The stories that resonate most with the target audience are ones that feature young, upwardly mobile men and women in the 30s attaining their health, social and professional goals by staying fit and enjoying their friends. These are fundamental needs in the target market from a psychographic standpoint, as is the need to be responsible about the environment while being egalitarian as well (Peattie, Crane, 2005).
The messaging needs to center on these core concepts of health, belongingness and friendship, and egalitarianism including being environmentally responsible when purchasing groceries and consumer packaged goods. The messaging will center on a day-in-the-life choices these consumers make to preserve the planet and achieve a healthier lifestyle for themselves as well. Implicit in this messaging is the need for bringing out the leadership Australian grocery and packaged goods providers have shown with regard to nutrient profiling (Bryans, 2009) and the positioning of Woolworth as a leader in green retailing in Australia as well (Hui-Shung, Chang, Kristiansen, 2006). Complementing the stories will be examples of how quality control and quality management in the Woolworth supply chain make compliance to green or sustainability standards a major priority. In fact, interviews completed with quality control managers that highlight their passion for doing excellent work with incoming inspections would further add to authenticity and credibility in the messaging as well. The tie-in of these quality managers being focused on making sure they serve the customer and the benefits to the customer having more freedom due to good health is a powerful link that needs to be made. The core message is more of a value statement by Woolworths' and less of a sales pitch to buy products there. The messaging platform then needs to educate and persuade through knowledge first, and allow the consumers in these core markets to make their own decisions. To be "too green" and "too pushy" is nearly a contradiction in this market. It is far more effective from a messaging standpoint to highlight how the innate strengths of Woolworth's from a green or sustainability standpoint quality the company to be a trusted advisor to its core customers. By taking this approach to informing customers of all they are doing in these areas, they change the perception and expectations of their brands as well.
Strategy Planning and Execution
For the messaging and branding strategy to be effective, it must capture the unique strengths of Woolworth's and be understandable by all channels. The focus on multichannel support for the messaging needs to start with online media, as this is the preferred channel that the Woolworth customer base of interest relies on. Online media needs to be planned with the concepts and design objectives of Web 2.0 in mind, which is illustrated in Figure 2. The essence of Web 2.0 technologies are their focus on how to provide prospects and customers with the flexibility of learning about new products through the channels they choose to. Online channels support marketing more effectively than traditional offline channels do, as their activity can be tracked and measured over time. As social networks, blogs, and websites all can be measured using analytics, the online channel is preferable. It also represents the channels that the customer base of interest for Woolworth's relies on the most.
Figure 2: Web 2.0 Meme Map
Source: (O'Reilly, 2006)
The development of online advertising needs to start with a microsite, or smaller website that has been search-engine optimized (SEO) so that it will appear on Google search results. The selection of keywords to build the optimization on is critically important, and need to be relevant to the target market of interest. The content on the site needs to be more focused on how to have a healthy lifestyle and attain life balance. This is consistent with the concept of Woolworth's being a trusted advisor to the core segments of interest.
The social networking applications that need to be used for communicating the new positioning and branding story include a Facebook Fan page, Twitter and blogs written by members of the supply chain teams selecting produce and buying the products. They can comment on how they rely on high standards to ensure the products they buy are fulfilling the vision of green or sustainable performance of the company. Finally the section of each electronic platform, from the microsite to the blog and also social networking applications, all must reflect the stories of customers who rely on Woolworth's to assist them in living the kinds of lives they want. The use of candid videos and the promotion of an online video contest could also add significantly to the authenticity and transparency of the entire green branding campaign. Traditional offline media will be used in a supporting role to online media, with billboards, placards and short television commercials communicating the story of green or sustainability first, and the microsite second. The strategy is to use all traditional offline media to drive traffic to the online sites to better capture customers and get them to engage interactively with the messaging and the brand.
Recommendations and Conclusion
For Woolworth's to be successful in transforming their messaging and branding, they need to first ensure their company has aligned internally to meet this goal. This potentially means changing the practices within the supply chain management, quality management, and sourcing operations to make the company actually be green or sustainable in scope. This also translates into changes in their approach to logistics and transportation, looking to reap the rewards of sustainability in these areas as well.
Once the organization is aligned, creating an online-centric strategy that uses stories to resonate the brand with younger consumer is critical;. This is not a push-based approach to selling; rather it is one focus on creating and sharing knowledge of how to live a healthy and balanced life. The point of the stories is to bring customers into the store through identification with the concepts and messaging shown.
The execution of these strategies needs to stay focused on the appropriate message for the best possible medium. Blogs need to read more like an unbiased article and less like a brochure, and the use of social media needs to appeal to the needs consumers have for freedom and health. The messaging also needs to concentrate on a unified multichannel strategy that points consumers to the website and online, as the analytics possible today using social networking application and Web 2.0 tools will also augment marketing effectiveness over the long-term as well.
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