The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]


Starbucks Know Their Customers …
June 1, 2007, 8:54 am
Filed under: Comment

So a while back, I highlighted how my local Starbucks had decided on a ‘Truth‘ policy where their food was concerned!

Well somehow they must of found out what I had done because today when I went in, I saw this moment of genius …

To be honest, I don’t think the ‘puff’ they are referring to is nearly as bad as the supposedly ‘less ugly’ one …

… but full marks to them for continuing the trend.

I personally can’t wait to see this philosophy adopted in other areas of their business – like their coffee sizes – which should go something like ‘BIG’, ‘BUCKET’ and ‘SWIMMING POOL’.

Being serious for a moment, I don’t know if Starbucks decided to create an ‘UGLIER CURRY PUFF’ [with chicken] for my benefit or not – but it certainly left a smile on my face which is surely one of the greatest things a brand can do for their customers.

Personally I believe a bit of innocent, mischievous fun can go a long, long way in building loyalty – hell, it is one of the reasons why Virgin is so loved [though it is part of the companies DNA, there is always method to their madness] – I just wish more companies didn’t feel so sick at the thought of demonstrating a sense of personality in how they interact with consumers, because it could make a massive difference to how they are perceived by society.

They probably think it is ‘unprofessional’ whereas I … a focus group of one … wants to spend abit more time with them.

[I should point out that when some companies do try to ‘let their hair down’ a little, they are obviously so petrified, they still come across badly – it’s just they move from bland, cold and soulless to stifled, embarrassing and out of date. Poor sods, ha!]


6 Comments

Its a good example though of how personality can make a big difference to how we see brands.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

if you did have that much influence over starbucks, rob – what else would you suggest (apart from the all-important cup sizes thing)? say if they came to you and said ‘we read your blog, liked what you had to say, help us lose our bad schtick’

Comment by lauren

You can tell Launen is trying desperately to prove she was not mad to nominate me for ‘think’ given the rubbish Marcus and I are embroiled in over at the ‘Intelligent Life Form Lives Here. [By That I Mean ‘Blogs’ In General, Not My Blog!]’ post.

Anyway to answer your question, I guess my starting point would be to get them to stop rotating their staff quite so often because regulars like building a rapport with the staff – and not just because it is nice to have people know what you like, but because office workers often go there to get out and forget about work for 10 mins [rather than because they’re actually craving a coffee] and having a chat with someone they ‘vaguely know’ [which isn’t about work] is nice.

[Lets ignore the fact that as much as Starbucks ‘pretends’ to offer a chilled out mood – the reality is their ‘coffee specialists’ spend the day screaming out orders to eachother even though they’re only 2 feet away, haha!

After that … well, how about you tell me what you think Lauren?

Comment by Rob

Id like them to bring back Small Medium and Large.

And call expresso “Tiny”.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

rob – i don’t justify my blog posts to anyone. so there.

however, having spent a fair bit of time in starbucks lately (don’t ask), i was having a ponder and wanted to know what you thought… and then there’s the whole A/PSOTW connection too..

i think the personal aspect of service is always a good idea. (which might mean paying their staff well enough so that they want to stick around).

i would also probably suggest that they actually close some of their stores (less is more kind of thing) ‘cos i think the thing that annoys people the most about starbucks (esp. in big cities), is that they’re fucking EVERYWHERE. beyond convenience into ubiquity.

Comment by lauren

What’s interesting is that Starfucks in Asia is a much nicer experience than in many Western countries … not just because they are in less supply (though there’s still tons of them) but because ‘customer attention’ is still fairly highly regarded here. There was a great documentary years ago detailing how service standards were linked to cultural psyche and I think that is having a major influence in how places like Starbucks are perceived around the World. Thinking about it, I think it would be a great A(P)SOTW assignment – especially as I don’t think Starbucks is as good a brand as it thinks it is. Brand Awareness and Distribution doesn’t always equate to Brand Adoration … as I kept telling Coke, haha.

Comment by Rob




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