Today we have chosen Starbucks as an example of successful brand history, which most of you know is the topic for our monthly Brand Whisperer section. So what has kept it going for all these years? What secret do they not want to tell us? Why is it like a magnet for people – even if the nearest coffee shop is 50 miles from home? Why? Allow me to expand on this.
The Starbucks story started in 1971, when 3 friends opened a shop where they were selling fresh coffee. They did not have many customers back then, that is how they had the opportunity to spend so much time and effort into each customer – selling not just coffee beans, but a warm and welcoming atmosphere and an experience like no other coffee shop : they told stories about the history of coffee, sharing their own thoughts and opinions, basically creating a feeling of love and appreciation for coffee.
So much has changed since then, but not their attention to their customers and their passion for fresh high quality coffee. Now there are over 20,000 Starbucks coffee shops around the globe. I know you will all agree with me, in that once you see their green logo on the window – you instantly have a craving for coffee, and have an urge to pop in-store.
Starbucks Is Not Just Coffee
When customers were asked why they come to Starbucks? Their answer was to have a unique experience, this is what the team has been working on for many years. Comfortable chairs, fireplaces in some coffee shops, sofas, a nice warm welcoming atmosphere, and free wi-fi. What an excellent idea; to allow customers to sit, relax and enjoy their coffee, rather than the ‘drink up and get out’ strategy in most other coffee chains.
Whats Your Name, Dude?
It is so so simple, but so very pleasant! What can be more personal than a cup of coffee with your name on it? The contents are your own personal tastes and flavours, that you enjoy most. Now that’s both engaging and personable!
Doors & Windows
The company is really fussy about choosing the right space to set up a Starbucks. If the building door faces north, no chance! The Starbucks team want bright airy spaces, they want their customer’s to experience actual daylight, with windows from floor to ceiling, Starbucks premises are always bright and fresh. Reflecting on this, just now – I can think of about five coffee chains who have dark and dull premises, the lights are constantly on. Nothing beats natural light, and Starbucks have really pioneered in this regard.
You can always buy a CD with the music that is playing that day in Starbucks. This can be done in every Starbucks in the world: Seattle, New York, Milan, Tokyo. This makes customers engage and feel even closer and more important to the company.
That is what successful branding is all about: experience, touch, and design. We believe, that a company can not survive without those 3 attributes. Try define your companies 3 main attributes and if you find it hard then feel free to give us a call and we can certainly help you in defining them over a coffee?
Article written by Paul Mc Cann Founder and President of CDG Brand.