Brand in Focus – Whole Foods

 

Brand in Focus - Whole Foods on ShoreBranding.com

Brand in Focus – Whole Foods on ShoreBranding.com

Our next “Brand in Focus” puts Whole Foods’ branding and digital marketing efforts under the microscope. The grocer has been growing here on the east coast and caught my eye over the past few months with its paid advertising efforts on Twitter and Facebook, announcing the grand opening of a new store in Marlboro, NJ. Digging into the company’s digital efforts there are a number of highlights and positives that caught my attention.

First, WholeFoodsMarket.com promotes its efforts across a number of social media sites, all of which we will tackle here. The landing page appeals to the eye with big, bold images scrolling behind the links. When you rollover the text on the left hand sidebar (below) you find a number of links to go to.

Whole Foods Site 1

Scrolling down on the home page you find several ecommerce vehicles, the promotion of some of their social media efforts, and a push towards their mobile – recipes app. I looked into downloading the app and quickly found that it is only available on iOS and not on Android.

Whole Foods Site 2

Getting over the fact that Whole Foods doesn’t have an app in Google’s Play market, let’s take a look at the brand’s efforts across social media platforms. At the time of this write-up, Whole Foods sees its largest following on Twitter, with slightly under 4 million followers. The company has almost 1.6 million Likes on Facebook. Across both visual / image-driven sites (Instagram and Pinterest), the grocer has ~200K followers on each. Finally, on Google’s platforms, Whole Foods has over 80K followers on Google+ and 18K subscribers to its YouTube station.

Here is a review of Whole Foods’ efforts on each platform:

Twitter:

Whole Foods again has a catchy visual as their banner picture on their Twitter page, along with the company’s logo as its default image, which is good for branding given the number of tweets the company is sending out on a daily basis.

Whole Foods Twitter 1

Excluding holidays where the company is not tweeting (and that’s a good thing in my opinion), the Whole Foods Twitter feed sends out about 10 tweets per day. What caught my attention is the branding that is used in their hashtags. Most tweets that include a hashtag start with “#WFM” and it carries across topics such as “Dish” and “Wine” below.

Whole Foods Twitter 2

The vast majority of links that the Twitter feed sends out reverts back to the company’s web site. They do a tremendous job of bringing their fans back to their own, highly engaging web site.

As mentioned above, what really brought my attention to Whole Foods was their targeted advertising campaign on Twitter – where their paid/promoted tweets wound up within my news feed, announcing the forthcoming grand opening of their new store in Marlboro, NJ. That was a good, albeit easy, use of targeting a particular message on the Twitter ad platform.

Facebook:

With an audience of about 1.6 million, Whole Foods does a great job of bringing visualization to its Facebook page – with connections/links to its Instagram and Pinterest accounts right on the main page. In the image below you’ll see the hashtag call out, which looks to be a seasonal update or change based on the calendar. One item that did catch my attention vs. other brands we have put under the radar is that Whole Foods does not put as much detail into their history on the far right, jumping from their “founded” date to 2008.

Whole Foods Facebook 1

The level of engagement Whole Foods sees on “regular” status updates (always with a picture/visual) is fair, with a couple hundred Likes and double digit shares. However, I noticed that when they posted a deal/sale, it was shared almost one thousand times and liked by 12K+ people …

Whole Foods Facebook 2

Similar to what the company does with their Twitter accounts, they let each Whole Foods store create their own Facebook page. One of the local stores here has their own page with over 10K likes.

Whole Foods Facebook 3

Instagram:

Whole Foods has the seamless transition over to Instagram from their Facebook page. Over 200K are following the retailer on the picture and video sharing network. On average, Whole Foods looks to upload one picture per day, so it isn’t or doesn’t become overbearing for its followers. What I like about the feed is that it isn’t always about food or their store, there are pictures that cover off on a healthy lifestyle, exercising, etc.

It looks like back in April of this year they ran a promotional effort (#FrantiTakeover) on the network for Earth Week. Again, a campaign or promotion that isn’t all about the brand, but extending itself in a way that stays within the brand’s overall image.

Whole Foods Instagram 1

Pinterest:

Whole Foods does a great job on the visual storyboard network, currently with 60 different boards across a bevy of different topics. It wasn’t until the Pinterest page that I finally got the “Whole Foods story” in their description at the top of the page – started in Austin, TX as one store and now a leader with over 340 in North America.

The image covers for each of their boards is colorful and appealing to the eye. They are centered correctly and there is enough of a contrast from board to board that grabs your attention as you scroll through their home page.

Whole Foods Pinterest 1

Don’t think for a second we won’t be watching their Thanksgiving boards in our efforts to #SaveThanksgiving in the coming months. This is just one of the boards that have been created for the holiday, which integrates their #FoodThanks hashtag campaign and is a group board that allows other Pinners to add their own images.

Whole Foods Pinterest 2

Google+:

A few items caught my attention on the Whole Foods G+ page. First, many of the posts were the same as their Facebook page, verbatim. While you can certainly post the same information, it felt like it was a copy paste from one network to the other and given the overall audience size, I would assume it goes from Facebook over to Google+.

However, I did like the in-depth “Story” that they provide on Google+ which includes their mission statement centering on “Whole Foods, Whole People, Whole Planet”. Pictures that have been uploaded to G+ are unique to the site. There is also a seamless connection to the company’s YouTube page … however, the G+ page links to the incorrect YouTube page.

Whole Foods Google 1

YouTube:

The correct Whole Foods YouTube page has over 18K subscribers. However, the link off of the G+ page connects to a different Whole Foods YouTube page that has several Hangouts from a number of months ago. Focusing on the right page, Whole Foods brings a unique cover photo to YouTube and breaks down their videos into various categories, including recipes, local stories, and several others. The company has made the effort to create playlists for its subscribers so that if you have a particular interest, you can go in and watch the group of videos on the same subject.

Whole Foods YouTube 1

Whole Foods also connects subscribers to 8 other featured YouTube channels. This immediately felt like some good, old “brandscaping” efforts between Whole Foods and others.

Whole Foods YouTube 2

Overall Summary:

Whole Foods has caught the attention of many across social media and does a very good job of creating unique content across a lot of different mediums. They are on top of the latest features rolled out by each network and do a great job of creating visually stimulating posts and updates. Aside from that little snafu on the link from G+ to YouTube, Whole Foods gets an A for their digital marketing efforts!

What is your opinion of Whole Foods’ branding and digital marketing strategy across each network? Is there one network that you particularly follow them on or like their efforts more on? If so, why? Let us know in the Comments section below.

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 7-20-14

Branding and Digital Marketing

Branding and Digital Marketing

Welcome back to another #SundayMusings where this week’s focus will be on social media! This week I’ve picked out two write-ups that speak to social media broadly and then the remaining stories cover off specifically on my favorite social media platforms – Twitter, Google+, Foursquare, and Pinterest.  We’ll go into each in more detail below.

#1 – 5 Reasons Why Brands Need Integrated Social Media Marketing – via neerajsancheti.wordpress.com 

Premise: As integrated marketing plans become more and more regular across companies, it isn’t enough to be on one or two social media platforms. The author puts together five reasons why your brand or company needs to be on different platforms and where you should think about going.

Thoughts: There is a fine line between being everywhere and being in the right places. Many try to be everywhere in order to achieve the greatest ‘reach’. However, if you aren’t engaging with your customers / followers, what’s the point? At the same time, trying to be everywhere leaves you communicating with the wrong audience more times than not. So there are some points in the write-up that insinuate increasing visibility is the best thing you can do, and I would add the caveats before deciding to sign up for each and every social media platform.

#2 – Optimize Your Posts on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and More via busines2community.com  

Premise: Aside from creating great content, you need to figure out the best ways to optimize your posts in order to improve sharing across social media. The author takes a look across multiple platforms and provides tips on how to optimize your posts across NINE different networks – LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, YouTube, Instagram, Vine, and Tumblr!

Thoughts: This is an excellent resource for those that enjoy clear, concise summaries and tips on what you can or should do when posting across social media. A few items that are worth calling out:

  • LinkedIn Tip to “Edit your description” – Completely agree here, as LinkedIn allows you to provide a summary of your article or link – similar to filling in the SEO on a blog. Use it!
  • Pinterest Tip to “Avoid human faces” – Very interesting stat and not something I would have ever thought about.
  • Vine Tip, “Infinite loop” – Vine clips that follow this rule are absolutely more engaging and will receive more views than those with closure.

#3 – “5 Brands Successfully Using Twitter GIFs” via Likeable.com 

Premise: Last month Twitter announced that it would now support GIF files in status updates and brands have been trying to capitalize ever since. Likeable takes a dive into what brands are successfully leveraging the new capability in their branding / digital marketing efforts.

Thoughts: It is a little interesting to see Twitter allow GIFs well after the fact that Vine has been introduced. This leads me to believe that there is some sort of dip in Vine usage, creativity, etc. that the company is seeing. The recent updates to the Vine app make it more appealing, but to be honest, I don’t check the app nearly as much as I used to.

In terms of the five brands/companies that are provided as good examples, I find that @SBNationGIF is a tremendous follow for sports fans. I also enjoyed the few Bud Light GIF’s found on their Twitter feed. What brands have you seen succeed on Twitter using GIF files?

#4 – “10 Google+ Features You Need to Know” via Michael Bird on LinkedIn 

Premise: Michael Bird puts together a list of ten Google+ functions that can help your branding efforts on the platform. This includes integrating with YouTube and several, more functional elements to optimizing your G+ efforts.

Thoughts: My second favorite social media platform, behind Twitter, has been adding features for users since its inception and the list provided here include several items that I really enjoy. The Google+ Auto Awesome creates fantastic GIFs on your phone automatically. If you take a handful of pictures right in a row, the feature will automatically create GIFs for you when you have Google+ connected to your camera phone.

There is also a deep integration between G+ and YouTube that can be taken advantage of among those with YouTube channels. You can broadcast your Hangouts on Air seamlessly and increase engagement / commenting between the two platforms.

#5 – “Why Foursquare Lost a Loyal User” via wearesocialmedia.gr 

Premise: The author was an avid user of Foursquare but admits to using the company’s services less and less since the launch of Swarm. Given the need to monetize, Foursquare split the functionality of the old Foursquare in half and left the check-ins and social aspects to Swarm. The author provides four points that argue against the splitting of the services that the old Foursquare provided.

Thoughts: Foursquare has been one of my favorite apps and since the launch of Swarm, I find myself frustrated with the back and forth needed to get what I want out of the service. I personally do not care about the badges, but I’m in alignment with all of the other points from the article. I hate having to open up two apps to get the information I want or need.

I understand why they broke up their services into two parts and I’m sure their data suggests that there is a majority of users that feel similarly. However, this write-up was actually a nice find, as I felt like I was in a small minority that didn’t like the new Foursquare/Swarm combination. What are your thoughts on the company’s decision to break these services apart?

Tweet of the Week:

I found the Embassy Suites Hotels contest as a “Promoted Tweet” on Twitter and thought that this was a great use of Pinterest. They have their own hashtag for the campaign and it felt like an engaging contest to get users to engage with the brand. Then I clicked on the link and it took me to their Facebook page and I was all sorts of confused. A Pinterest contest, promoted on Twitter, and then taken to their Facebook page?

Back to the contest itself: Pinterest has jumped into one of my favorite social media platforms and this is another great use of a contest and promotional effort from a brand on the network. What do you think of the campaign?

Thanks for swinging by this week’s #SundayMusings! What stories caught your attention this week in social media? Let us know in the Comments section below. Thanks and have a great week!

Pin of the Month – Brands on Twitter

Infographic from WSJ.com  (Link provided in write-up below)

Infographic from WSJ.com
(Link provided in write-up below)

July’s “Pin of the Month” actually takes a look at a somewhat dated infographic created by the Wall Street Journal back in December of 2011. I came across this graphic when doing some research for our next “Brand in Focus” (hint: it will be the brand that appears at the top of our “Pin of the Month”) and still feel that it is quite relevant today.

We have seen quite a few examples of brands and companies handing over their social media accounts to staff members, only to be forced into an uncomfortable situation and/or an apology due to poor online behaviors of said employees. This graphic takes a look at three brands / companies that “win” on Twitter with strong digital marketing efforts on the platform while giving only a select few the keys to the car on the network, becoming the voice of the brand for each.

Whole Foods, Southwest, and Best Buy are all using their Twitter handles to converse with their audience, building engagement and becoming an extremely useful resource for each. Each company uses Twitter in their own, unique way that has clearly resonated with fans and consumers.

Whole Foods tweets out recipes, tips, and acknowledges/responds to messages sent to its corporate account and was run by one person at the time the graphic was created. Each Whole Foods location can also create their own Twitter account, but is ultimately responsible for it on its own. What really caught my attention here is the number of followers reported on this infographic (2.1 million) vs. where they stand in July 2014 (3.7+ million). That shows exponential growth in their following on Twitter relative to the other brands shown in the graphic.

Southwest Airlines and Best Buy both have a team of employees that handle the questions that come from fans and followers. Both companies have grown marginally since the graphic was produced. While Southwest continues to leverage the platform to its advantage, Best Buy has abandoned the @Twelpforce account. You have to wonder who made this decision and why, as the company was receiving a ton of positive publications of the service. This seems to provide another example of what continues to go wrong with the company.

Are you interacting with any of these brands on Twitter … or have you in the case of Best Buy? What has been your experience? I personally love the direct connection with brands that Twitter provides. While you will tend to see a lot of grumbling on the network (self-included), there are certainly benefits to this type of connection and for brands that openly engage with its customers.

UPDATE 7/19:

GeekSquad saw this month’s “Pin of the Month” and reached out to me on Twitter.  You can see here that Best Buy has since broken out into separate Twitter accounts.  That really should have been their last tweet on the Twelpforce account to let everyone know what their plan was.  That said thanks to “Agent Derek” for reaching out to me and providing the appropriate information!

For those that may be unfamiliar with our Pin of the Month, each month we’ll be posting one of the better infographics, pictures, etc. that we typically find on our Pinterest page and (over-) analyzing it in a blog write-up. Follow Shore Branding on Pinterest for frequent updates across branding and digital-related information and infographics.

Pin of the Month – Retail Loyalty

June's "Pin of the Month" from Kobie Marketing Retail Loyalty in 2014

June’s “Pin of the Month” from Kobie Marketing
Retail Loyalty in 2014

Our June ‘Pin of the Month’ focuses on retail loyalty and how mobile technology is forwarding the market. The infographic is brought to us by Kobie Marketing. We’ve been focusing on mobile in recent weeks through our bi-weekly #SundayMusings and even in last month’s Pin of the Month – the Smartphone Revolution.

If you have spent any time on this site over the past year, I think we can align on the fact that more and more people are using smartphones and they are becoming more and more of a part of our everyday lives. Within the infographic we see a relatively bold statement from Kobie that “2014 will be the year of seamless transition between brick-and-mortar, online, and mobile”.

How many of you are already using your mobile while you are out shopping to do comparative pricing, find a quick recommendation or feedback on a particular item, etc.? I know I find myself doing this a lot more frequently. Given this behavior, Kobie’s infographic would include me in that 40% consulting three or more channels before a purchase and the 78% that are checking social media platforms to interact with brands.

How are brands and companies dealing with this in order to win more frequently with potential customers? They are leveraging mobile-based technologies, most specifically GPS or location-based services to better target consumers. You see targeted ads across mobile applications, more relevant advertising in your Facebook and Twitter feeds, etc.

How relevant is mobile in your current shopping patterns and behavior? How do you think that will change this year?

For those that may be unfamiliar with our Pin of the Month, each month we’ll be posting one of the better infographics, pictures, etc. that we typically find on our Pinterest page and (over-) analyzing it in a blog write-up. Follow Shore Branding on Pinterest for frequent updates across branding and digital-related information and infographics.

Pin of the Month – Smartphone Revolution (Guest Writer)

For May’s “Pin of the Month” we have a guest writer to provide their thoughts and insights on the “smartphone revolution”. Dean Olsen volunteered his writing services for this month’s Pin. If you enjoy his write-up, you can find more of his thoughts on his writing portfolio – Observations by Olsen

In modern times, you would be hard pressed to find anyone without some kind of smartphone device.  Actually, according to this infographic, there may even come a day where there are more smartphones than people.

Smartphone Revolution - Infographic from 1800NumberNow.com

Smartphone Revolution – Infographic from 1800NumberNow.com

[Read more...]

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 5-11-14

Branding and Digital Marketing

Branding and Digital Marketing

This week’s #SundayMusings was decided as soon as we received the following email from Pinterest …

Being featured on Pinterest = Awesome!

Being featured on Pinterest = Awesome!

 

With that, here are the stories that caught my attention over the past few weeks that related to Pinterest – branding on the site, Pinterest marketing, etc. [Read more...]

Pin of the Month – Google Maps

 

Google Maps infographic by Business-Management-Degree.net

Google Maps infographic by Business-Management-Degree.net

 

The ‘Pin of the Month’ for April 2014 is one that was actually sent my way by Louann Fadrik of Business-Management-Degree.net.  This ties in nicely with one of the recent themes written about here on ShoreBranding.com – my personal loyalty to Google’s products.  This month’s ‘Pin of the Month’ focuses specifically on Google Maps and how it is changing location-based data and business.

At the top of the infographic we see the future of location-based data and what many believe the future holds for us.  “L [Read more...]

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 4-13-14

Branding and Digital Marketing

Branding and Digital Marketing

Welcome back to a new #SundayMusings w/ Shore Branding!  Our bi-weekly write-up has a new focus topic this week and that is content marketing.  Content marketing has become all the rage, but truth be told, I see it as a fancy phrase that is an extension of your branding efforts.  I’m sure many will disagree with this sentiment, but that’s my view on the latest catchphrase in marketing.

#1 – 9 Tips for Creating Content that Gets Shared – via JeffBullas.com 

Premise: Jeff Bullas provides his top nine tips for creating content that gets shared.  From identifying your audience/target through “making information accessible”, Jeff provides a good amount of context for each of his nine tips.

Thoughts: All nine of the tips found this article are useful and ought to be kept in mind as you (re-)focus on your content.  The one tip that seems highly relevant given our changes to these #SundayMusings write-ups is “#6 – Pay attention to trends”.  That was the main reason for moving to a topic-focused style of writing for #SundayMusings and our numbers and shares across social media have improved.  [Read more...]

Pin of the Month – Restaurant Mobile Apps

 

Infographic credit to QSRWeb.com/blog

Infographic credit to QSRWeb.com/blog

 

Our March 2014 ‘Pin of the Month’ includes a bit of information on the key talking point this month on ShoreBranding.com – loyalty.  The infographic itself was found on QSRweb.com’s blog and was immediately selected based on the first of five tips it provided to restaurants who are considering a mobile app. [Read more...]

Pin of the Month – USA Today’s Super Bowl Ad Meter

 

Infographic credit: USA Today

Infographic credit: USA Today

February’s ‘Pin of the Month’ takes one last look at this year’s Super Bowl advertising.  While many were busy watching the Seahawks bury the Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII, a number of others were waiting for the commercial breaks to rate the ads.

This month’s infographic is from USA Today, visual.ly and Keyhole and summarizes the results from the USA Today Ad Meter, an annual look at the best Super Bowl ads since 1989.  The past two years have brought in the public’s opinions into the polling and you see the results above. [Read more...]