This Week’s Top Brand Storytellers: Moving Tracks, NYT, plus #WholeFoodFail

Each week, Pilot brings you a roundup of the best—and occasionally the worst—examples of brand storytelling in the business. Here are our top five picks this week from around the world:

Whole Foods Fumbles Millennial Outreach

Last month, Whole Foods got storytelling really wrong when it announced that it would open a separate chain of stores designed specifically for millennials—stores featuring “modern, streamlined design, innovative technology, and a curated selection” of its usual natural and organic fare, all at lower prices. The announcement alienated the brands’ most loyal customer base, baby boomers and Gen X shoppers, who felt young people who rarely walk into the store were being rewarded with cheaper food and better service. What went wrong? In a word, Whole Foods lost sight of its core brand values. Plans to pursue a new audience group may whet investors’ appetites, but it hardly qualifies as a leading story. (Whole Foods made a follow-up announcement this week.)

Run with Heart Foundation’s Moving Tracks

Over 50 percent of Poland’s teens don’t exercise. To combat the issue, Moving Tracks was created by the country’s Run with Heart Foundation. The app delivers exclusive, pre-release singles from Poland’s biggest music stars—but the only way to hear the hottest songs is to run. Run with Heart’s audience-specific and on-brand strategy based on positive reinforcement is helping raise the country’s teenage exercise rates.

New York Times’ Cooking App

After 85 years in business, Blacks Photography announced that it will close in August because its products can’t compete with today’s “technological innovations.” The physical newspaper can also seem like an antique trying to blend in with new technology, but New York Times food editor Sam Sifton assured AdWeek that his newspaper isn’t letting that happen. Sifton has helped NYT create the Cooking app, which contains more than 16,000 archived recipes from the newspaper. NYT’s mission is to deliver high-quality news and information, and in today’s world, reading the newspaper isn’t the only way to receive them. Whether its food or information – or both – serving up something that adapts to users’ preferences and changing expectations will always be the smart play.

The Problem with a $50 Logo

Creative director David Throne argues that cheap, automated logo design services are not only hurting the design industry, but hurting customers. Logos aren’t simply pretty pictures. Human-made logos and visual identities, like brands, can help you differentiate yourself from competitors by reflecting a well-positioned brand story, mood, and set of values and beliefs. Machine-generated trademarks and logos, not so much.

Beyoncé’s “Surprise” Announcement

Beyoncé said she had a big announcement for Good Morning America. Only problem: It was the same one she’d made months earlier about her vegan diet, The 22-Day Revolution, and partnership with nutritionist and exercise physiologist Marco Borges. After the “big” announcement, fans stormed social media, angrily accusing their beloved Queen Bey of pandering in order to repackage and further profit from her new vegan lifestyle. Beyoncé, you call that Bootylicious?