Your move, Walgreens.
Today CVS announced it would stop selling tobacco products, effective in October.
That means a $2 billion drop in revenue – but that’s only about 1.6 percent of their total revenue.
The CVS brand is bigger than just your neighborhood drugstore. They’re part of a larger healthcare organization. The services they offer go beyond just selling lip-gloss and a pack of smokes. They’ve built relationships with Accountable Care Organizations, doctors, and health care networks, and are clearly beginning to establish themselves in that space.
From a reputation standpoint, it can only be good for CVS. For one, health-minded people (like me) can get behind a company that is doing what’s best for its consumers. And in this new world of providing health care, they’re ahead of the game.
Oh and by the way, if you closely look at the news coverage, you’ll notice a few things about CVS’s well-planned announcement.
— They lined up a series of big name organizations and individuals (like the smoker-in-chief himself) in advance of the announcement to praise the decision.
— They clearly had reached out to the big tobacco companies already. R.J. Reynolds issued a statement and was obviously disappointed, but there was no surprise from them on the day of the announcement.
— CVS/Caremark President and CEO Larry Merlo made the morning news circuit himself to talk about the decision.
Finally, PR giant Richard Edelman wrote a tremendous piece about what he calls the “courageous decision” of CVS – an Edelman client.
That courageous decision was a smart business decision backed up by a smart PR strategy.
If you’re looking to make a big decision about your company and need counsel, Capstone National Partners can help. Our team can provide public relations experience, creative approaches to leadership and strategic decision-making.
Kate Venne is the Director of Public Relations at Capstone National Partners. If you’re interested in media training, contact Kate to find out more.
The views in this blog post represent the viewpoints of individual team members, not Capstone National Partners as a whole.