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By Joel M. Albrizio, President

"Who Would Or Could Manage A Chain With Zero Identity"

Let's look into the Winn Dixie "brand" today. Winn Dixie, called anything from Winn & Lovett to Southeastern Grocers, and morphed by Bi-Lo, has made many moves in the last ten years. Some of the moves seem logical, while other moves seem like something out of "Ripley's Believe It Or Not"

"Who Is Winn Dixie?"

The company has been in every form of financial stress imaginable. To raise additional money, Bi-Lo sold its grocery warehouses to C&S....does the sale to C&S make Winn Dixie more or less competitive? Winn Dixie has less in the facility offerings, and now seemingly can not reach the necessary competitive price points to build sales.

Twenty years ago, Winn Dixie was a force to be reckoned with. A decade or more ago, this once sprawling retailer still enjoyed more than 1,000 locations.

"What The Heck Happened?"

Today, at just under 500 locations and dropping, Winn Dixie announces more store closings than it does innovations or potential ideas. So again, is the cost of purchasing goods from C&S the issue? Is there lack of control over the all important supply chain?

Central to Winn Dixie is the "Brand." We have no real idea who or what Winn Dixie is. To be specific, a brand is a definable emotion. So again we ask, what or who is Winn Dixie...and what is their brand?

"Pissed Off Is Not A 'Brand'....Why Not Tell The Story?"

Even the quickest glance at the Winn Dixie landscape of customers and employees finds two groups, both necessary, yet clearly upset at the company, its offerings and the Winn Dixie supply chain.

"Check Out This Winn Dixie Perishable Page...No Winn Dixie Logo Or Department Descriptions.....Nothing!"

"So we all understand there is a story that must be told. Why not tell the story?"

In looking at the weekly circular, is there an explanation of who or what Winn Dixie is? No, quite to the contrary, the weekly circular does nothing to answer the many questions remaining about "Who Is Winn Dixie?" but Other than page one, the circular doesn't even display a Winn Dixie logo.

Most every department is without any description. The items lack any commentary likely to entice the increasingly less interested customer to take Winn Dixie seriously as a supermarket option.

This once great American retail story of Winn Dixie is lost in 2016. The company founded by Milton Davis is 1914, made little progress in just over 100 years.

"Did Publix Kill Winn Dixie?"

Winn Dixie and its continued lack of direction, inconsistent supply chain, and general inability to develop a new story line to excite customers, is destined to continue on the road to anonymity.

For Winn Dixie to rebound and become a sustainable retail food entity, it must recognize its branding fragmentation and subsequent branding elimination. Winn Dixie must pick a direction, develop a definable emotion, and risk making the tough decisions that branding success stories are written from.

No supermarket in 2016 competing with anyone, especially Publix will succeed without a compelling story, or even a logo, on any of the pages of its ad.

"Time To Wake Up Winn Dixie"

The ad is the invitation, and Winn Dixie doesn't even tell you who the invitation is from. All Winn Dixie does as an advertising retailer is to put price points on otherwise blank pages. Low prices alone serve to lower the gross to the customer who was shopping Winn Dixie already.

Low pricing is intended to be a catalyst to purchase an already trusted brand, not the only determination where to shop.

Winn Dixie is a company appearing to have little personality or marketing direction, and an even shorter future without some major changes.

Winn Dixie has a great story to tell....Let's tell the story and stop closing stores!

In closing, many have asked why I choose to write about what I see in the supermarket industry today and my ideas. At Adlife we believe great ideas and its resulting branding will give new life and direction to any company. So for that reason we chose to open the discussion.