To Build an Omni-Brand, Be Omni-You

Plane time has become my Ted Talk time and recently, Emilie Wapnick’s “Why Some of Us Don’t Have One True Calling” resonated perfectly with much of the brand development my team and I have engaged to innovate our 90-year-old company. In her presentation, Wapnick invites us to eschew the universal question: “What do we want to be when we grow up,” and instead to focus on becoming, in her words, a “multipotentialite.” From her point of view, being a “multi-potential-ite,” means living each and every facet of what makes us unique. I love that notion as it speaks to my fundamental quest to be fully expressed in work and life.

Applying that mindset to creative marketing, think of your brand and your business, as you would yourself. Be true to who you are whilst continually striving to expand and multiply your persona. Michelle Ave, global product director of performance apparel, The North Face, embraces that paradigm every day. “At The North Face, we know being true to who we are and our core values is what separates and differentiates us from all the noise in the marketplace. We inspire you to never stop exploring.”

We, like our brands, are best served, and are most magnetic, when fully expressed. Therefore, building an omni-brand begins with thinking “omni-you.” Two key points:

1. Craft Your Existential Narrative
Who are you and therefore how do you want to show up for your customers? Andronico’s Community Markets, the San Francisco/Bay Area specialty grocer, has its brand roots in its community of neighbors, local farmers and artisanal manufacturers. With the launch of the mobile ecosystem of business to employees (B2E) and business to customers (B2C) Andronico’s is redefining its brand relevancy through technology. Connecting to people through innovative fitness challenges, Andronico’s is realizing its mission to show up in customer’s and employee’s lives as essential, rather than optional. Founded in 1929, the iconic retailer is capturing new customers of all ages and pioneering a path between food and fitness.

2. Be Big
Think beyond your size. Identify the right channels to bring your product directly into customer’s lives, in as many occasions as possible — online, delivery, click & collect, in-app purchases. And in as many locations as possible — in-store home, work, and the gym. With Instacart, Andronico’s sells to customers far beyond their trade areas to the extent that digital sales are half of total revenue growth. With FitBank, Andronico’s drives customers from their gym, to the store, and vice versa. Apple just announced enhanced in-app purchases with revenue share models — for example, you can now read a New York Times article and subscribe on the spot.

Gone are the days when retailers could show up in the morning, sweep their front walk, merchandise new, best and local products, be kind to their employees, greet customers….and win. We compete in an omnipresent modern marketplace that threatens to exit traditionalists who cannot or will not adapt. So live fully expressed. Unleash your “multipotentialite.” Go for big, bold, smart brands built by an omni-you.

Suzy Monford is the chief executive officer of San Leandro, CA-based Andronico's Community Markets.