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Focus Consumer – Starbucks Gets It.

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The announcement

Starbucks announced it will close 7100 stores for 3 hours tonight to bring 135k employees together as a refresher of the mission- Great Coffee.

They Get It.

What I thought was most brilliant about this approach is it says several things to the majority of consumers and I imagine tomorrow will be one of the highest producing days on record for the coffee giant. This public approach (rather than hiding it) says they get it. They’ve gotten so big that maybe they were getting off course, but the company is willing to put some serious cash behind the message, demonstrating to it’s employees that it is beyond serious when it comes to the coffee experience at Starbucks. It says the same to me as a consumer and it’s a win if tomorrow my drink at Starbucks is a winner.

My Thoughts

Becoming complacant in any business today is a weakness no one can afford. Remaining the dominant player is not an easy feat when the bullseye on your back grows daily.

Real Estate

I think some of the big real estate brokerages around the nation should get together not for sales meetings and 2008 strategy sessions- how about instead coming together on behalf of the consumer experience?

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Benn Rosales is the Founder and CEO of The American Genius (AG), national news network. Before AG, he founded one of the first digital media strategy firms in the nation has received the Statesman Texas Social Media Award and is an Inman Innovator Award winner. He has consulted for numerous startups (both early- and late-stage), and is well known for organizing the digital community through popular offline events. He does not venture into the spotlight often, rather he believes his biggest accomplishments are the talent he recruits and develops, so he gives all credit to those he's empowered.

10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Mike Price

    February 26, 2008 at 10:02 pm

    I personally think this was orchestrated as a buzz marketing campaign. It has all the earmarks of something Mark Hughes would have been the architect over and it has worked famously. Getting people to talk about your product is the currency of marketing these days. The press, social media and more have fawned all over this effort. I’m not saying it was disingenuous, far from it. But make no mistake, the retraining of the employees could have been done in a way that would not have required the stores to be closed. In order for a company the size of Starbucks to create buzz, they need to think outside the box. I have no doubt in my mind that the return on investment from closing the stores will show an astounding return. I have no doubt that this will become a text book case study that will focus more on the marketing aspect than the operational focus of what some may have seen as a risky decision.

  2. KC Investments

    February 26, 2008 at 10:11 pm

    Marketing or focus? Whatever. If it’s happening at Starbucks either Benn or Jeff Brown will know about it. Jeez guys. Ever heard of a Coke?

    Oh, and tell Lani I said “Hello” and “Get Better!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

  3. JB

    February 27, 2008 at 2:51 am

    A Coke? A friend once worked as a young man for a soft drink company at one of their plants. He noticed two things causing me to drink coffee instead of soda.

    He had to replace his rubber boots every 90 days as they eroded to nothing through constant direct contact with the product.

    The truck mechanics there used the product as a solvent to clean up engine blocks etc.

    Oh miss? Would you please make that a Venti with room? Thanks

  4. Kris Berg

    February 27, 2008 at 10:08 am

    Mike – Don’t agree that they couldn’t have done it without closing shop for the night. As the mother of a Starbucks barista, I have been getting an earful. With the employee turnover (remember, we are talking about a younger crowd), too many of the current employees weren’t privy to the old way of doing things. They are having to not only retrain but deprogram.

    So, to make it more of a general argument, whether an company or industry is trying to move back or move ahead, it’s this “deprogamming” that is the difficulty, no? Learning something “new” is tricky, there is resistance, and sometimes a lock down is needed to truly effect change. More Brokers should try this approach. 🙂

  5. Mike Price

    February 27, 2008 at 11:24 am

    I have to admit I do not frequent Starbucks unless I am out of town and have no idea where else to grab a quick cup of Joe. I find it bitter and would rather have a cup of plain old Maxwell House.

    I have no doubt in the sincerity of the program to get the company back on track, I guess with time zones and the sheer volume of stores/employees being what they are, they could not have done this without shutting down. I still believe strongly that they recognized the spin in the effort and worked it from as many marketing angles as possible. I am not being critical of it, I’m actually quite impressed.

  6. Benn Rosales

    February 27, 2008 at 12:08 pm

    Isn’t it both. If your company or organization has a pr problem in that the product (in this case coffee) is suffering and people know it- what better way to use a problem to an advantage that says “we’re solving the problem.” The intent is to shore up the product by retraining, at the same time, letting the consumer see there was an issue, and we’re willing to lose money to make it right. I call it taking a stand in a win/win. Call it spin, call it what you like, it will work because I’m a consumer of their product and I’m willing to buy into it. If you never liked it to start with, you may never buy into anything they do.

    But take the larger point. Stop with the sales meetings and start with the consumer focus meetings. Post upcoming.

  7. Bob Wilson

    February 27, 2008 at 3:40 pm

    I just want to know if they plan on teaching them how to steamguide properly steam milk so the foam doesn’t look like a bubble bath (hint: don’t re-steam the milk).

  8. Mike Price

    February 27, 2008 at 3:51 pm

    I don’t care for their product, but that has nothing to do with what I think of their business model, which thus far has been a good one. My opinion remains unchanged.

  9. Kris Berg

    February 27, 2008 at 5:23 pm

    Bob, That is indeed one of the “Biggies” they are reteaching. 🙂

  10. Sparky

    February 27, 2008 at 7:41 pm

    Did you catch the story on Fox last night during the training sessions? SB patrons were totally ‘jacked’ and upset ‘cuz the doors were locked, but they could see in, and see all the workers in there, and they couldn’t get their fix. So they all went just down the street to Dunkin Donuts…

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