Walgreens repositioning
Fergus Stoddart
This is a post by Fergus Stoddart
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In 2012, Walgreens worked with customer experience company Jackman Reinvents to define a clear purpose for the brand which is: “Easy to get, stay, and live well”. A customer-facing expression of the brand was also developed: “At the Corner of Happy & Healthy”. The shift was a significant one for the company which operates 8,177 stores in all 50 states of the US with 63% of the the country’s population said to live within three miles of a Walgreens store while more than 75% live within a five-mile radius.

Walgreens content pillars

Across the various social and content platforms Walgreens plays in there are five distinct content pillars. They are:

  • Beauty
  • Health
  • Charity
  • Photos
  • Holidays

“On each social channel we definitely think about beauty, health, and happiness, but the approach in the way that we deliver content around those things is very unique to the platform. On Tumblr, for example, we can promote a specific image as part of the longer story. On a platform like Pinterest, the image is the entire story,” Adam Kmiec, Walgreens Senior Director of Mobile, Social, Content, and Performance Marketing told Content Marketing All Stars.

When programming content across the various platforms, Kmiec says the brand uses a movie analogy cutting down original pieces of content made for one platform to trailer and poster-sized pieces for publication on others.

Walgreens on social

On Facebook

With almost 4.5m likes, Walgreen’s Facebook page sticks to the brand’s key content pillars seen on other platforms. Walgreen’s Facebook output includes references to the brand’s charity work, how to videos, product plugs, photo-based craft projects and beauty content.

On Twitter

Walgreens has 928K followers on Twitter with the channel acting as a broadcast platform much like Facebook.

On Instagram

  • 118k followers
  • Content is very similar to other platforms with the same images used on Facebook
  • Of all the social channels, Instagram looks something of an afterthought for Walgreens

On Pinterest

Pinterest is a major focus for the brand with more than 6,700 pins across 37 boards. The brand Pins products from its site, shares content created by bloggers and other partners and adds popular, relevant pins from the wider Pinterest community. Walgreens has also created tutorial pins with step-by-step instructions. A pin about one of Walgreens’ products – frozen whipped cream – drove one of the highest engagement rates in Walgreens history.

Tumblr

Walgreens has been on youth platform Tumblr since 2014 where it has three Tumblogs: Smile, Stay Well, and Be Beautiful. While Stay Well and Be Beautiful are obvious content pillars, Smile showcases a unique Walgreens offering – photo printing services.

Across the three blogs the content ranges from image-based makeup tutorials and animated health GIFs to back-to-school videos.

On Youtube

Whatever makes you feel beautiful

In an attempt to connect with a young female audience, Walgreens has rolled out a number of videos under the strapline ‘Whatever Makes You Feel Beautiful’. The videos feature Kate and Heather, two best friends that discuss beauty issues from how they apply moisturiser to choosing the right shade of lipstick. Launched in June this year, the 30 second to one minute long videos have seen upwards of 30,000 views a piece with the first in the series attracting 437,258 views.

See what they see

On YouTube, Walgreens has a video playlist called ‘See what they see’ which is made up of videos that shine a light on underdeveloped countries such as Uganda while highlighting the company’s charity initiatives. Walgreens also has a large amount of Red Nose Day content on the platform.

How-to

Walgreens YouTube channel also provides how-to videos featuring products from Walgreens range such as Get Your Curl Fix with TRESemmé or Eye Envy Beauty Tutorial.

Happy and Healthy Magazine

In 2012 as part of the brand’s reinvention, Happy and Healthy magazine launched. The title was used as a vehicle to promote Walgreens own product range as well as other products it stocks. The publication included coupons for the coupon-mad American public.

Walgreens Health Corner TV

Walgreen previously produced Health Corner TV, a weekly, 30-minute “health infotainment” television series focused on issues important to women; improving health, healthy lifestyles, looking and feeling great, and raising healthy children. The program aired on US TV on Sunday mornings. In 2009, the content was repackaged and housed on the Health Corner website which is now defunct. The content featured cooking segments as well as lifestyle content and celebrities.

Walgreens Partnerships

Walgreens and WebMD

Similarly to Boots, Walgreens forged a partnership with WebMD in 2014. Unlike Boots, however, the Walgreens and WebMD relationship is focused on a digital program, Your Digital Health Advisor. The virtual wellness-coaching program powered by WebMD is available on Walgreens.com and WebMD's mobile app. The program aims to incentivise consumers to make healthier choices at home, work and on-the-go. 

Walgreens and FitBit

Through a partnership with fitness tracking device FitBit, Walgreens customers can earn in-store loyalty points by staying active and logging their fitness efforts.

Walgreens and Glow

In 2015, women’s fertility tracking app Glow integrated Walgreens' Prescription Refill API into its app so that Glow users can refill their birth control prescriptions directly from their Android or iOS devices.

Digitised health services

In 2014, Walgreens announced that its website users would soon have access to virtual medical consultations via their mobile phone. Through a partnership with MDLive, Walgreens’ app allows users to meet with a board certified physician for consultations on common ailments. The Appointments lasting around 15 minutes would cost users $US49.

Influencer marketing

Walgreens has also tapped into influencer marketing. In recent years the brand wanted to get the word out to African-American women that it had started carrying haircare brand Motions. It partnered with startup TapInfluence to engage 30 influencers. These influencers created more than 200 pieces of content which would garner a total reach of 800,000 people across blogs, Facebook and Twitter. ROI for the campaign, according to TapInfluence, was 1200%.

On site product reviews

Like Boots, Walgreens offers its customers the opportunity to review its products via online product reviews. Unlike Boots, these reviews do not appear to be verified by a third party. The Walgreens website, does, however allow reviews for every single product that the brand sells.

Results

Walgreens efforts in repositioning itself coupled with content initiatives has seen results for the company such as:

  • Named one of the most innovative companies in healthcare by Fast Company
  • During and after the brand’s 2012 reinvention, Walgreens’ stock price grew from the mid-teens to an all-time high of more than $90 per share