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A Brand They Won’t Forget
By: Janet Kalandranis
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There are certain industries that are a collection of lackluster brands. It's not exactly the fault of the brand; it's due to the fact of the specific industry. There’s little innovation, little connection with customers, and the industry really exists as a convenience instead of a collection of sought-after brands. The grocery industry fits this bill — each with their weekly fliers, loyalty cards, and little focus around marketing. That is, until Trader Joe’s hit the scene and created a cult-like following in one of the most unassuming industries.

When looking at brand engagement, there are classic industries that are always discussed — CPG products, airlines, cell phones, and, of course, the almighty Apple. No one talks about the brands that are within a routine, must-need, convenience industry until one of these brands turns all the tables and does something drastic: actually think about the brand. And more importantly, be everything the other brands within the industry can’t seem to achieve. The concept of Trader Joe’s is focused on the customer, which, although very logical, is not the norm within the grocery world.

As a brand, the focus is around what makes it the outsider. So instead of looking for the largest buildings, the most profitable products, and the best loyalty programs, it takes up space by doing things that no other brand can do within its industry. The brand looks to go in unwanted (small) spaces within strip malls (logical, yes, as there are probably a lot of people there) and test products within its real format. If the product sells they keep it; if not, they rotate it out for something new. Trader Joe’s is okay with taking these risky chances that other grocery chains would never even consider. And these risks pay out with a cult-like following and overly loyal customers.

Sure; the Trader Joe’s model is not something every brand can copy, but its core idea is something that should be noted. Create a connection with customers by delivering something they can’t get anywhere else, and the brand will be rewarded with loyal consumers. Brands shouldn’t simply follow the crowd and stay on the straight path, but zig and zag to get success.

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About the Author
Janet Kalandranis is here to give you all the little brand thoughts that run through her head with a little dash of spice. Find her online here.
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