Behind the Scenes of the Whole Foods Brand Voice with Lisa Grimm


April 25, 2016

lisa grimm on brand

“Our Instagram voice is very different than even Facebook and Twitter.” As Associate Director of Social Media at Whole Foods Market, Lisa Grimm is responsible for how the innovative natural supermarket chain comes to life online. From developing brand standards to working with the creative team and engaging with customers, Lisa has her eye on both the big picture and the tactical, practical day-to-day operations. I couldn’t wait to discuss all of this with her on this week’s episode of the On Brand podcast.

Enjoy This Episode Now

About Lisa Grimm

Lisa Grimm (@lulugrimm) is an integrated marketing communications leader passionate about building relationships and relevance between people and brands through the convergence of technology and communication. As Social Media Lead for Whole Foods Market, Lisa is responsible for building brand and deeper customer connection through a data-driven approach to social strategy, community, and the integration of earned, owned, and paid media. Prior to joining Whole Foods Lisa led PR and emerging media strategies for Betty Crocker, Tablespoon.com, 3M, Harry Winston, Victory Motorcycles, and Mall of America.

Episode Highlights

So what does the Associate Director of Social Media at Whole Foods do? Lisa works with her internal team, regional points throughout the US, as well as local store marketers to communicate with the community of over 12 million that they’ve amassed on social networks like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Google+.

How does the Whole Foods brand stay consistent through all of these levels of marketers? “We’re not a brand up in an ivory tower. I know it’s a buzzword but we’re very big on collaboration at Whole Foods. We have to make sure there’s alignment and communication to tell the best connected stories we can. We get our business priorities and then we work on a plan. We’re currently planning a year out.”

What systems support this collaborative approach to content and brand building? “It’s a lot of things. It’s not always a meeting. It’s Facebook groups, Slack. We do have a plan document that we share in Evernote.”

What about the Whole Foods brand voice? “We have a brand voice style guide with pillars like ’trusted quality’ and ‘delightfully inspired’ that we want to make sure are emulated.” This specific, digestible document is then shared with each of the brand’s channel owners so that they can adapt it based on the format of the network. “For example, our Instagram voice is very different than even Facebook and Twitter. Hashtags like #yum and #obsessed are critical.”

What’s one future initiative that Lisa has her eye on? “The messaging space. There’s been a lot in the news about Facebook Messenger but WeChat and WhatsApp too. This is really uncharted territory. Especially with Facebook’s chatbots. With AI … at what point does a human enter the equation?” Whole Foods is also waiting to stand up their Snapchat presence. “I get being first to market but I also get being ready to be first to the market.” Strategy first, always.

What brand has made Lisa smile recently? After careful deliberation, the official judges of the smile segment of the On Brand podcast have ruled that the musical Hamilton is, in fact, a brand. “I love the energy of the cast. It’s brilliant the awareness and engagement they’ve achieved.”

To learn more you can find Lisa on most social channels by searching for the username ‘lulugrimm.’ You can also follow Whole Foods on Instagram, Twitter, and more.

As We Wrap …

  • Subscribe to the podcast – You can subscribe to the show via iTunes, Stitcher, and RSS.
  • Rate and review the show – If you like what you’re hearing, head over to iTunes and click that 5-star button to rate the show. And if you have a few extra seconds, write a couple of sentences and submit a review. This helps others find the podcast.
  • OK. How do you rate and review a podcast? Need a quick tutorial on leaving a rating/review in iTunes? Check this out.
  • Remember – On Brand is brought to you by my new bookGet Scrappy: Smarter Digital Marketing for Businesses Big and Small. Pre-Order now for the best price and digital extras at GetScrappyBook.com.
  • And finally a reminder that On Brand is brought to you by the Social Brand Forum. This premier digital marketing experience takes place September 22-23 in beautiful Iowa City, Iowa. Learn from experts like Jay Baer, Joe Pulizzi, and Gini Dietrtich in the heart of the heartland. Listeners of the show get the best rate when they register using promo code ONBRAND at socialbrandforum.com.

Until next week, I’ll see you on the Internet!


Nick Westergaard
Email Brand Driven Digital

is a strategist, speaker, educator, and author of Brand Now: How to Stand Out in a Crowded, Distracted World and Get Scrappy: Smarter Digital Marketing for Businesses Big and Small. He is the Chief Brand Strategist at Brand Driven Digital, an educator at the University of Iowa, and host of the On Brand podcast. More about Nick.




6 comments