New Walgreens branding emphasizes distant past
Walgreens is moving from its "Corner of Happy and Healthy" branding tagline to a new slogan that emphasizes its longevity, "Walgreens. Trusted since 1901," the retailer announced on Monday in a press release.
It’s an effort to "emphasize the aspects of Walgreens from the past 116 years that customers truly love," the company said in a press release. "Those attributes – care, trust and accessibility – are the focus of the campaign, which includes new advertising and marketing, and a purpose to champion the health and well-being of every community in America."
The move comes in the same 24 hours that rival CVS announced it would acquire health insurer Aetna for $69 billion.
Just a few months ago, intent on a merger with rival Rite Aid, Walgreens seemed poised to build a future predicated on a massive expansion. Those plans were foiled, subject to long, drawn-out scrutiny by the Federal Trade Commission, which in the end would only agree to a drastically smaller acquisition by Walgreens of nearly 2,000 Rite Aid stores and distribution centers. Walgreens Boots Alliance in recent months said it's determined that optimizing that purchase will entail the closure of some 600 stores "and related assets" over 18 months, starting next spring.
In a press release announcing the new branding, the retailer emphasized change and the strength of its legacy. "Walgreens and its customers have certainly changed since the first Walgreens drugstore opened in 1901, but one constant over that time is Walgreens legacy of care," the company said in a press release. "That’s the foundation of a new, multifaceted brand positioning and identity that launched Sunday and is reflected in the new tagline."
Not everyone is impressed by the move. Jim Fosina, CEO of Fosina Marketing Group, warns it "misses the mark." For one thing, plenty of American brands have been around just as long as Walgreens, he said in an email to Retail Dive.
"Consumers aren't really valuing the strength of a brand proposition over an extended period of time as a determining factor, they are looking for brands that embrace their challenges and needs today and in the years ahead," he said. "Walgreens needs to be seen as an innovative brand and offering in the market today by developing service offerings that speak to the needs of customers today — making their lives more efficient."
In today's competitive market, Walgreens needs a better brand proposition to drive loyalty. "The CVS/Aetna acquisition demonstrates to today's consumer that their brand is taking aggressive moves in order to better service today's customer in tangible ways," Fosina said. "If Walgreens thought that a rebranding effort focusing on longevity was going to be competitive with the CVS moves ... they are sadly mistaken ... and really missing an understanding of what motivates today's consumer."
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