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Take ‘Dark Horse’ — to win

BY Rob Eder

“If you want to know why we may not pick up some of your brands, it’s because it’s not where we’re going in our journey.”

That’s a snippet of a story about a vendor meeting gone bad that Walgreens group VP beauty, personal care and seasonal Shannon Curtin shared during a recent presentation, “Co-creation and Innovation,” she gave at an event DSN co-hosted with the Mack Elevation Forum, “Seven Ideas to Create the Future.” You can watch it at DrugStoreNews.com/Video.

Critical to success are the need to bring emerging insights, ideas that fill “white spaces” where products and solutions do not exist and ideas for how to execute that vision.

The great brands — big and small — are built that way.

That’s more or less the focus of a new book, “Dark Horse: How Challenger Companies Rise to Prominence,” by Dan Mack, EVP strategic business development for The Swanson Group and managing director of the Mack Elevation Forum.

“From the humble and beloved Wiffle ball and bat to the highly stylized line of Method soap, Purell instant hand sanitizer, Ricola and Amy’s Kitchen organic foods … there is no shortage of dark horses to root for,” Mack noted.

The best companies, Mack explained, bring more than unique products or services to the market; they consistently tap into 10 growth enablers:

  • Their business is personal — it’s their identity and it’s about more than profit;
  • They listen and are aligned with top customers;
  • They use hidden assets to create differentiated value;
  • They create a clear business blueprint and share it openly;
  • They carefully and wisely pick customers and partners;
  • They co-create innovation with customers;
  • They move quickly to meet consumer shifts to create new experiences;
  • They influence the influencers who help build their brand;
  • They are very agile, nimble and seize new opportunities much faster than competitors; and
  • Corporate culture operates with a spirit of grace and honor.

To learn more, read the book. Visit DarkHorseBook.com.


Rob Eder is the editor in chief of The Drug Store News Group, publishers of Drug Store News and DSN Collaborative Care magazines. You can contact him at reder@lf.com.

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Exclusive report highlights healthcare technology conference Health 2.0

BY Rob Eder

Looking back at the seventh annual Health 2.0 Fall Conference, which was held Sept. 29 to Oct. 2 in Santa Clara, Calif., at the Santa Clara Convention Center, more than 2,000 health information technology entrepreneurs and thought leaders gathered to forge ahead in leading the healthcare revolution through innovative technologies, policies and collaborative ideas. The conference lineup focused on the role of consumers, big data and healthcare marketplaces in forward-thinking companies and the future of health care.

In this exclusive report, DSN talks to Health 2.0 co-chairman Matthew Holt about the evolution of the conference, and DSN profiles some leading exhibitors from the show about how their companies are leveraging technology to improve the healthcare experience for patients and providers.

To download the exclusive report, visit DrugStoreNews.com/redefining-health-care-health-20-bottom-thinking.

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DSNTV: WAG’s Shannon Curtin talks innovation, co-creation

BY Rob Eder

“If your brand was delisted tomorrow, would anybody care?”

That’s the cold, hard question retailers and manufacturers need to confront. That was a key message Shannon Curtin, Walgreens group VP beauty, personal care and seasonal, had for attendees of a special one-day summit co-hosted by The Drug Store News Group and the Mack Elevation Forum in August. “Care equals long-term revenue potential. When there is no care, brands simply do not exist,” she said.

Curtin, part of a high-charged lineup of top thought leaders in merchandising, marketing and brand building that headlined the event, “Seven Ideas to Create the Future,” discussed the art of “Co-creation Innovation,” the key obstacles that stand in the way of true collaboration between manufacturer and retailer partners and the critical rules of engagement to drive mutual success. Her presentation was recorded on DSNTV and is part of the DSN Executive Viewpoints video series.

Curtin talked about the rules of co-creation and brands that are seizing on the power of co-creation, citing examples in the social media space as well as actual companies that Walgreens has partnered with to co-develop successful programs and help transform the way the retailer looks at its customers and its business.

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