Whole Foods 365
Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share
15 January 2019
The reasons why Whole Foods 365 died
If nothing else, you have to give it up to Whole Foods for seeing its mistake and not making it worse. The grocery chain announces it’s discontinuing Whole Foods 365 stores.
Not to crow too much, but I wrote nearly a year ago that Whole Foods 365 was a bad idea. It was the grocery chain developing a fighter brand against discount grocery, such as Walmart.
The problem? For one, Whole Foods never had a permission to be a discount provider. Its brand means fresh foods with an upscale and healthy bent. Whole Foods 365 presents a chink in the brand’s armor, making the new concept less believable.
Therefore, Whole Foods will continue operating its 12 current Whole Foods 365 stores but no more. (And how long do you think those stores will remain open?) Customers simply didn’t flock to those locations because the whole idea was simply not believable. Nor was it differentiating from any other discount grocery.
“If audiences truly believed in Whole Foods 365, that would mean the parent brand means zilch.”
A Whole Foods 365 success would’ve meant the parent brand means nada
But at least Whole Foods recognizes its folly. Many brands will continue fighting the good fight because they have so much emotion wrapped up into it. It helps that Whole Foods has a new CEO, so the company was able to get out of its own way before more damage was done.
The idea of a fighter brand is not a bad one. In fact, P&G has made a fortune with fighter brands, holding off cheaper options so its primary brands are protected.
The Whole Foods 365 concept, though, failed in part because it kept the Whole Foods name. To be a true fighter brand, it must have a different name. The connections between it and the parent company must seem invisible to the consumer.
Putting Whole Foods into the name lessened the parent brand and doomed the 365 concept because no one would believe Whole Foods could be a discount retailer.
Nor should they. If they did, then Whole Foods would have an even bigger problem. If audiences truly believed in Whole Foods 365, that would mean the parent brand means zilch.
Lucky for Whole Foods consumers didn’t buy it.
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