It’s been said that there are two kinds of people in the world; those that divide the world into two kinds of people, and those that don’t. I do.
There are two kinds of people in the world. Those that like Starbucks, and those that don’t. I love Starbucks.Yes, it’s pricey, but I usually visit my local Starbucks on El Camino two or three times a week. My girlfriend would probably guess more frequently, but I’m not ready to admit to that.
This week Starbucks is celebrating their 40th anniversary. Regardless of what you think of their coffee, you have to respect that they’ve done a few things quite well from a business perspective. In conjunction with their 40th anniversary, they rolled out their new logo. It’s not really all that new — but more of a modification. Essentially they stripped out the band with the text that read “Starbucks Coffee,” leaving only the siren.
There was an uproar when they announced the new logo back in January. Some of my designer and marketing friends were up in arms over the new design. “Big mistake” was the consensus. Now that it’s here, I don’t hear much from anyone. Certainly it didn’t seem to reduce the morning lineup at Starbucks. It didn’t confuse, confound or bother the average customer at all. Either they didn’t notice, or didn’t really care. If they did notice, it was a novelty — “Oh, look! They changed the logo!” A sort of positive vibe that keeping it fresh provides the brand.
Mark Hurst profiled Starbucks in last week’s Good Experience newsletter. He notes that the formula that drove success at Starbucks began to falter a couple years ago, but they’ve appeared to turn this around. CEO Howard Schultz explained to the Wall Street Journal how they turned things around. “Putting our feet in the shoes of the customer…” was his key message. Note that the average customer wasn’t bothered by the logo change. The noise generated by the design and branding community was simply that — noise.
Last week at Linked OC, Seth Godin shared an interesting anecdote about Starbucks. He noted that when they originally opened, they did not sell coffee. They sold coffee beans, but not coffee by the cup. The formula faltered until they brought in a new CEO who brought in the idea of serving espresso drinks such as he had seen in Italy, and the rest is history.
Where is all this headed? Well, we’ve established that I like Starbucks. Two out of my three offspring have worked for Starbucks (one still does). And Starbucks, in spite of all their success was not and is not immune to mis-steps, either. The key has been, and remains — keeping the customer in mind.
So then, who is your customer? And are they on your mind?