Will putting a spotlight on associates help boost Kroger’s business?
At its annual shareholder meeting last week, Kroger formally introduced a new mantra, “Feed the Human Spirit,” that in part focuses on store associates’ connections to local communities.
Displayed broadly on banners, the new slogan was introduced by a “Year in Review” video that largely featured associates. While thanking customers for helping Kroger reach milestones around sustainability and environmental initiatives as well as supporting veterans, the video elaborated on Kroger’s capacity to support local organizations, provide meals to “our neighbors in need,” create jobs, and deliver “countless smiles” through one-on-one engagement.
On its first-quarter conference call on June 15, CEO Rodney McMullen sent a special message to associates who were listening. He said, “We’re focused on executing our Customer 1st Strategy and living our company’s purpose, to Feed the Human Spirit. … Whether it is through providing a billion meals to Feed Hungry Families in our neighborhoods over the last four years, committing to being a zero waste company by 2020 or simply extending a smile or a helping hand to a customer, we and you make the world a better place one associate, one customer, one community at a time.”
At Oppenheimer’s consumer conference last week, Mike Schlotman, CFO, said he personally believes the store will always serve a purpose because people are “social animals” and referenced the new slogan in underscoring the importance of in-store interactions.
“Feeding the human spirit is more than just feeding the human belly,” he said. “8.5 million times a day our associates get to help customers have a better day and it’s through big things and little things. You can only do that with a physical connection with the customer. You can’t do that by coming home and having a box on your front porch waiting for you.”
- Kroger Reports First Quarter Results – Kroger
- Kroger Q1 2017 Earnings Call Transcript – Seeking Alpha
- Kroger stresses ‘human connections’ at annual shareholder meeting – WCPO
- Kroger to ‘feed the human spirit,’ McMullen says – Supermarket News
- Kroger Oppenheimer Consumer Conference Presentation Webcast June 21 – Kroger
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: With so much messaging centered on savings, how can retailers shift the focus to associates’ involvement in community actions? What challenges do chains face in playing up associates in their marketing?