With its diverse array of store offerings and marketing platforms and its localized operating structure, Hy-Vee faces a never-ending challenge in maintaining a consistent brand message.
Helping manage that effort is Wendy Hiatt, VP of brand and image marketing at the West Des Moines, Iowa-based retailer.
For example, when Hy-Vee recently introduced a new pie program, Hiatt and the marketing team had to research and help develop not just the packaging, but also details about the sourcing and the ingredients so they could better relay the concept of making customers’ lives “easier, healthier and happier,” said Hiatt.
“We needed to be able to talk about all those things, and tell the story,” she said.
The consistent message coordination extends across the in-store experience to include everything from the company’s expanding network of in-store restaurants to its new charcuterie departments.
“We look at in terms of what we can do with signage to have that look and that messaging,” said Hiatt. “It goes across every aspect of the organization.”
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The consistent brand positioning also helps internally in terms of focusing workers around the company’s core mission and brings a “family feel” to the work environment, she said.
“When we have a consistent brand message, and employees understand it is around being helpful, they enjoy coming to work more,” said Hiatt. “I think branding helps with employee retention, and employees are on the front line, face to face with the customers.
“If everyone is living the brand, they will hopefully stay longer, and they are advocates for the brand. Then the customers become advocates for our brand as well because of their experience with those people.”
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