January 21, 2020

How Stop & Shop Went Beyond the Aisles

Christina Sirabella

Using storytelling as a marketing tool isn’t new. Brands have been doing it for decades, despite “brand storytelling” only becoming a mainstream buzzword within the last few years. Things like customer spotlights, behind-the-scenes content, and even data-driven narratives from brands are everywhere on social media—with good reason. Research shows that messages delivered as stories can be up to 22 times more memorable than just facts. Plus, you’ve likely heard this Maya Angelou quote: “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Combine all of that with social’s recent shift toward longer-form, episodic content and you’ve got all the proof you need to start tugging on some heartstrings.

So, in the wake of an employee work stoppage, Stop & Shop did just that. The brand wanted to drive positive social sentiment and increase awareness of what it does for its communities, customers, and employees by telling the stories of real people—both customers and associates—who had been impacted in a major way by the work Stop & Shop does in its local areas.

They shared the story of Grace, a teenager in remission from a rare, high-risk cancer called neuroblastoma, who was supported during her treatment by her family’s local Stop & Shop and the brand’s partnership with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

They shared the story of Stephen, a store manager whose passion for volunteering and giving back at the Feeding Westchester food bank was supported by Stop & Shop and his team.

They shared the story of Tom, an associate whose son Killian suffered a tracheal collapse at just one month old, and for whom all of the Stop & Shop associates in his district came together to raise over $16,000 to help pay for his medical bills.

And lastly, they shared the story of Angela, a store manager whose dedication to combating food insecurity and fostering health and wellness in her community came to fruition while fueling a local 5K with a farmer’s market comprised of Stop & Shop produce and refreshments.

To date, these videos have garnered 892,500 views, exceeded the ad recall lift benchmark by 33 percent, and exceeded the engagement rate benchmark by 820 percent. But why exactly did this strategy and execution work?

For starters, the content was placed on networks that made sense: YouTube, Facebook Watch, and IGTV, which were appropriate because they all serve as homes for longer video content.

In addition, a landing page encouraged viewers to share their own stories of how Stop & Shop, or one of its employees, has impacted their lives. Creating a space for this two-way conversation between the brand and its consumers was crucial, especially during a time when the general sentiment about the brand on social media was that it did not hear or care about what its employees or customers had to say.

And finally, the major reason that this content worked was because it was genuine—and consumers today are better than ever at recognizing that. Social media is a crowded space, especially during this age of fake news, sensationalism, and customer-service bots. So, in order for brands to stand out, they need to understand the importance of making a human connection. Audiences on social media don’t just want to buy products; they want to feel something—and Stop & Shop went beyond the aisles of its stores to help them do just that.


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Tags: Content Marketing, Creative, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube

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