How would you describe marketing spirits, versus the healthcare brands, within the pharmacy world, at Walgreens Boots Alliance?

They are two really different categories. I call everyone a brand manager. Everyone in the world is a brand manager, who touches a brand in any way. It’s absolutely imperative that brand managers understand their category, understand how their category operates and what the drivers for consumer choice are, of their category.

The spirits category is an emotional category. You can’t talk function in the spirits category. You can’t market off, mine is stronger than yours. It’s illegal. If we boil it down, all spirits are, are ethanol. What you’ve got to do, in the spirits category is build the emotional reasons that consumers want to purchase your brand. You’ve got to build a world, in your consumer’s hearts and minds, that’s better than the world they currently live in and a world that they want to go to, that differentiates from your competitors. It’s all emotional. It’s all badging.

If this didn’t exist in the world, we’d all be walking around drinking plastic bags of ethanol. But we’re not. We’re buying Grey Goose, at three times the price of Smirnoff, because we’re creating worlds when we do spirit marketing. We’re creating this emotional place, that consumers want to say, this is me. I badge with this.
In the healthcare world, consumers aren’t looking for emotional benefits, primarily. Primarily, they are working for efficacy. They’re working for, I have a symptom, I have an issue and what I want is efficacy. I want to know that what I’m taking is going to work, first and foremost. It’s going to work better than, perhaps, the brand that I’m currently consuming. In the healthcare world, the messaging shifts, very much, to an efficacy first driven message, followed by an emotional message.

People are still buying into the emotionality of the brand, otherwise there wouldn’t be brands in the healthcare world. But they want to know that they work, first. So very, very different.

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