Jennifer Heal's infectious energy and focused point of view adds a true vibrancy in all that she does both personally and professionally. From fashion to food, our featured PLANOLEADER has crafted social media content and strategies for some of the world's leading brands (including spearheading Betsey Johnson's social media department as one of the brand's initial Social Media Managers!). Since then, Jen has been able to take her respective experiences in the fashion industry and translate her strengths into industry-leading work for Whole Foods in social media and digital marketing. Whether she's on location for a shoot or meeting with an influencer, you'll find Jen between the city's growing number of Whole Foods locations on a daily basis. Fortunately, we were able to catch the busy content maven on a quiet morning at the company's crisp Williamsburg store where we chatted trends, lifestyle content and personal brand building.
Please introduce yourself!
Heya! I'm Jennifer Heal - Jen for short - a self-proclaimed color addict with a love for all things sweet! Most days you can find me in meetings with some of my favorite foodie friends, photo-shooting and food styling for Whole Foods Market or bouncing around my favorite vintage shops in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. I'm the type of girl who lives and breathes my aesthetic, whether that's through the restaurants I visit, the clothes I wear or the photos I post!
Prior to Whole Foods what were you up to professionally, what role did digital play in your job description and what have been some notable moments throughout your career so far?
My digital journey began at Betsey Johnson. I started there as an intern in the public relations department and worked my way up to Social Media Manager, creating the role, back when jobs in Social Media Marketing weren't as prevalent. My time at Betsey not only shaped my colorful personality in the digital space but also helped me generate relationships with a variety of fashion and lifestyle influencers. From there, I spent some time at the Digital Marketing agency, Bollare Communications, where I truly honed my skills, working with clients in the beauty, fashion and lifestyle space. After years in the fashion arena, I decided to expand my resume and try something a little outside my comfort zone. My time at Whole Foods Market has allowed me to combine my passions for food, styling, photography and social strategy while also teaching me about time management and content coordination. Additionally, all of these career experiences have really helped to shape and grow my own digital persona, giving me the tools to marketing myself successfully online.
Based on your experiences in both the fashion and food industries what would you say is the biggest overlap or similarity in planning content?
When it comes to content, no matter what the subject, the goal is to make it "thumb-stopping" and to evoke a certain aesthetic. If your content does this, then you will successfully build a community online. Whether it's fashion or food, great photography follows the same rules. A person who double taps a photo of shoes and then does the same for a delicious donut is interested in that content because it makes them feel a certain way. It appeals to their own personal "aesthetic" in the way it was shot or the colors in the photo. That's ultimately where you will see the overlap in planning content.
You mentioned that a lot of your days include meeting with content creators and influencers in the food and lifestyle space. What has been your biggest takeaway from these conversations and in your opinion who should we be keeping an eye on?
After meeting with any influencer, one thing I always note is how willing and excited they are to work with me and the brand I represent. This is one of the main reasons why I like to take the time to meet with bloggers vs. just handling everything over email. By making a connection with someone offline, I gain a better understanding for their genuine self and ensure their online persona matches their in-person persona. There's a lot of noise and clutter in the digital influencer space so that's super key for me. Some of my favorites to keep an eye on right now are @livingminnaly, @conscious_cooking, @ps.ny@mangelka, @hungryhipsters, and @andreannu.
When it comes to rising content trends in the food space what are you the most excited about to participate in for your personal Instagram platform or for the Whole Foods account?
I am all about video on social media right now. In specific, Instagram specific stop motions are super appealing to me – I feel there's a ton I can do for Whole Foods Market and for myself in this space. Stay tuned on the @WholeFoodsNYC page for some fun summer stop motion vids!
With the above question in mind, how would you say you contribute your personal penchant for bold, bright and fun visuals into your work at Whole Foods?
Naturally, I am always incorporating my personal taste into Whole Foods Market shoots and content. It's been beneficial for us since the overarching visual we aim to create is about beautiful, bright, colorful foods...it's all about eating the rainbow! Additionally, my personality is pretty apparent in the projects I work on. For example, this past Mother's Day we built a pink peony wall outside one of our NYC stores as a content activation for customers. Not only was it on brand for Whole Foods Market but it fit perfectly into my own feed as well!