Branding isn't the exclusive province of marketing efforts. Instead, startup founders should understand the message and character of a brand needs to permeate all actions of a business's operations. Recently, CVS Caremark made a bold decision to bring its stores more in line with its evolving brand as a company.
As CVS seeks to become a health care provider as well as a pharmacy, it has been offering services like flu shots and walk-in clinics for minor ailments. It even has partnerships with prestigious medical organizations. One thing doctors called in to consult with the company never fail to notice is that the stores still sell cigarettes and other tobacco products. For a company that is now aiming to be a vital part of health care management for its customers, this choice is dissonant. As such, CVS announced it will no longer sell tobacco products as of October. Some stores have already phased them out, but all will be required to do so by that time.
This was not a decision CVS was able to make lightly, according to Forbes. It will cost the company something like $2 billion to cease tobacco sales. However, it is worth the sacrifice for CVS, which is demonstrating its true focus on the health of its customers with this move.
With the decision to stop selling tobacco, CVS is demonstrating the power keeping its image totally on-brand. Entrepreneurs should consider how they can follow suit. Any practices or products that simply don't make sense with the brand of a company may need to fall by the wayside - even if it costs the company money.