The Whole Foods lesson: CEOs = their brands and should energize their customers

John Mackey CEO of Whole Foods writing for The Wall Street Journal:

While we clearly need health care reform, the last thing our country needs is a massive new health care entitlement that will create hundreds of billions of dollars of new unfunded deficits and moves us much closer to a complete governmental takeover of our health care system.

Aiii…..

As CEO you just simply need to know your brand, your customers and in fact live the essence of your brand and it’s positioning.

The result of this mistake is costly. People are now rallying against Whole Foods, trying to boycott stores and hence impacting revenue. This is however the not so costly side of this mistake… the much more damaging side of this story is that for Whole Foods consumers who are aware of Mr Mackey’s opinion on Healtcare the perception of Whole Foods as a brand has changed for ever. It will never be that authentic brand it was. Changing THAT perception will take time and much more money than any boycott will do. Especially in a time of Facebook, Twitter etc in which it is really difficult to “silence the crowd”.

So, CEOs please stay true to your brands and their unique positions!

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