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CSM profiles the architect behind CVS Health’s CSR and philanthropy initiatives

BY Michael Johnsen

WOONSOCKET, R.I. – The Christian Science Monitor on Thursday profiled one of the architects behind both CVS Health's bold move in walking away from selling tobacco in stores, and the company's philanthropic endeavors.

According to the profile, CVS Health in 2004 recruited Eileen Howard Boone, SVP corporate social responsibility and philanthropy for CVS Health and president of CVS Health Foundation. "In the 12 years since, she’s become the embodiment of the alignment between the company’s profitmaking and philanthropic goals," CSM wrote.

Since, Howard Boone has been responsible for formulating the strategic positioning of the company’s corporate social responsibility platform across three focus areas: building healthier communities, creating economic opportunities and protecting the planet.

In addition to leading CVS Health's philanthropic charge, Howard Boone played a key role in the implementation of CVS Health's #BeTheFirst campaign, a five-year commitment toward creating the first tobacco-free generation underwritten by CVS Health to the tune of $50 million, CSM reported.

That program is an extension of CVS Health's commitment toward not selling tobacco products in its stores. “It’s a business function,” Howard Boone told CSM. “We’re trying to support our long-term growth, and when we’re doing it in a socially responsible way, it really benefits the company and stakeholders.”

Howard Boone also was instrumental in leading stakeholder engagement around the company’s decision to stop the sale of tobacco in 2014 and garnered support from key anti-tobacco non-governmental organizations and health care organizations surrounding the announcement and tobacco exit, CVS Health noted. That focus on smoking cessation initiatives was reflected in CVS Health's annual corporate social responsiblity report titled, "Prescription for a Better World," released in May.

Among the new targets announced in this year's Report, four are aimed at creating a tobacco-free generation by 2020.

As the head of corporate philanthropy, Howard Boone leads a team that directs nearly $80 million in charitable funding for philanthropic programs that support the company’s purpose of helping people on their path to better health by increasing access to health care for underserved populations, improving the quality of care and ultimately reducing costs on the health care system. This includes charitable donations, gifts in-kind, customer and colleague fundraising and volunteerism.

Active in the community, Howard Boone serves on several nonprofit boards of directors, including the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Crossroads, Easter Seals and the NACDS Foundation. Through her work and expertise, she has earned many professional service accolades, including the CECP’s Charles H. Moore Award, which recognizes perseverance in pursuing societal advancement, and the National Child Labor Committee’s Lewis Hine Award for service to children and youth.

Howard Boone is a graduate of the College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, Massachusetts, and earned her MBA from Fordham University in New York.
 

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New Edelman Brand Relationship Index measures consumer engagement – where would your brand rank?

BY Michael Johnsen

CHICAGO – Most brands are missing the mark when it comes to capitalizing on a more in-depth relationship with their consumers, according to the inaugural Edelman Brand Relationship Index released Wednesday. The index, part of the Edelman Earned Brand 2016 study of 13,000 consumers in 13 countries, found the global average consumer-brand relationship score reaches just 38 out of a possible 100.

Consumers who fall between 27 and 43 on the Index are labeled "Involved." Consumers who index between 44 and 69 are "Invested" and between 70 and 100 are "Committed."

The biggest opportunity for brands to earn deeper relationships with consumers lies in addressing the three brand behaviors that scored the lowest on the Edelman Brand Relationship Index: Acts with purpose (33), Tells a memorable story (34) and Listens openly/responds selectively (35).

While a majority of respondents (62%) said they will not buy a brand if it fails to meet its societal obligations, consumer belief in brands as their partners in social change is strong, with 55% agreeing brands can do more to solve societal ills than government. Brands must live up to these expectations by focusing on related strategies that entail collaboration, participation, shared values, and shared actions.

“Consumers are looking to brands to address their growing expectations, to step up and consistently take action with them on topics and issues they care about,” said Amanda Glasgow, U.S. Consumer Practice chair of Edelman. “It’s no longer about what brands do for you, it’s about what they do with you. It’s the difference between presenting consumers with a campaign and empowering them to join a movement. This is the way today’s brands become a meaningful presence in consumers’ lives and in the world.”

“The index confirms that marketers have done a good job getting consumers to preference and purchase, but consumers indicated they are willing to go deeper, to be committed in their brand relationships,” said Richard Edelman, president and CEO of Edelman. “The study shows when a consumer moves from a relationship rooted in ‘me’ to one powered by ‘we,’ a new world of buying and advocacy potential opens up for a brand.”

To realize the full potential of the consumer-brand relationship, brands must move consumers from being “Involved” with the brand to being fully “Committed,” the strongest relationship stage. The findings reveal that consumers who are “Committed” to a favorite brand will drive and protect its bottom line by buying first, staying loyal to, advocating for and defending the brand. These stronger relationships provide significant benefits: 86% will adopt innovation more quickly; 87% will pay a premium price; 87% will recommend the brand through liking and sharing; and 88% will defend it against critics.

In order to create more “Committed” consumers, the marketing mix, with its long-standing reliance on paid media, must fundamentally change to include a greater proportion of peer and owned media. The study finds that “Interested” and “Involved” consumers (the early stages of the relationship) need paid strategies to spark awareness and consideration, but consumers in the deeper “Invested” and “Committed” stages consistently engage peer and owned media over paid.

In fact, from the middle stage, “Involved,” to the most deeply “Committed” stage, a consumer’s use of both a brand’s owned media and peer conversations grows twice as fast as advertising: use of peer media grows 18 percentage points and use of owned grows 21 points, while paid grows by just 8 points.  Committed relationships require greater brand interactivity, and committed consumers thirst for that interactivity.

“Commitment cannot be bought, it must be earned,” said Edelman. “We can quantify that a media mix favoring social and owned media is essential for cementing a committed relationship with a consumer. Conversations help create a community of interest — a virtuous circle of buying, advocating for, and defending a brand — that will protect and promote the brand.”
 

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Transitions Can Boost Transactions

BY David Salazar
For most, transitioning from hospital to home recovery is anything but smooth. Today’s fast-paced healthcare environment faces mounting physician shortages, increasing health premiums, and a health system that ushers patients quickly from the care in a hospital setting to either self-care or family caregiver support at home.
 
Statistics suggest that about one in five Medicare patients discharged from the hospital are readmitted within 30 days. Reducing this crippling burden to the healthcare system and aiding in the smooth transition from hospital to home recovery presents an unrealized opportunity for retailers and suppliers.
 
Imagine if a retailer created an in-store solution set that helped solve this issue? I see it as a market basket builder for the retailer that creates incremental sales opportunity and a valued-focused customer proposition. Whether organized into a new in-store category or connected throughout the store in some other way, retailers who provide a comprehensive solution for “transitions” will boost transactions, increase loyalty, and position themselves as the go-to resource during recovery and beyond.
 
Actually, I’ve been envisioning a significant shift within retail category management to address four unique transitional times facing consumers: 
  1. Prevention (e.g., vitamins/dietary supplement, weight management, fitness equipment, personal well-being, and general health needs) 
  2. Monitoring (e.g., diagnostic testing and technology/wearables
  3. Recovery (braces, supports, nutritional supplements, and daily living products)
  4. Management (condition-specific items and prescription support to improve compliance)
The self-identification of a patient’s transitional stage and the alignment of the retail offering to meet these needs could improve the general health of the U.S. population – one of the goals of the Triple Aim initiative. Recognizing that the transition following hospitalization or some other condition or ailment can often be traumatic for the patient, family members, and healthcare team members, becoming the go-to resource and counselor may be “just what the doctor ordered.”
 
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