• Sarah Wylie

Trader Joe’s: A PR Analysis

A look into the use and execution of Trader Joe’s PR tactics

The logo for Trader Joe's grocery store
Trader Joe's Logo

Trader Joe’s is an American grocery store chain headquartered in California, which was first created in 1967 by founder Joe Coulombe of Pasadena, California. Customers of Trader Joe’s enjoy low prices on grocery store items and a variety of unique food options ranging from cookie butter and salsa to ready to eat packaged meals. Not only does Trader Joe’s offer interesting products and great prices that consumers love, but it focuses heavily on overall customer experience. Over the years Trader Joe’s has become exceedingly more popular and has accumulated a large following through social media, likely due to its PR efforts. According to PRSA, public relations is defined as, “A strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.” By emphasizing customer experience both in store and online and growing a loyal social media following, Trader Joe’s has put into place smart PR practices and follows PRSA’s definition of public relations.

Utilizing Social Media Effectively

Trader Joe's Reusable Neighborhood Grocery Bag Design Artwork
Trader Joe's Reusable Neighborhood Grocery Bag Design Artwork

Social media and TikTok specifically have been utilized to build a strong following of loyal consumers for Trader Joe’s. A popular trend on TikTok that many users participate in are Trader Joe’s hauls or must have videos where creators share their favorite items to purchase from the grocery store. Recipes, reviews and must have items from Trader Joe’s are all popular video topics on TikTok. The brand also utilizes Instagram to reach and engage customers, with over two million followers and daily posting of content. The content that Trader Joe’s shares to its Instagram is engaging and shares an aesthetic with the art style of its website and packaging. Trader Joe’s efficiently uses social media to emphasize its priority of customer experience. Priority of customer experience is exhibited not only in stores but on all social media channels as well.

Trader Joe’s Use of Web Content

Much like on its social media platforms, Trader Joe’s has a well-established website which is easily accessible and aesthetically appealing to scroll through. The website includes recipes using items from the store as well as a newsletter and podcast to keep customers connected and up to date with new information. By providing an engaging

A screen clipping of Trader Joe's website home page.
Screen clipping of Trader Joe's website home page.

and creative website, Trader Joe’s

efficiently connects with its audience in ways that a grocery store traditionally would not. The content presented on the website is inviting and fun to look at and consumers are more likely to feel a connection with the company rather than just think of it as another store to buy its groceries.

Philanthropy in Neighborhoods and Nationwide

Listed on the Trader Joe’s website is a tab titled “Neighborhood Shares.” This page gives updates to shoppers on how the store has been giving back to the community and the nonprofits that it partners with. Trader Joe’s Neighborhood Shares program donates products that go unsold but are still able to be enjoyed and are then distributed to local food recovery organizations. The Neighborhood Shares program provides meals to communities nationwide. In 2021 Trader Joe’s donated more than $349 million dollars worth of products to their nonprofit partners across the country.

Overall, I feel that Trader Joe’s efficiently and effectively uses PR tactics to gain a loyal following of customers. Trader Joe’s has a positive reputation with consumers and is growing in popularity due to the use of social media trends and the web content it publishes.

About the Author

Sarah Wylie is a public relations professional and journalist from Arlington, Texas. She studies both journalism and public relations at the Mayborn School of Journalism at the University of North Texas in Denton and anticipates graduating in May of 2022. Sarah is passionate about all things social media and has a love for writing.