in anticipating the next available checkout. It’s not about time passed, but quality time lived zestfully.

1. State your promise clearly.

Around here, we often talk about our mission in terms of Whole Foods – Whole People – Whole Planet. Basically, we think these elements all play a huge role in our success.

About the Company, Whole Foods

Whole Foods has clearly completed business boot camp and drilled down to a core mission statement which promises 360 integrity. Building the company out from the single word “Whole” has created a total experience for:

  • the food retailer’s enterprise of “62,000 team members” (that phrase alone tells you something),
  • curious shoppers who come to find out what others cheer about, and
  • passionate members of the brand’s community.

2. Engage the whole customer from the get-go.

Source: oaklandmagazine.com via Elizabeth on Pinterest

This Whole Foods Market in Oakland, CA clearly gets the local culture and the brand essence to serve up a total experience. Note the palm trees, bike stations, and lawn table. People come to shop, live and share all in one. Part rest-stop and zest-stop, customers know their foodie soul will be well fed at every step. Note too, the impeccable cleanliness.

Related article:  Whole Foods Market, Oakland Magazine (April 2008)

3. Leave no engagement unbranded.

Source: graphic-exchange.com via Elizabeth on Pinterest

Whole Foods mastered a 180 of “store brands.” Considered the “affordable” alternative to branded consumer products, the store brand is the only brand at Whole Foods. Every bit of packaging expresses the joie de vivre of fresh food of the highest quality. That’s important when fresh food is front and center, either unprepared food or deli-style prepared meals and snacks. Think of this festive beverage next to a freshly prepared Whole foods salad and you get the idea.

The lesson: keep your eye on that brand sweetspot and make sure you’ve prepared a reward, promise, or aspiration to enrich every moment your customer engages with it.

4. Flaunt how much your brand cares.

Source: google.com via Elizabeth on Pinterest

This catalog of in-store recipes represents the something more that always tells customers they are worth more. And that’s what keeps customers coming … (You get it!) Part memento, part user’s guide, this recipe catalog empowers Whole Foods customers to bring the whole experience home. Of course, there’s a gentle nudge of cross-selling, but it comes without the cost of pushing. The shopper who looks to this recipe catalog has their sweetspots fed. S/he looks for solutions (i.e., ways to cook all the fresh food purchased) and is open to expanding this branded relationship they trust so growing loyalty.

5. Find a place in your customer’s heart.

Source: Uploaded by user via Elizabeth on Pinterest

What more can you say when a customer creates art from your products. Now you’ve got a brand culture with evangelistas at every step. Founded in Austin Texas, Whole Foods Market continues to expand nationally with over 300 stores as of Q1 2012.

What’s your experience?

Does Whole Foods Market set a new level in experiential branding and retailing? What lessons can you share for building branded relationships. Log in and post your comments here or share with a friend.
Note: these images posted via Pinterest with the intent of “fair use,” promoting education and discussion.

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