Posts Tagged ‘Starbucks

26
Nov
13

Starbucks: More Than Just a Cup of Coffee?

Thanks to Jordan McNamara, who is the Starbucks lover and contributor of this article.

Grande non-fat no-water single-pump gingerbread chai. That’s my current go-to drink when pulling through the Starbucks drive-thru, and I’ll admit no Saturday morning is complete without one (although I rarely make that my only weekly visit). I’ll also admit I’m a proud gold cardholder (pic), earning a free drink for every 12 purchased, and the app on my phone lets me pay, reload and track.Image

Adweek recently featured Starbucks among their “10 Brands That Changed the World” (http://bit.ly/1aqspFd), touting “they don’t merely influence our spending habits, they determine who we are.” Starbucks transformed the way we think about getting a cup of coffee, elevating it to become an affordable luxury. With sales reaching $13.29 Billion in 2012, Starbucks customers are nothing if not loyal. Paying $5 or more per drink, the average consumer visits the chain six times each month, according to Adweek. Their red Christmas cups ring in the holiday season, and terms like ‘half-caf,’ ‘grande,’ and ‘frappuccino’ have become a second language to many.

What makes Starbucks customers so loyal? As with any great brand, the answer is embedded in its culture. This culture can be defined as that intangible extra that keeps people coming back over and over. Starbucks has nailed the art of human connection, welcoming each customer in with big smiles and encouraging you to linger in over sized chairs at large tables over your cup of coffee. This personalized approach has turned buying a drink into an experience. Starbucks is a place you want to hang out with friends, study or hold a meeting, and this sense of belonging is at the heart of its brand culture. Equally important to Starbucks’ culture is Ethos bottled water, fair-trade coffee, free iTunes songs; all aspects that reinforce who Starbucks is and what the brand stands for.

ImageIn the age of technology, Starbucks has also mastered connecting with consumers beyond physical store locations. Member alerts via text and email, the Starbucks app, social media engagement and seasonal specials reinforce a sense of community between the brand and its customers. Generating an emotional response is key to reinforcing behavior and creating a devoted following, both areas where Starbucks excels. It’s not so much about the drink, but more what you feel when you’re there. Starbucks has capitalized on this feeling to turn a $.25 cup of coffee into a $5 experience—an experience that is felt in 17,500 locations in 61 countries. This sense of connectivity, this feeling, is consistent across locations.

Whether in Denver, New York or Los Angeles, each time you walk through a Starbucks door you know exactly what to expect. Your drink will be made exactly how you like it every time, which brings me to what is perhaps Starbucks’ largest branding achievement—personalization. Imagine another drive through where you can specify each detail of your order, down to temperature and ingredient amount. In an age where consumers are demanding to be part of the process, Starbucks has allowed their customers ultimate control.

What brands do you love? Tell us here! Does your brand need a makeover? Let us help at www.weiseideas.com. We will take you through our coveted navigator session to make your brand an experience.

19
May
11

When Redesign is Bad for Business

Since the launch of Starbucks in 1971, the brand has often been imitated. Marketing strategies, packaging, and even logo design and layout have been mimicked to compete with the swanky franchise and entice customers. McDonald’s is taking this imitation to the next level with a new store design that has been fashioned after the sleek and stylish Starbucks store model. In redesigning the look and feel of McDonald’s stores, the hope is that more high-end customers will be attracted to dine-in, linger and perhaps spend a few extra bucks. Although the McDonald’s redesign is to increase competitive edge, the renovations may prove to be counterproductive.

In an interview by USA Today, Max Carmona, McDonald’s senior director of U.S. restaurant design states, “we want restaurants to reflect our brand personality, which is one of being playful, energetic and optimistic.” However, as McDonald’s moves to make its design more contemporary and modern, one cannot help but recognize the immense similarities it has to the Starbucks model and how these changes are morphing drastically from the traditional McDonald’s image and brand personality.

Traditionally, McDonald’s stores have been known for their bright signature colors of cherry red and golden yellow, Ronald McDonald (the cartoon clown mascot), large golden arches and a child friendly environment equipped with playgrounds. The people drawn to eat in the stores are most often parents with children who enjoy the playful environment. Replacing these bright colors, toys and playground equipment with padded recliners, posh wooden tables and warm painted interiors will contradict the image they have in place. It will attract an adult customer base, but it will also derail families with younger children from visiting.

A January Ad Age report estimated Happy Meals account for about 10 percent of total McDonald’s sales. “If the newly remodeled McDonalds become too popular with leisurely adults seeking a relaxing atmosphere, McDonalds could alienate a customer base that has been the cornerstone of their growth for decades,” states Cynthia Wilson, consumer writer for Investor Place.

Reinventing the look and feel of a store can greatly enhance competitive edge. However, staying inline with the current image may prove more effective for the McDonalds. The Golden Arches better be sure the push towards laptop-toting professionals doesn’t alienate this important customer base, or else it will find its renovations not just costly but counterproductive.

Share your predictions and comments with us concerning McDonald’s redesign. Share with us on Facebook at Weise Communications and follow @Weise_Ideas on Twitter

23
Mar
11

Nescafe takes on Starbucks

Recent comparison ad asserts Taster’s Choice is better, cheaper, less pretentious

Taster’s Choice has launched an assault to protect market share against the Starbucks Via Ready Brew. The Instant, or soluble, coffee market is sizeable, according to a 2010 Reuters story the U.S. instant coffee market was $640 million – well worth taking a proactive approach to defend Taster’s Choice estimated 40 percent market share.

In this Sunday’s Denver Post, I received a sample of Taster’s Choice attached to the ad on the right. Personal disclaimer: I am not a soluble coffee drinker. To me, it is simply hot brown liquid. I gave my samples to the first person I met that said, “I drink instant coffee.” Instead, I found this story interesting from the perspective that a company will employ aggressive advertising to fiercely defend its market share.

By including an obvious reference to Starbucks with the green circle logo and packaging to mimic the Via, Taster’s Choice is placing their coffee on par with Starbucks simply by associating the two products. The web presence is even more aggressive, and they are including free samples of each Taster’s Choice flavor. If you want to try the free samples, check out the Taster’s Choice Free Sample Offer.

In the U.S. advertising that identifies a specific competitor is closely regulated and claims must be “substantiated, truthful and not misleading.” Since Starbucks is not named (although clear by reference) and the Nescafe claims are opinion-based, I doubt there is legal recourse. However, there are common mistakes that can undermine comparative advertising efforts:

  • Any intentional attempt to undermine the competitor’s reputation, credibility or image
  • Mistaken attribution of claim, since advertising is viewed passively, negative points made about a competitor could stick to the advertiser
  • Changing consumer perception often needs a more integrated approach, simply showing images of one product and the industry leader will not register with viewers

The reality is that if successful marketing were this easy, every product and service would simply place itself against the market leader and wait for the sales to roll in. However, when executed well, a comparison ad campaign can be exceptionally effective. Recognize the PC vs. Mac ads?

Tell us if you think Taster’s Choice will be successful using this marketing approach or if you think it will backfire. Share your best comparison ads with us on Facebook at Weise Communications and follow @Weise_Ideas on Twitter.

 

 




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