Differentiation

After talking about how the grocery industry is still social media “shy” in one of my previous posts I thought I would explore a couple of companies that are actually breaking the mold. I came across two businesses that have really taken social media marketing by the horns. They are PCC Natural Markets and Whole Foods Market, which are going above and beyond the traditional grocery store media. Both of these companies are involved and have put great efforts into a multitude of social media platforms.

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PCC Natural Markets has an impressive official website and is involved in Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, Youtube, and Foursquare. They also have podcasts and offer a mobile friendly website. On their Facebook they have 17,863 likes and over 1,000 people talking about the company. PCC’s following continues to grow because they have a constant upkeep and involvement and this shows that they are involved and they care about their consumers. PCC’s Facebook videos and many photos were not just about the company or the great sale of the week, but they also included numerous customers, families, children, and employees. This gives a greater sense of community and involvement and encourages the engagement of the customers. Their Twitter currently has 11,951 followers and really engages the customers with questions such as “What’s for dinner?” and by offering recipe suggestions. All of their social media also helps drive home their healthy, organic, all-natural foods message.

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I found Whole Foods official website to be even more outstanding. Not only did it have links promoting its social media channels like PCC did, at the bottom of their home page they have live feeds of their blog “Whole Story”Twitter, and Facebook. Whole Foods is also engaged in Google+, Pinterest, and Youtube. The one social media channel that they make use of that PCC has yet to is Instagram, which is smart because they have over 96,000 followers! Every little bit helps with creating share of voice for your company even if it is just photos for consumers to like and comment on. Creating a buzz takes more than just passing out the flyer for the following week at the store front. Whole Foods Youtube channel has over 7,000 subscribers and counting while PCC for some reason only has 61. I believe it is due to the fact that PCC does not have a direct link on their webpage or any of their SM sites directing consumers to their Youtube channel as Whole Foods does. Their Twitter and Facebook pages are similar to PCC’s in respect to being consistently updated, responding to consumers, asking engaging questions, along with offering recipes and suggestions. The Whole Foods brand is also about healthy, organic, and all-natural foods and just like PCC this can be seen across all their SM channels.

I saved the best for last… each company’s Pinterest. I personally think each business uses their account perfectly to differentiate their brands. Both PCC Natural Markets Pinterest and Whole Foods Pinterest say here is what we offer but more importantly here is what you can do with it. They also have boards that are just simply related to food such as well designed kitchens and handy utensil gadgets for cooking. Each business’s Pinterest is a big visual of what the brand stands for and by clicking on each themed board a consumer can become more engaged with the brand and more evolved with the company’s “lifestyle”.

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Just by using social media in general these companies are differentiating their brands from others in the grocery industry that have little or no SM presence. Instead of just trying to sell/push product they are connecting with the consumers and social media is helping them advance in this goal. Finally, SM really helps both companies promote the fact that they are all about organic healthy products, something that traditional media is just not cut out for.

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4 responses to “Differentiation

  1. Jen:
    Great presentation and analysis.
    You provided a good example of how PCC is using Twitter with its “What’s for dinner.” Specifically what the end users of the product PCC sells are doing with it. As you pointed out, this helps to engage their customers.

    When you mentioned Whole Foods 96,000 Instagram followers, it opened my eyes to the potential of Instagram for uses other than I had imagined.

    I’m curious whether you would consider whether the two companies are competing with one another or not.

    Note, one of the great benefits of our class is being introduced to new companies and how they use (or don’t) use social media. Your examination of these two might prove useful in approaching similar companies in the same industry who don’t use (or at least not to the degree) social media.

    Thanks

    Tim

    • Tim,

      Thank you! I believe these two companies are direct competitors. PCC Natural Markets has stores only based out of Greater Seattle while Whole Foods Market has chains all across the US including Seattle, Washington. They are located near each other and both have the same healthy, organic, natural “theme” if you will so even though PCC has a fewer stores they do seem to qualify as competitors.

      I did find analyzing these two companies helpful because I plan on using a company within the same industry for my term project that does not use social media to the degree it should be. They will act as great role models for company I chose and what it should be doing.

      Best,
      Jen

  2. I actually looked at Whole Foods during my undergraduate study and they have such an extraordinary hold on their market that it is quite impressive. I find it impressive and worth the little extra money one may spend to support local farmers as well as other local business. This company has such an understanding in so many categories and touches so much more than health that they are an inspiration to local ecommerce.

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