Channels / Drug / Grocery / Retailer Features / Trend Features / Specialty Grocery
Doug's Drift

Big-Picture Branding

March 1, 2014
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Retailers are quickly evolving into more than just a means to an end—well beyond simple transaction—and the captivating aspect of that picture is lifestyle branding.

When done well, this approach transcends traditional retail channel divisions. At the point when shoppers align a retailer’s branding with a big-picture concept like “health and wellness” or “sustainability,” meaning meshes with commerce—and we’ve taken a significant step along the path of long-term lifestyle brand integration.

Three retailers, across three different retail channels, provide succinct illustrations of aspirations toward this next-generation model.

Safeway—Traditional Grocer as Wellness Company

In May 2013, Steve Burd, on his way out the door as chairman, president and CEO, said, “Today, we’re a supermarket company … selling wellness services and wellness products.” Within 10 years, he continued, Safeway will become a wellness company that happens to sell food. This will involve simplifying the shopping experience across OTC/Healthcare aisles and upping the availability of knowledgeable staff and trained pharmacists, among myriad other health-centric initiatives.

CVS—Drug Store as Healthcare Provider

CVS wants to take this health-and-wellness gambit one step further—to become an arm of an individual’s healthcare network. After its landmark February announcement that it would no longer carry tobacco products, Larry J. Merlo, president and CEO, said: “CVS Caremark is playing an expanded role in providing care through our pharmacists and nurse practitioners. The significant action we’re taking today by removing tobacco products from our retail shelves further distinguishes us in how we are serving our patients, clients and healthcare providers and better positions us for continued growth in the evolving healthcare marketplace.”

Whole Foods Market—Specialty Grocer as Agent of Change

Whole Foods Market includes personal health-and-wellness in their mission, but takes another step by adding in the health of the planet. The “Mission & Values” section of the Whole Foods website says it best: “Our motto—Whole Foods, Whole People, Whole Planet—emphasizes that our vision reaches beyond food retailing. In fact, our deepest purpose as an organization is helping support the health, well-being and healing of both people—customers, team members and business organizations in general — and the planet.” (For more on how Whole Foods integrates this corporate mission into its branding, see the Retailer of the Year article starting on page 12.)

Once a company establishes its big-picture branding story and disseminates it across the company, it quickly becomes the backdrop of all discussions, including decision-making up and down the organizational chain, stocking tactics and much more.

 What’s your brand’s story? 

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