I’m cheap.  I go to the grocery store with a list and a stack of coupons.  I browse the sales.  I plan to cook around them.  I’ve even bought dozens of singular onions just because $3 for 3 pounds seems high.  So, when I read an article like How Whole Foods Primes You to Shop, it makes me shake my head and wonder, am I a victim of subliminal brand messaging?   Whole Foods can teach us quite a bit about market messaging to your targeted market.

Martin Lindstrom’s article takes a stab at demystifying the marketing psychology behind grocery shopping.  He uses Whole Foods as an example.  Fresh flowers are placed at the front of the store or entryway.  The misting of vegetables is done to make us think ‘fresh.’  Dole, the fruit company, also did a study to determine which shade of yellow sold more bananas.  Finally, those melon cartons with well placed cantaloupes spilling out the sides are supposed to, effectively, help us imagine farmers loading very fresh melons right into the store aisle.

In regard to subliminal messaging for your business, the article makes its point very clear.  It starts with a comparison of two creatives from a marketing study.  By placing similar stimuli in front of the subjects, they came up with almost the same idea for a marketing campaign.  Theory stands that if we place the right concepts in front of our audience at the right time, they will be more inclined to buy our products.  There are a few simple ways we can send subliminal messages to our clients to help them buy from us.

  • Take a moment to make sure your product is well placed and in clean environment.  This seemed to be a huge focus for Whole Foods.  Fresh flowers, fruit just tumbling from the truck and well lighted produce areas.
  • For online products, you may have heard of site re-targeting.  Using cookies, the concept puts your banner ad in front of people who have visited your website.  Now that I mention it, you’ll suddenly notice how ‘the North Face’ pops up from the jacket shopping you did six months ago.  Companies like Google (of course), Adroll, Citeo and most ad networks offer this advertising service.
  • Offer free samples to start planting your brand in the mind of consumers.  More importantly, sample tables usually get set up in high traffic areas.  Putting your product visually out there can get you lots of notice.
  • Get some professional photos taken for your website.  There is something appealing about very happy people using a product.  If they are tickled pink, I want to be too.  Consider investing in professional product shots.
Yup, Whole Foods primes you.  Even if you’re armed with coupons and a list, who can resist shiny, just misted fruit.  The lesson, of course, is that you should employ a few of their tactics to get yourself more business via subliminal messaging.