The Health Trust: Good. To Go.
Residents of San Jose’s inner city neighborhoods are more likely to be overweight and to suffer related chronic diseases such as diabetes and high-blood pressure. A dearth of urban grocery stores puts healthy food out of reach, especially for residents without cars. A local foundation called The Health Trust decided to sponsor corner store makeovers, replacing bags of chips and cans of soda with fresh produce and single-serving bottles of milk. But would residents bypass the candy counter to purchase fresh fruit?
Educate residents on which foods are good for you. Use in-store marketing to point out healthy choices. Focus on calories, fat content, fiber and essential vitamins.
Marketing for Change has conducted obesity-related research across the country, with people from every major ethnic group and a range of socio-economic backgrounds, and our researchers have yet to find anyone over age 4 who doesn’t know that a carrot is healthy and chips are not. Moreover, we have found that most people have absorbed widely disseminated public health messages and would like to be healthier — someday. But when they are standing at the store counter after a long day at work, often with a cranky child in tow, their most urgent need is for something that will make them feel good right now. Tomorrow is always a better day for beginning a regimen of deprivation and self-sacrifice. Tasked with creating a marketing campaign to promote the newly available healthy foods, Marketing for Change started by relegating health to the back burner. Our multilingual “Good. To Go.” campaign (in English, Spanish and Vietnamese) focused on three things our research showed residents were already shopping for — taste, convenience and indulgence — and highlighted ways that our foods fill those needs. With a tagline of “Fun. Fast. Fresh.”, Good. To Go. tosses out the “shoulds” — you should eat healthier — and instead invites residents to enjoy the fresh and delicious foods they deserve. The campaign created a package of in-store signage for Good. To Go. foods, as well as branded recipe cards and kids’ giveaways, and promoted store locations with neighborhood billboards, bus shelter ads, direct mail and door hangers. Considering the target audience for this campaign, we knew that a grassroots approach would be key. So we utilized it in two focal areas: social media and collateral. We developed a social media strategy and plan that would be implemented by The Health Trust’s team and focused on Facebook due to high usage by our target audience. Our strategy (1) outlined specific tactics for leveraging trusted community partners that were already successfully engaging the audience on Facebook; (2) focused on providing “offerings” that would make the page a one-stop-shop of information and keep the audience coming back (such as recipes every Friday and locations of mobile Fresh Cart vendors); and (3) utilized word of mouth engagement opportunities to preserve the local authenticity of the brand (i.e. opportunities to share recipes, photos, etc.) Campaign collateral also incorporated this grassroots approach, focusing heavily on the vendors and corner store owners who would be directly engaging with the audience. Materials were created to be easy to use for busy vendors and incentive-based to keep customers coming back. Examples include recipe cards featuring each vendor’s photograph and their favorite recipe; in-store floor decals and shelf ads focused on engaging kids; and Bingo cards in which “winning” meant purchasing three different fresh produce items and getting a fourth free.
Although cash register receipts could not be tracked, member stores added an average of 50 to 100 new healthy items and 67% of member store owners reported their businesses were doing better as a result of the program. In 2015, The Health Trust extended SalterMitchell / Marketing for Change’s contract so we could onboard additional stores and partnered with us to offer the Good. To Go. brand to other organizations interested in corner store makeovers.