Duane Reade “Gets Social” to Break Twitter Records!

Cristina Avila    March 7, 2015

Duane Reade Logo

Organization Name: Duane Reade

Industry: Pharmacy

Name of Contact: Calvin Peters, Public Relations & Digital Communications Manager

Web References: Twitter for Business, Ted Rubin Strategist Talk, Drugstore News, PR Newswire, Mobile Commerce Daily, Marketing Land

Description of How Social Media is Used for Business Performance:

Duane Reade Store Front

When it comes to creating a relevant and actionable conversation across multiple social media platforms, New York City’s drugstore of choice Duane Reade, truly takes the cake.

As part of the Walgreens family of drugstores, regional chain Duane Reade operates over 250 locations throughout New York City’s metropolitan area. This well-known brand prides itself on leveraging an authentic social media strategy built on the pillars of being relevant, timely and mobile-first.

The following video is an overview of how this non-traditional drugstore concept successfully caters to the convenience-driven New Yorker in a way unlike its competitors.


In late 2012 after successfully re-branding and renovating stores, Duane Reade was in search of a way to connect traditional promotional tactics with social and digital channels. Ultimately the retailer wanted to “get social”, increasing Twitter followers to cultivate brand advocacy, drive engagement and generate sales.

Duane Reade identified and tapped into 20 of its most influential brand advocates by treating them like VIPs. Providing these ambassadors with first-access to Duane Reade’s promotional calendar, enabled them to produce engaging and authentic content on behalf of the brand. The “VIP Blogger Team” effectively brought the brand to life by sharing their experiences with Duane Reade products in a genuine and emotional way, amplifying the retailers overall digital presence and reach.

“Our goal has always been social community building and expanding relevant engagement to enhance our overall customer experience” says Calvin Peter, Public Relations & Digital Communications Manager.

Utilizing what is defined as the Parallel Persuasion Equation, Duane Reade’s approach to digital marketing initiatives is “an equation based on brand advocacy, brand voice, PR integration and conversation relevance” says Peters.


This innovative equation has received industry recognition, winning Duane Reade the 2013 Silver Hub Prize for Social Shopper Media and Shopper Marketing campaigns.

“Duane Reade is able to successfully generate tangible revenue (by) seamlessly reaching customers across various platforms – whenever and wherever they are, with the authentic and relevant consumer-generated media that they crave and have come to expect” says Peters.

Duane Reade has cultivated a distinct brand voice on Twitter that is informative, fun and always connected to its vast New York metropolitan footprint. The brand’s strength is posting useful, interesting content such as corporate news, vendor promotions and media coverage in addition to unique consumer generated media from social influencers and brand ambassadors. Asking location-based, time sensitive questions provoke action amongst the retailer’s enthusiastic and engaged followers.

Social is local. Speak directly to your customers in a direct and relevant way throughout the purchase funnel, essentially allowing your digitally savvy consumers to act as co-marketers for your social brand initiatives” says Peters.

Lessons for Others:

As a result of perfecting how to use mobile, social and content development to maintain relevance with their target customer, Duane Reade is the most actively followed pharmacy worldwide on Twitter today, with just under 2 million followers.

Duane Reade has proven that if done right, engaging an online community through innovative social media tactics is an effective marketing approach that can drive engagement and reach.

 “We are already focused on attracting our next million followers and increasing our community engagement across all owned platforms to continue having important and relevant conversations with our customers” says Deepika Pandey, VP Digital Marketing and Customer Experience, Walgreens.

The  following audio clip provides a similar perspective on how to engage followers – using relevant, engaging questions to spark conversation amongst followers, ultimately creating newer, more robust content.

Submitted By: Cristina Avila

To contact the author of this entry please email at: cristina.l.avila@hotmail.com

If you have concerns as to the accuracy of anything posted on this site please send your concerns to Peter Carr, Programme Director, Social Media for Business Performance.