Published on November 2, 2021, at 8:56 p.m.
by Elise Luoma.
The Monrovia, California-based chain started as a neighborhood grocery store in 1967 named after Joe Coulombe, the real “Trader Joe,” and has expanded across 48 states.
From Music City to the Windy City, the brand’s 548 locations are found in every corner of the country. The high-quality, fresh produce and affordable prices contribute to the brand’s rapid growth and its welcoming experience for customers.
The obsession with Trader Joe’s goes beyond the everyday shopper and has led aspiring fans to create YouTube channels, Facebook groups and other social media pages to document their “shopping hauls.” The power of influencer marketing has created a “cult-like” following for the brand.
Because Trader Joe’s itself is not directly affiliated with influencers and does not have a public marketing plan, the use of organic marketing by influencers allows product promotion to be utilized without paid advertising.
Natasha Rochelle (formerly Natasha Fischer) is the expert blogger and eater behind Trader Joe’s List, which has gained over 1.7 million followers. Her humorous yet informative reviews have contributed to the growth of her social media pages. She regularly samples products, provides ratings and creates Boardless Bingo for her followers. She also manages Overheard at Trader Joe’s, a parody account to document shoppers’ banter and food opinions from the brand’s many locations.
Although Trader Joe’s only joined Instagram in 2017, it has a following of over 2.6 million. Its branding strategy includes bold and bright packaging along with unique seasonal goods. This unconventional strategy strengthens customer relations and creates a positive environment for shoppers. The company also maintains brand loyalty through internal marketing and communication strategies, such as having friendly employees and low prices.
Among its more conventional communication tactics, Trader Joe’s offers a podcast and “The Fearless Flyer” blog. It also has over 900 nonprofit partners through the Neighborhood Shares Program. The grocery chain’s recent Thanksgiving Guide features recipes and the widely anticipated Cranberry Chevre.
While the obsession for influencer marketing has grown, so has Trader Joe’s. Its use of the aforementioned marketing and communication strategies and tactics help strengthen customer relations and its brand of being more than a grocery store.