Impact Group’s Marketing Team spreads brand awareness for Main & Vine by promoting probiotic foods in their store
Main & Vine is a prototype small format store designed and built by Kroger to offer customers in Gig Harbor, WA, a vast selection of natural, organic and specialty foods. Additionally, the store serves restaurant quality premade salads, flatbread pizzas, Asian bento boxes and gourmet style sandwiches and soups. The store has been open for approximately 18 months and caters to a higher income clientele. M&V is viewed as Kroger’s version of a Whole Foods, Fresh Market or Sprouts type format. The goal of M&V is not to compete head to head with traditional grocery stores but to offer customers a greater variety of natural foods and also to be a social gathering spot for the community where a band plays on Friday and Saturday evenings and there is wine, beer and kombucha on tap. While sales at M&V have not met the original Kroger projections, key learnings have been gained from the opening of this store and it is highly anticipated that Kroger will take those key learnings and open a chain of smaller format stores to compete with the likes of Whole Foods.
Kroger approached us about creating and executing an educational associate/customer event based on the fact that HHRK / Impact Group has developed multiple events for Main & Vine in the past. When M&V fi rst opened we wrote the center store planograms for them, suggested and sourced much of the product assortment and we also created and delivered natural foods training to all store associates. This was done based on our extensive history and experience in the natural and specialty foods industry.
“ Great job HHRK / Impact Group for putting this together. Much much appreciated! Thank you to the store team for embracing this idea and owning it. This is a great example of teamwork.”
— Dave Huber, Kroger Co. Center Store Merchandiser M&V
After Kroger completed a research focus group study on natural customers who shop their stores, it became apparent that Kroger associates lacked the basic training and education necessary to interact with the natural customer shopping at Kroger. Hence the associate education piece that we developed for M&V. Probiotics are a hot topic right now and M&V wanted to create excitement and theater within the store to draw in additional customers and to also engage and educate associates and customers about the importance of probiotics. M&V wants to be known for the quality products that they sell and the quality associates who can provide assistance and knowledge when needed. They are interested in offering this type of special event on a quarterly basis based around a variety of topics. M&V has a very small budget for events such as these and they rely heavily on vendors to provide the swag, product sampling and education needed to hold an event such as this. HHRK / Impact Group organized the entire event. We also provided the creative assets where needed and educated both associates and customers on the topic being featured.
STRATEGY & SOLUTION
HHRK / Impact Group offered to take the lead on this event. We chose the topic of probiotics because of the attention and focus probiotics are receiving right now. We chose to develop the creative and all aspects of the program. Kroger was responsible for printing and posting of social media.
HHRK / Impact Group designed all collateral materials for the project including bag stuffers, t-shirts, social media materials, etc. Additionally, we wrote the script for the Pandora broadcast along with purchasing the media for the week leading up to the event. Pandora targeted consumers within a 10 mile radius of the store. Profi le of customer and preferred announcer follows:
- Target: Female, Adult – 33-47
- Style: Conversational Pacing: Energetic
- Additional Direction: Promotional, Informative, Excited, Soothing, Sincere, Cool, Fun, Refined, Upbeat
“Simple and to the Point. Love It!”
— Buffy Turner, Senior Merchandiser, Main & Vine (referencing Pandora script)
“So Very Cool”
— Buffy Turner, Senior Merchandiser, Main & Vine (referencing the costumes and boomerang video)
Overall the probiotic event was a huge success in terms of the retailer, the vendors and the customers. Along with the positive sales uplift and exceptional social engagement numbers, the event created a tremendous amount of excitement with customers. Customers continually told us that they had made a special trip to the store to learn more about probiotics. They were actively seeking accurate information on probiotics since there is so much misinformation being distributed.
Additionally, the store associates were also very excited to be part of what they considered a teaching opportunity and “community service”. The associates readily volunteered to wear the costumes and engage the customers throughout the store. Kroger is so pleased with this event that they are planning these quarterly based on the trending hot topics in the natural foods world.
“Outstanding Work by All”
— Buffy Turner, Senior Merchandiser, Main & Vine