The Blake Project, the brand consultancy behind Branding Strategy Insider, delivers interactive brand education workshops and keynote speeches designed to align marketers on essential concepts in brand management and empower them to release the full potential of the brands they manage.
I think Howard Schultz blinked. It's understandable — when McDonald's runs ads that say, "four dollars is dumb," it's bound to piss him off. I'll be watching for the ads to see how he's responding.
BUT, I think he's missing the real value in the Starbucks proposition: He pioneered the "third space" notion — gotta go to work; gotta go home; Starbucks is the "green room" for both venues.
First up: Anyone who has ordered a cup of coffee at a McDonald's or Dunkin' Donuts knows they don't want you to linger there — and you don't want to. Their model is the old one — turn those tables, move 'em in and out, fast.
Starbucks is the place you go and feel it's perfectly okay to linger. That's a tremendous value — particularly as people get laid off and need a place to go (rather than hanging out at home in their bathrobes) to work on their resume, see people, wait for the interview or decompress after it.
I think Starbucks ought to be talking about that welcoming part of the brand DNA, that and then too, there's the less consumer-centric bits that still add up to a terrific brand personality, i.e. the professionalization of the barista — and the company's values in terms of health care and stock options for part-time workers, free trade coffee, all that.
Starbucks shouldn't be competing on price with McD's. Eeck.
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