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November 13, 2006

Fortune 500 Corporate Blog Review: Rite Aid #129 (RAD)

By Li Evans

Riteaidlogo Rite Aid (RAD) is the nation's 3rd largest retail drugstore firm that started from pretty humble beginnings in Scranton, PA.  With its headquarters now in Camp Hill, PA, just over the bridge from the state capital of Harrisburg, Rite Aid is aiming to grow even bigger with the announcement of a merger with Eckerd and Brooks drugstores.

No Corporate Blogs
Riteaidtechnoratichart Like so many corporations these days, Rite Aid has no corporate blogs, nor are any of its executive team members or board members blogging.  In particular I did a search on Mary Sammons and Robert G. Miller (Chairman of the board) and came up empty in finding any blogs about them or written by them.  In light of some recent bad press and questions that are surrounding this merger, it could be a good time to start one.  Technorati charts about 60 mentions a day in blogs for the term "Rite Aid", with a huge spike when they announced the Eckerd/Brooks merger.

Marysammons_1 Rite Aid has something to brag about too, it's president and chief executive, Mary Sammons, is #16 on Forbes' 100 most powerful women list.  She has actually risen, in 2005 she was #23.  A blog from her could not only look great for Rite Aid, but could even go a long way in marketing.  Other women in business could learn from Ms. Sammons - and what a great hook for Rite Aid.

Rite Aid's site is powered by drugstore.com so, at this point, it looks like it would have to be an effort from their marketing team to get any kind of blog going.  There's a few possibilities that Rite Aid could do with a marketing blog, and even with a corporate blog.  It can definitely help with putting a more "personal" feel to their site.

So, here's a tip for John Learish the Senior Vice President of Marketing at Rite Aid.  Why not start a blog about the new Medicare Part D issues and how it affects participants.  No one is addressing that need in the market place right now.  However, don't aim the blog at Seniors, since that audience really doesn't read blogs.  Aim the audience and voice to have a conversation with the children of the participants.  These children are more tech savvy and are assisting their parents in understanding how this program works. Rite Aid could create a "bond" by starting a conversation with this niche market place and engaging them - long before their competition does.  (Unless of course they read this tip!)

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Comments

Nice review, Li. Rite Aid HQ are a mile from my house. They've had their ups and downs, and seem to be doing well now. Sammons is doing a nice job. Belated congratulations from getting picked up on the NYT "What's Online" column last Saturday. That must have driven a few readers your way.

Regards, John

Yes, Rite Aid would, in my opinion, benifit from a blog and/or a little more opem communication with their stockholders. But I can understand why their senior executives are all mum, i.e., libaility and what not.
Does anyone care to comment on heir recent stock nosedive? Yes, the economy is down and they didn't post positive numbers but that doesn't explain the tailspin in their stock price...makes one believe there is something more going on behind the scenes??

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