.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;} Making Sense: e-Digest of Brand Thinking

Monday, April 02, 2007

Looking for a new brand experience? This one comes to you.

Trader Joe’s, an upbeat gourmet grocery store chain, recently moved into the Atlanta market. Soon afterwards, a copy of the winter 2007 edition of Trader Joe's Fearless Flyer hit my mailbox. It’s a twenty-four page booklet the size of a comic book, printed on newsprint (or else some type of tan vellum) with lots of old-fashioned stock illustrations (none of which are of the food). It’s dripping with that old-time Farmer’s Almanac look and feel.

As you flip through its pages, you begin a fun, appetizing journey through the store. Goodies, such as Organic Wild Blueberries, Hazelnut & Fig Cookie Thins, and New Zealand Grass Fed Sharp Cheddar, spring forth to tantalize you—right from your easy chair. It’s a cunning strategy, because when you cross the Trader Joe’s threshold after reading the Flyer, you’re predisposed to view your shopping experience as an extension of the one you underwent at home.

This has nothing to do with the previous two paragraphs, but while we are on the subject of Trader Joe’s, check out the March 27th post,
Conspicuous Virtues, in Cool News, published by reveries.com. According to Joseph Rago in The Wall Street Journal (3/23/07), “many consumers are not seeking an outright demonstration of wealth” but rather to “demonstrate their innate goodness … A trip to the supermarket is instructive. For some time, everyday food has groaned with every sort of moral sentiment: all-natural, sustainable, cage-free, organic, organic, organic … They are virtuous goods.” Retailers like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s, says Joseph,“ base their identities (and marketing strategies) on giving people a way to eat so that each of us may demonstrate where we rank in the virtue standings.”

And while we’re on the subject of feeling virtuous, did you know that you can redeem your Hilton HHonors points for a donation to one of the charitable organizations the Hilton Family supports—from AIDS Walk to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital? Hilton calls it “being hospitable,” which coincidently is their tag line.

So, there you have it. The secret to a virtuous life—shop at Trader Joe’s and sleep at Hilton.

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