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Student Story: Rebranding with Walgreens

In nearly every community in America, you can count on finding a Walgreens store on the corner. The company is one of America’s largest pharmacy, health, and beauty retailers, helping people lead happy and healthy lives.

With more than 8,000 locations in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, Walgreens is one of the largest drugstore chains in the United States. Walgreens’ main vision is to be the first choice in pharmacy, wellbeing, and beauty while caring for people and communities around the world. To help achieve these goals and build on our legacy of trust, Walgreens is focusing on providing its customers with simplicity of services, quality and value. Over eight million people interact with Walgreens each day in its stores and online at Walgreens.com or through its mobile app. Walgreens strives to be a force for good in the world by supporting the places in which we live and work, treating people with dignity and respect, protecting the environment and carrying quality products.

On November 29th, the Retail Leadership Symposium class welcomed speakers from Walgreens. Stefani Coleman (Campus Recruiter) and Julie Tramba (Talent Acquisition Partner) described Walgreens’ unique internship and post-graduate rotational program opportunities.

Internship and Career Possibilities

Walgreens offers a 10 week paid summer internship program at their Deerfield, Illinois headquarters. The marketing merchandising internship program focuses on the non-Pharmacy product categories and developing a deep understanding of consumer mindset as well the ability to spot trends.

As for full-time, Walgreens offers a rotational program in merchandising and marketing development. It consists of a 3 year rotational program where each rotation is 6 months long in key-merchandising, category management, customer insights, merchandising planning, visual merchandising and many more, giving a well-rounded education within the company roles. Once all rotations are completed, you will be place in a division that is best suited for you to grow within your career in the Merchandising and Marketing teams.

Out with the Old and in with the New…Nice!

Additional, Jodi Kier, Senior Brand Manager for Walgreens-owned brands, presented a case study of the work done by her team at Walgreens, detailing how the company reimagined its private brand, Nice!, to better serve Walgreens’ vision and seek profitable growth.

Brand managers had noticed a few problems with the Nice! Brand and its premium counterpart, Good and Delish. The brand positioning was inconsistent and unclear to consumers, packaging was dull, and quality varied among products. Because of this, the Walgreens brand team decided to rethink the brand architecture, positioning, and packaging of its private brands.

The old Nice!

First, the team used a variety of market research techniques, from formal studies to social media listening, to understand consumers’ what consumers liked and disliked about Walgreens’ private brand products. Surveys revealed the emotional and functional drivers of specific categories from candy to paper products.

From this data, a new Nice! was rebranded on three principles: transparency, prudence, and delight. Transparency was achieved by reformulating Nice! consumable products to feature zero trans-fat, palm oil, or GMOs whenever possible, so that consumers knew what they were eating and understood where it came from. Prudence, perhaps one of the most important qualities for any private brand, was achieved by delivering value to the customer with every product. High quality at a low price is a surefire way to deliver value in any product, and Walgreens’ Nice! made it a goal to do it in a smart and savvy way. Delight, the final principle, was simple: make it delicious. New products such as salted caramel cheesecake cookies were introduced, and proved to be a delight to the students in the Retail Leadership Symposium.

The newly redesigned Nice!

With more visually appealing packaging, the new Nice! is starting to hit shelves in Walgreens stores across America. Currently, snack items are performing 20.1% better than with the former branding, and sales per customer have increased. Jodi Kier’s team at Walgreens is hopeful that Nice! will achieve its goal of being a $750 million food and beverage brand by 2022. If the reactions of the Retail Leadership Symposium were any indication, they’re off to a great (and delicious) start.


Key Takeaways From Rebranding Nice!

Throughout the presentation, Jodi provided us students with some major aspects to think about when discussing a rebrand of a product or product line

Do your research. Walgreens discussed that they did vigorous testing on, not only the taste and look of their products, but the packaging it comes in. Upon doing extensive testing, they found that the customers looked at the new Nice! logo and reported it looking like a smile; which made the customer feel more comfortable purchasing this private brand.

Learn from your research. Along with the design Walgreens ended up going with, they also had a few other designs that they felt would be a good fit for their product. After listening to what customers had to say about the rebrand, they instantly knew they needed to scrap some ideas and build on others. This led to a successful and timely rebrand.

Align your product line to the trends of the market. Walgreens was quick to hop on the trend of personal health and wellbeing. Along with a new design, Nice! has a large focus on the taste and nutrition of their snacks. Walgreens provides better taste than their competitors by prioritizing great ingredient guidelines, such as by minimizing hydrogenated oils, trans fats and artificial ingredients wherever possible.


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