Graphic Jam Spreading the Word on Branding
Graphic Jam Spreading the Word on Branding is an E-Newsletter
written for Natural Products and other companies who want to know
how to make their brand matter more to the people they want to reach.
Home Field Advantage:
Claiming Local

It was 1982, and another postcard perfect spring morning in Leesburg, Florida.  My brother and I were owners of a small independent supermarket directly accross the street from a much larger Publix (the nation's highest rated chain in customer satisfaction for the last 15 years*).  I was also the produce manager.

A slender man, well in his 80's, wearing suspenders and a pageboy cap, pushed a shopping cart full of beautiful, fresh spring onions tied in large bunches with twine.  He told me his name was Mr. Matthews and that the previous manager had always bought his onions whenever he brought them in.  Before I could give him an answer, a woman dug two bunches out of the cart and asked how much they were.  He told me what they used to sell for and I quickly made a sign, adding his name at the top.  The rest of the afternoon, people came in, all seemed to know Mr. Matthews, and proceeded to buy all of his onions.   

Mr Matthews' Sweet Onions   
I didn't realize it, but I had just claimed local.
This continued as long as Mr. Matthews had onions.  Better yet, the word got out that I bought from local farmers (something Publix can't do), and before long,
I had about 60 farmers bringing their beautiful, fresh hand-picked fruits and vegetables to my back door.  I got to know them, and always gave them credit on my signs, sharing their stories whenever the opportunity arose.
Their good name is your advantage.
Soon I had customers telling me that they still shopped at Publix, but stopped at our store first to buy my produce.  My sales and profits steadily increased, because I was buying better quality cheaper than the products available from my commercial channels. Putting their names on their products established instant trust -- there's pride in ownership --and customers crave the opportunity to 
get their hands on anything they know is local or homegrown.
Your good name is even more important. 
Angie and Bruno, a sweet older couple -- neither much over 5' tall --
owned a small Ma & Pa health food store.  And that's what they called it -- The Health Food Store.  
The Health Food Store
I was called in to help because a much larger natural food supermarket was coming soon only a few blocks away.
They had a loyal following because they gave such great service, and I helped them make several improvements to their store.  But I shared my biggest concern with them, that even though they were the original in town, they hadn't claimed their turf.  After their competitior opened,
if someone asked their customers where they shopped for health foods, and they answered The Health Food Store, would they look for their competitor instead?  They took my suggestion and named their store Angie's Health Foods, and did quite well in the new competitive environment. Years later when I saw them at trade shows, they always thanked me for insisting on putting her name on their store.
It works for Everyone.
Claiming local gave me one clear advantage over Publix, but they have many ways to claim local too.  Publix has also been voted one of the top companies in the U.S. to work for, they partner with local businesses and charities, and because they are one of the largest employers in the community, they have a strong hometown credibility.
It works for Everything.
In 1997 the Moersch family made a daring move to transport and
rebuild a turn-of-the century Amish round barn from rural Indiana to their winery and vineyard in Baroda, Michigan. 
Round Barn WineryBeautiful and unique, the barn quickly became the vineyard's iconic landmark.  With the popularity of their new building, the Moerschs changed their name from Heart of the Vineyard to the Round Barn Winery.
Taking advantage of what is theirs and no one else's, every label features the whimsical illustration of the Round Barn in their logo and they further claim local by adding Lake Michigan Shore to their finest varietals.

Local is Everywhere.                                           (But you have to claim it)                                     We all have something we can use as our local advantage.  You have to identify the source -- put a name on it and tell the story to build trust with your customers.

Local is Better.
From an eco viewpoint local trumps organic, if it has to be shipped in.  People have pride in their community and would rather buy from a known person or place around here than an faceless corporation from somewhere else.
Make more Money.  Atract more Customers. 
Buying local usually means buying direct and at lower product costs.  Having a unique local advantage not found anywhere else, brings customers back to you, and if the story is good enough, increases word of mouth.  And, that is the best advertising money can't buy.
Do you have a local advantage? 
Share your story and I may use it in my seminar Brand it.  And they will come at the Southeast NPA SOHO Expo, Dec. 3 in Orlando.
Send your story, along with your contact info, to
Next Month:
I will talk about the ultimate way to claim local -- branding it.  Private label brands can make anything into a local advantage and build loyalty and profits at the same time.  Find out why everyone is doing it and you should too.
*American Customer Satisfaction Index (1995-2010)

The End

Graphic Jam helps Natural Products and other companies find the story in their brand, then design it into their products and services so they can matter more to the people they want to reach.

For help finding the story in your brand,
Call me: 941 | 752-3121
Email me:
Visit our website:

Graphic Jam provides a wide range of creative services:
Brand Development  |  Identity  |  Logo Design  |  Name Generation      Package & Label Design  |  Brochures  |  Stationery                       Creative Advertising  |  Postcards  |  Invitations  |  Mailers    
Publication Design  |  Cover Design  |  Exhibits  |  POP  |  Posters        Trade Show & Event Marketing  |  Art & Creative Direction                   Custom Typography  |  Photo Enhancement

I'll talk to you next month with more on branding and natural products.

TJ signature
TJ Miller
Graphic Jam
(941) 752-3121
Graphic Jam Website
In This Issue
The Ultimate Business Plan
From the Source's Mouth:
Just Read. Must Read:
Quick Links
Graphic Jam

The Ultimate Business Plan 
Last February on his 80th birthday, Bob Moore announced he would be giving his entire business,
Bob's Red Mill
Bob's Red Mill, valued at nearly $50 million, to his 209 employees.              I visited Bob's booth at several trade shows, and spent as much time as I could listenting to his stories. 
He took me to a place where life  is not just about making it, but making it better for everyone -- and that place is Bob's Red Mill.

Click here    to see the ABC News video and read the whole story.    
From the Source's Mouth:
"It's the only  business decision I could make." 
Bob Moore
 "A lot of companies are passed on within the family, and that's how I think of it. Well, I have employees with me right now that have been with me over 30 years. The logical thing is they are going to own the company. I just could not sell it. 
-- Bob Moore

Just Read.
Must Read:  
Organic, Inc.
by Samuel Fromartz
Organic Inc
"A uniquely American story -- the emergence of Big Organics from humble origins in small counterculture farms."  Fascinating stories from dozens of organic pioneers, including Chef Alice Waters of Chez Panisse and Drew & Myra Goodman, founders of Earthbound Farm.