Very few times in my life as a customer experience expert do I get to talk about matters of life and death. But this week is different; a rare occasion when three companies made good moves that might save your life.

Good Move #1: CVS Stops Selling Cigarettes

In a well-publicized and divisive move this week, the retailer CVS announced that they will no longer sell cigarettes

  • The move stunned many business analysts that think eliminating this product from the shelves can have enormous implications for their brand.
  • I agree with the analysts that say this, however, I just don’t agree that the implications are bad.

CVS is positioning themselves as a resource for good health.

I love this because it contributes to a consumer’s subconscious experience.

  • Subconsciously most of us associate cigarettes with poor health, lung cancer, or death.
  • If you don’t, I have some other links I need to send you…
  • So when you are at CVS, which is working to be the pharmacy you think of to get things for your health, and you see a big wall of smokes, it doesn’t exactly say “Good Health.”

CVS recognizes that in the highly competitive marketplace for your pharmacy dollars, that loyalty programs are not enough.

  • Bold moves like this one, which is likely to cost them about $2 Billion in annual revenue, are the kinds of things that cut through the clutter and stick in the mind of consumers.
  • Not only the consumer, though.
  • They are taking tact to discourage smoking, which will help facilitate better relationships with insures and doctors.
  • These relationships translate to the consumer, as the doctor’s office is like to say “Where is the nearest CVS?” when they write a prescription or their insurance is easier to manage at the CVS counter than at other drugstores.
  • And the consumer doesn’t mind because they remember that CVS was the retailer that dumped cigarettes in 2014.
  • All of these subconscious signals create an emotional subconscious reaction that will make them turn into CVS instead of the Walgreens (which is still selling cigarettes) that is probably right across the street.

Good Move #2: Subway will stop baking bread with chemicals that make rubber in it.

My first reaction when I heard this story was incredulity.

  • Chemicals that make rubber? Really?
  • Then I read what it was: Azodicarbonamide.
  • Apparently the additive is permitted by the U.S. FDA to help dough last longer and bread to have a longer “shelf life.” (Wong, Par 1).
  • This additive has been banned for such uses in Europe and Australia.
  • But it can be found in several of the types of bread used in the US and Canada.

Azodicarbonamide is approved for use in food by both the USDA and the FDA.

  • And is associated with asthma as well as other allergic reactions.
  • So once I got over the idea that this was even legal in the first place, I was happy to hear that Subway was phasing it out.

Now I didn’t know about this, but apparently a lot of other people did.

  • They were 66,000 signatures on a Bloggers site asking them to remove the additive.
  • Subway claims, however, that they were already working on a new recipe for this.

Subway, like CVS, has a brand promise that their food is a healthier choice.

  • With Olympic athletes promoting the brand and who can forget the brand’s face man for years, Jared, the regular guy that lost a lot of weight simply by eating subway every day.
  • So when they say they were already trying to cut out the use of the additive, I am inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt.
  • This move to improve, in spite of the fact that the additive is legal according to the USDA and the FDA, definitely makes you think that the sandwich chain does want to serve food that is healthier then some of the other fast food choices.
  • The only improvement I would make would be that Subway should give a hard date for this change.
  • Because until then, I’m not crazy about eating one of their foot longs, $5 or not.

Good Move #3:  Honda Gave Driver’s Sight in the Blind Spot.

Honda is a brand known for its reliability.

  • It is the quintessential family car.
  • From the Accord to the Odyssey, their cars are known to be a good value on a quality vehicle that doesn’t cut corners when it comes to being a good car.
  • In a move that will appeal to drivers everywhere, particularly those that have been troubled by the “blind spot” in their side rearview mirror, they are taking their brand to a new level of safety.

The new mirror, called the Expanded-View Driver’s mirror, doesn’t rely on new technology.

  • It uses a convex outer edge to give the driver a better view from the mirror, and virtually eliminates the blind spot.
  • Honda didn’t even event it.
  • But what they did do is make this improved mirror a standard feature, meaning no extra charge, on most of the cars in its lineup.
  • These aren’t obscure models either.
  • It’s the Accord, Civic, Odyssey, CR-V and CR-Z models.
  • Next year’s model of the Fit will feature the mirror as well.

I love the subconscious signal that this mirror represents for Honda’s branding.

  • When a car maker adds a safety feature that is standard it says, we care about you and who you are driving around.
  • They know that the blind spot causes accidents, some of which have tragic consequences for the drivers and passengers of their cars.
  • They know that their target market worries about whether the next time they miss something in the mirror they might also have one of these tragic consequences.
  • So they tell their drivers, and prospective drivers with a move like this that Honda is brand that is always looking for ways to improve your safety.
  • Better yet, we do it without expecting you to pay more for it.
  • What better way to create brand loyalty than this?

The subconscious mind is a fascinating thing to me.

  • It isn’t often that I get to see three brilliant moves that appeal to the consumer’s subconscious that have such far-reaching and monumental implications to their lives.
  • This was just one of those weeks!

Three Good Moves This Week That Might Save Your Life by Colin Shaw

Colin Shaw is founder & CEO of Beyond Philosophy, one of the world’s first organizations devoted to customer experience. Colin has been recognized by LinkedIn as one of the top 150 Business Influencers in the world.  He is an international author of four best-selling books on Customer Experience. Colin’s company, Beyond Philosophy provide consulting, specialised research & training from our Global Headquarters in Tampa, Florida, USA.

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