Whole Foods has been a bastion of the organic movement since its founding in 1980. Urbanites flocked to pay top dollar for picture-perfect produce, wines curated by professional wine stewards, and abundant organic, non-GMO options to suit any number of nutritional requirements. However, competition eventually flooded the market. Enter Amazon. The online retail giant acquired Whole Foods in a $13.7B deal that left consumers eager to see price reductions, but concerned that the brand that they have come to trust would suffer for the sake of supply chain efficiency.
As a brand, Whole Foods became synonymous with healthy living, quality, and friendly customer service. How the acquisition will impact brand reputation and consumer trust is yet to be seen. Indeed, this is a concern of every entity when considering a merger or acquisition. In the financial services arena, a strong reputation and client trust is hard won over many years of dedication and commitment to a fine-tuned value proposition. Large or small, the success of a merger or acquisition depends on protecting the relationship capital of the business.