Whole Foods' Brand Patina & Magnetic Marketing Expands Into Travel

Sometimes it takes a brand decades to use its specific combination of logo, words, font type, design, colors  and value to evolve into a lifestyle choice. The promise, look, personality and feel is the brand's patina. It transcends the commercial transaction igniting what I call 'magnetic marketing,' or the time when the buyer and seller travel on the same wavelength, where they are more tightly attracted to each other, than any other time in the customer-brand relationship cycle.

The brand patina of Apple conjures up life-changing devices, quality design and innovative technology. Allowing us to vet them over the course of the last decade prompts us to connect with them on a more personal level, where we've learned to trust their new product offerings as we meld them into our daily lifestyle choices.

Via magnetic marketing, Whole Foods is another such brand whose patina has morphed itself into a lifestyle preference -- and now, it's turning to travel to expand upon the strong connections it's already established. To accomplish this, like Apple, Whole Foods and its association with organic foods is a passion point that assists in building an even stronger bond between seller and buyer.

According to Gary Leopold in his recent review on MediaPost, he identifies it as such: "Whole Foods gets who you are as our consumer, and there’s something tangential to (their) category and related to (their) brand that (they) think you’d be into.”

Whole Journeys is the outgrowth of this brand. It's a tour product that will appeal to "foodies" who would also trust Whole Foods to plan a tour for them. Not only does it speak to the burgeoning farm-to-table movement but its also cognizant of the fact their consumers would like to take their food experience one step further.

Who better to take you on a tour of the Salmon River in Idaho, or the Ancient Tea and Horse Routes of China, than a purveyor who's been a reputable and trustworthy top-end purveyor of foods from those regions. Tours through Switzerland, Italy, Vietnam, China, Turkey and U.S. can be found and reserved from their website.

In a post on the Travel + Leisure magazine blog, Whole Foods co-CEO John Mackey explained, “The trips are an effort to nourish our customers with an understanding of the growers and artisans who supply many of the products consumers find in Whole Foods’ aisles.”

As their website notes, in addition to their demographic focus on "active foodies," Whole Journeys is also targeting "hands-on cooks," whether hobbyists or professionals. "You want first hand experience and knowledge from the experts, (where they) can learn the secret recipes from the locals. . . and take part in the age-old ritual of bonding and creating community through the art of conscious cooking."

Currently with 10 itineraries ranging from 4 people to as many as 20 in each tour, it appears that the motivation for extending their brand in such a fashion is Whole Foods' desire to provide value-add versus driving revenue, at last at this juncture.

Beyond tour operations, in the not so distant future, Whole Foods' brand patina and magnetic marketing will also be attracting travelers to a health resort in Austin, Texas, located very near the company's headquarters. The focus like Whole Journeys will focus on health and wellness education, mirroring a very successful program that the company already offers its employees.

Apr 4, 2013
by Anonymous

Dear Ron. Well said, well

Dear Ron. Well said, well done. Always wonderful analysis of branding. Blessings, Debby