Whole Foods, like most supermarkets, has a policy of not talking to trade publications. Clearly there’s a good reason for this. Slow-margin industries need to maintain their proprietary advantages as much as possible. In addition, you can save your corporate communications peeps a lot of work if you only return phone calls to the folks at Forbes and The Wall Street Journal.
Yet this doesn’t always seem to serve the greater good, especially in an age when new media, websites, and blogs are creating some of the most interesting content. For a lifestyle brand like Whole Foods, this policy seems shortsighted and a recent piece in the SustainableIsGood blog illustrates our point. It also might indicate an internal debate from Whole Foods on how best to promote the brand.
We’ve had similar experiences with Wegman’s and a few other chains as well. Of course, it could be that we shouldn’t be trusted. When it comes to image, control is paramount. At least that’s what they teach in business school.