Did Alcoholics Build Trader Joe’s?

According to Tara Hunt of Truly Strategic, alcoholics did have something to do with Trader Joe’s taking off. Check out the video for details.

When founder Joe Coulombe came face-to-face with 7-Eleven, he realized that he needed to rebrand quickly.

A true marketing trend whisperer, Joe combined 3 disparate pieces of info to formulate the new brand direction and ultimately its story:

  1. A higher proportion of people were getting university degrees
  2. People with degrees tend to drink more
  3. Boeing was about to release the 747 Jumbo Jet, making air travel more accessible to the masses

Put it all together and what do you have? A picture of your target audience – highly educated people who enjoy alcohol (a lot) and will be exposed to new, international experiences, and likely will seek out more of those once back in the USA.

Joe was then able to craft the brand story to appeal to that audience. As a savvy marketer ahead of his time, he also ensured that the brand story and the company’s values and actions were aligned. This authenticity resonates with customers and creates a following, based on emotional connection.

That connection generates earned content – there are pages of Google search results for “Popular Trader Joe’s items”. Is it any wonder Trader Joe’s customers keep coming back?


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