Thanks to Mike Heffner at Express Employment Professionals in Greenwood, Indiana for sending me this story on Whole Foods. Whole Foods is giving their managers and their employees the ability to make their own “brand” on social. This shows an extreme trust because Whole Foods is switching from a centralized to decentralized brand messaging model.

If you go to Whole Foods’ site and click “Facebook,” you see a hub page that lists not only the main Whole Foods account, but all the individual stores’ accounts. This is a smart move, for 5 reasons:

1. It says that Whole Foods trusts its people. The company empowers its managers to speak online about their favorite beers, store events, jobs, you name it.

2. Potential applicants get a genuine glimpse of their local store’s culture. Knowing the culture of the Company-with-a-capital-C is only half of the story; future employees also want to know what it’s really like to work for their neighborhood store.

3. Allows Whole Foods to become a community. By creating these pages Whole Foods has embraced the idea of creating a community. Where customers begin to think of their trip to Whole Foods as a community experience rather versus just a trip to the store.

4. Through empowering its managers it empowers its customers. How? Customers now come in anxious to try what’s being talked about online. This gives credibility to its employees and allows the customer to engage offline.

5. All the information is in one spot. Future employees or customers can search for Whole Foods and find all they need to know without having to extensively search. The research is done for you; all in one stop

Whole Foods serves as an example of good online branding. They have successfully blogged about their industry, set up social networks where people can engage directly and empowered their current employees.Whole Foods sets a tone for other stores to follow. In this day and age no industry is left out, which even means grocery stores. They have been innovative with their online quest and serve as a good reminder on what to do.