Walgreens Boots Alliance vice president, global corporate communications Morry Smulevitz talks to Doug Simon about how large companies can balance master brand communications with getting the message out about local sub-brands in the latest “PR’s Top Pros Talk” video interview.

WBA encompasses three major brands—Walgreens, British health and beauty retailer and pharmacy chain Boots, and Alliance Healthcare—and Smulevitz tells Simon that “we take an audience-led approach, regardless of the brand, whether it’s the local brands, divisions around the world, or the master brand.”

While communications around the company’s consumer brands take a more personal focus on the audience, Smulevitz says, messaging for the master brand focuses on “investors, our partners, advocates, policy makers and prospective and current employees.” Because of that, delivering the message about the master brand requires an emphasis on “stories that demonstrate our performance.”

Smulevitz also addresses the increasing importance of corporate social responsibility—especially as it pertains to “disparities that exist in certain communities, especially those of color and those that are underserved in other ways” when it comes to the delivery of healthcare.

As regards what communicators should expect in 2021, Smulevitz is bullish, predicting “kind of a new golden age of communications.” But breaking through the clutter of the many issues confronting consumers and companies to deliver your message will demand that communicators “learn the intricacies of your business, your competitive environment.”

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