November 10, 2014

Even The Big Boys Worry About Their Perceived *Value* For Customers

small business valueEarlier last week, in this post, a reader commented that she and her company had spent some time examining what *value* they provided to customers above just being a tasty product.   In a sea of tasty product competitors, they’ve realized that value is what helps differentiate them and what helps keep customers coming back.   This focus on differentiation via value is not just a concern amongst small companies but is something even one of the biggest natural foods retailers finds themselves faced with these days.

For many many years, Whole Foods Market stood out in a sea of supermarkets through their bright and clean stores, their commitment to sustainability, and an array of hard-to-find locally-produced products.  For those who shopped there, the higher prices they paid for groceries was worth it because they felt good about the products they were buying and the positive role those products were playing in the larger economic and ecological landscape.

The rise of natural foods though hasn’t gone unnoticed and while it’s taken some time, now mass supermarkets like Albertsons, Safeway, and even Wal-Mart and Target, now offer organic produce and meats to their increasingly discerning customers.  Which leaves Whole Foods Market with a bit of a conundrum.  If they are carrying, essentially, similar products to the other stores but at potentially higher prices, why would a customer continue to shop at their stores over the competitors?

This is what has recently led Whole Foods Market to launch their very first national branding campaign to help, they hope, clearly convey to customers what makes their practices different and *of value* over their competitors.  Through the campaign they highlight their long-standing commitment to the practices that are in place in their stores as well as their history as a leader in the natural space. In short, they hope to show that some of the other big guys may be offering up organic and other natural products as a way to make more money and they’re arguing that their *value* is that while they offer the same things, their reason for doing so is much deeper and is more in-line with the beliefs of their core consumer.

The campaign has already been launched, locally here in Seattle at least, in their area stores but word has it is that this will ultimately be a multi-channel campaign so you may start seeing Whole Foods Market ads popping up in places you’ve never seen before.

What do your think about this marketing campaign? Do you think it will help differentiate Whole Foods Market is this increasingly crowded space?  What about for your own company – have you tapped into what your value proposition is?

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