Hey, that’s me!
My friend Richard loves Starbucks coffee. From time to time, we end up at his favorite Starbucks to talk business and drink brew. He likes his coffee strong. Mine looks like coffee but is so cut with water and Half and Half that it ends up -- at best -- only a pale imitation of coffee.
The Blonde Roast ad caught my eye because it told a truth that I’ve never chosen to reveal to Richard: I don't LIKE Starbucks coffee, although I DO like the immersive conviviality of Starbucks’ shops, where there’s enough buzz swirling about the place that we can speak normally without being overheard by people outside the diameter of our small table.
Blonde Roast has been around for a while now and is said to have generated as much as 70% incremental sales in Starbucks cafes and more than that in the grocery aisle. But the pop-up campaign is the first I’d heard of it. And it really hit my hot button.
First, because I have felt cheated out of the complete Starbucks experience. At long last, I will be able to enjoy a “real” Starbucks with my conversation now that the 54% of us who prefer the lighter fare finally are getting our due. Ya-huh!
And second, because I admire the company’s gutsy admission that not all people like their products – plus their willingness to field an alternative.
Am I likely to show up more often at my local Starbucks? Probably not, since what little coffee drinking I do most often happens at home. But next time Richard calls about a conversation and some brew, I will have a new treat to look forward to. Fact is, now that I've been suitably teased, I can’t wait to try that smooth, mellow, flavorful Blonde Roast, the one that claims to “awaken the senses gently.”
Now who wouldn’t want that!?
TakeAway: Have the courage to stretch beyond your normal business vision. You may be surprised at the new customers you find there.
Text and images © Brian E. Faulkner except where noted. All rights reserved.
Tags: Starbucks, coffee, Blonde Roast, new product, grocery, experience, business vision
Brian Faulkner is a Key Message expert. He helps clients come up with words to set their businesses, brands and products apart and attract the customers they want most. His strategic insights, and the words that go with them, have made a significant, often immediate difference for client companies. He thrives on strategic communication problem solving, complex subjects, new ideas, concepts-as-products, challenging marketing situations and demanding deadlines. His "sweet spot" is smaller to moderate sized consumer products, retail, service and manufacturing companies that may have struggled to find just the right words to position their business, brands or products to competitive advantage.
Brian also is a three-time Emmy award winning Public Television writer and narrator of UNC-TV’s popular Our State magazine series, on the air since 2003.