Has your Starbucks experience been watered down?

If you’ve been feeling that way recently, jump on over to conversation on the Brand Autopsy blog. John Moore, who spent 8 years as a marketer inside Starbucks, is requesting your thoughts on what Starbucks needs to do to get back on track. This is all in response to a leaked memo from Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz admitting that they need to “get back to the core” of who they are.

wmsd_small_crop_sidebar.jpgSince almost all of us have had the Starbucks experience in one version or another, we’re all qualified & encouraged to jump on in and share our thoughts. John is compiling them for a free e-Book on What Starbucks Must Do.

  • http://www.brainsonfire.com Mr. Steve

    I have been following this (on my own time, of course Robbin), and I really want to extend some kudos to John. He initially reacted VERY strongly against the validity of this email. But within minutes of the email being verified, John issued an apology, and started blogging about what Starbucks had to do to make things right again. I had a great amount of respect for John before, and his response to all this has increased that. If you can wade through all the posts, the story goes like this: “Howard Schultz (Starbucks CEO) would never send something like this, but he should”…then, “holy cow, Howard Schultz DID send something like this, but why the heck did he do it now and not two years ago”…and finally, “Howard Schultz barely said anything, so what can WE do about it.” If you’ve got time, please read…there are some great nuggets of wisdom in there. And if you don’t have much time, send John an email about what would make your local Starbucks more “YOUR” and “LOCAL” than “Starbucks”.

  • http://www.spinningsilkmultimedia.com Patrick

    I spend a lot of time if coffee shop but the only time I really spend at a Starbuck is for a quick walk in or drive thru. I’ve also been faced with the ironic situation that it seems to take them forever to prepare my coffee yet at the same time I get a sense they want to rush my out of there or don’t go out of their way to make me feel at “home”. One danger of “branding” is appearing too “corporate” and of all the coffee shops Starbucks seems to lack a personal feel but come across as more cold and sterile. In recent years Greenville has become the home to other coffee shops. Port City Java seems like they are doing the “starbucks thing” but they are doing it right by offering free wi-fi, having more personal feel to their shops, etc. While they are a chain they don’t seem like a chain. I also want to draw attention to a great “brand” being developed right here in Greenville and that’s the Leopard Forest Coffee Company. They operate out of a rather simple no-frils” location in Travelers Rest. The coffee they grow,(yes, they have their own plantation in Africa) and roast their own beans. Not only to they have their own shop but they are expanding their brand at places like the Snap Shot Cafe and Port City Java by offering their beans to these establishments. Feel free to contact me for addition thoughts for the e-Book.

  • Christy

    Thank you for sharing this opportunity to help shape a company that has so much promise. I’ll send this along the right channels as well, but thought it was worth noting here that Starbucks has an opportunity in smaller towns, like Greenville and Ann Arbor. The opportunity is to take that proven model of business and re-evaluate how they integrate into each city/town/neighborhood. Starbucks was quickly heading down the Wal-Mart path, and appeared to be the coffee shop that was out to kill the local shops. But, if they can customize to meet the desires of each locale, Starbucks can leverage the addictive factor of their products and evolve into a local oasis with the backing of a national network of knowledge.

  • Hew

    If Starbucks worried about the romance of the experience and the customer recognition of Starbucks as a roaster of Coffee, it is worth considering the placement of their stores and the mode in which the store sells. For example, I purchase Starbucks frequntly at airports where they are only a short walk away from Cinnabon and McDonalds, it is not too hard to associate the airport kiosk as more commodity than experience there. The kiosks obviously lack the strong aroma in the air, the ambiance of an Italian cafe or one of Milan’s coffee street vendors, and most certainly there is no roasting equipment behind the kiosk. Also, if this is such a major concern, the drive-through Starbuck is an obvious departure from the cafe experience, even if one’s latte is “to go.”