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Volta Updates

Consumer Connections in the Capital: An Exclusive Interview with Dyani Hanrahan, VP of Marketing at Giant Food

Dyani Hanrahan is Vice President of Marketing and Community Relations for Giant Food, an Ahold Delhaize company. In her role, Dyani oversees the brand, eCommerce marketing, loyalty, targeted marketing, external community and media relations, design, consumer insights and healthy living teams for Giant. Dyani was previously named to the Griffin Report of the Northeast’s 2019 Women of Influence in the Food Industry and as one of Progressive Grocer’s 2020 Top Women in Grocery. She serves on the Johns Hopkins Pediatric Oncology Advisory Council as well as the Awareness Council for the Capital Area Food Bank. She is also executive sponsor of THRIVE - Persons of Color BRG for Giant Food.

Prior to joining Giant in 2017, Dyani held positions in brand management, loyalty, media and community relations and digital marketing across various industries, including QSR, professional sports, and broadcast media.

Volta: D.C. is the nation’s capital, one of the most diverse cities in the United States, and home to 7 Giant Food locations (along with many more in the surrounding area). From your experience, how does this community prefer to engage with the Giant Food brand? Are there any unique tips or tricks you’ve learned over the years to navigate the D.C. media market?

Hanrahan: We are honored to be in a position to serve people from all over the world and all walks of life. Knowing that our customer base has a variety of needs, we’ve found that customers trust Giant Food to be a reliable brand where they can get their current favorite products and discover new favorites. In-store or online, seven days a week our customers expect to be able to get the products and services they need to take care of their families, and at Giant our goal is to always deliver on that expectation. 

Our DC customers are very busy, balancing rich home and work lives. As with most consumers, it is important that we are everywhere they are, integrated into every channel to connect with them throughout their day. Being a grocery retailer is unique in that there is a daily need to think about the products and services we provide. The trick is, we have to know and understand how our customers move about the market and navigate their days. Taking the time to really understand the DC consumer helps us make the right decisions on our media investments. 

Volta: There’s been a lot of exciting news coming from Giant Food lately - new store openings, community programs, free same-day pickup and more. What has made Giant Food so successful at reaching and engaging consumers? How would you describe your approach?

Hanrahan: We obsess over our customers and the experience we give them. We do not hit the mark every single time, but we are constantly pushing ourselves to get better for our customers. Placing our consumers at the center of our actions and decisions keeps us focused on what matters most in their lives - the people they love and the moments they share with them. We believe that intentional focus is an important part of our success. 

Our approach is authentic. We are not only a business, we are your neighbors. It is the benefit of being a locally operated company. I like to say that part of the reason we understand our customers so well is that we are all sitting in the same traffic! It is important for us that our marketing and community efforts be an extension of who we are as a company and our values. We are not running campaigns; we are telling parts of our shared story and hopefully that resonates with our customers.  

Volta: What are some of your team’s current marketing goals? How has the partnership between Giant Food and Volta helped you achieve those goals, or the business goals of Giant Food as a whole?

Hanrahan: The reality of our current world is that there is a lot of content for people to consume, perhaps too much. We are working to get really crisp with our messaging so that we are always relevant when we serve our advertising to customers. We are also constantly pursuing new ways to interact with our customers and meet them in the moment.

The Volta partnership has helped us show a tangible action behind our commitment to being a more sustainable retailer. One of the insights we have about our customers is that they want to live more sustainably but often aren’t sure how. We are on a similar journey in that we are trying to get better educated on the ways we can operate more sustainably. With our large footprint, we have a platform to drive awareness around sustainable living options and our Volta charging stations make that lifestyle more accessible for our customers. 

Volta: Volta’s recent report, “The Rise of the Climate Conscious Consumer,” found that 62% of adults believe that climate change requires urgent action by all of us. With environmental issues becoming an increasingly important factor for purchase behavior, how does Giant Food factor this into your business objectives?

Hanrahan: We have made public commitments towards achieving net-zero carbon emissions, minimizing our food waste, reducing plastic packaging and consumption in our stores, and working with farmers and suppliers to transition to an inclusive and regenerative food system that supports biodiversity. While those commitments influence our daily operations and the partnerships we build, we also believe it is important to use our platform to give our customers pathways to becoming more sustainable shoppers. Our partnership with Volta is a key component of that, as well as our partnership with How Good. How Good is an environmental and social impact rating system that enables consumers to make conscious choices about the products they buy. We feature the How Good ratings on our products in store and online, providing consumers access and a pathway to more sustainable purchase behavior. 

Volta: As we look ahead to the second half of 2022 and beyond, how do you see consumer behavior evolving? What is Giant Food doing (or planning to do) to continue to be top of mind amidst this evolution?

Hanrahan: I’m hesitant to say what it might look like next week, let alone several months from now. There are so many dynamics impacting our way of life at the moment. What I know for certain is that consumers will always keep us on our toes. That is the exciting and challenging part of retail marketing, we have to remain flexible and unafraid to test, learn and pivot in order to adapt to changing mindsets and behaviors. Even an aspect of consumer marketing like personalization, which previously seemed to be on a steady trajectory, I think has evolving expectations based on new consumer protection laws and preferences.

We stay top of mind by staying close to what our customers are telling us. We get daily (sometimes hourly) business pitches from agencies promoting new ways to market to customers or drive engagement, but our most important source of inspiration will always be our customer feedback loop and our shopper voice community. They will tell us what they need from us, and we must be ready to listen and respond. 

Volta: Giant Food works with a lot of unique brands and local supplies. Personally, do you have a favorite sustainable, or environmentally friendly, product that is sold in your stores?

Hanrahan: I love Trolley Bags by Lotus Sustainables! Our newest vendor partner offers a more sustainable way to bag and organize your in-store grocery shopping and it is available at all Giant Food locations. Lotus has eliminated over 400 million plastic bags from circulation. In my opinion, it is the fastest, easiest, and greenest way to shop. The bags can also be used for different purposes outside of just shopping in a grocery store and they are even machine-washable.