It’s the products not the brand

A timely find – a viral video about Trader Joes – a small USA chain of food stores that are lots of fun to shop in. The products at Trader Joes are high quality – and that is especially relevant in the USA where (Whole Foods aside) it’s all to easy to buy processed rubbish.

and from the Trader Joes website the right rhetoric:

If there’s one thing that sets us apart from all the other grocers out there, it’s our products. And not just the products themselves, but how we bring those products to you.

You see, our buyers are like culinary ambassadors. They travel the world – from exotic locales to local farms and dairies – looking for interesting, great-tasting foods and beverages at terrific everyday values. They do all the heavy lifting for you.

It’s not hard. Focus on the products, not the brand.

Published by Lance Wiggs


7 replies on “It’s the products not the brand”

    1. I agree – the quality of the products is part of the brand, in fact it forms the brand.
      The quality of the Warehouse products is “low”, but the ‘quality’ that matters is the price. It’s all part of what the product is.

      What both stores do well is stock and sell a known quality of product and we go to them because we know exactly what we are getting.

      A brand-gone-wild on the other hand will advertise one thing and stock/deliver the other, or advertise something that is wildly divergent from what the business is all about. You can’t ‘create a brand’ – they grow over time from the products that you sell.


  1. I’m with Paul – it’s both the product AND the brand. You can have two companies with essentially the same product but different brands. For each to work, theirs brands permeates the way they promote and fulfill their market offers, in all aspects of their businesses. The brand becomes part of the product and vice versa, and each must be consistent with the other. Likewise, when starting out, having a clear brand strategy will help define your product strategy, and vice versa. Any business that ignores branding (as opposed to advertising) does so at its peril.


  2. Surely that’s exactly the point. As I interpret it, (if the video is a typical customer perspective) Trader Joe’s product offering no longer matches the brand promise in the customers mind. The brand and the product need to be consistent. That doesn’t mean you have to stay with the original brand/product combination, but any change in one may need an adjustment in the other.


    1. As a regular TJs shopper (guess I fit the profile as a mom, sometimes in casual clothes), I can second most of this vid – especially all the items that you liked and they don’t carry anymore (or that have become 60% more expensive over the past year, like the creamed honey or unfiltered apple juice). But I still shop there – quality is one big argument (e.g. whole grain anything, peanut butter that just has nuts, nothing else). Brand still comes across as more fun and unconventional than the other staid bleach-smelling huge supermarkets. Plus if I support a chain, might as well be a German one ;-)


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