Here is a great example of how strong brands get even stronger by knowing and listening to their customers.
The post below details how Starbucks, arguably one of the strongest brands out there today, is looking to brand extensions to increase store activity and to further deliver on their promise of being a destination to their customers.
While entering the cheese and wine market is all fine and good, what is most impressive about this article is the link at the bottom to the other story about how Starbucks is asking their baristas to slow down. At first glance, this is counter-intuitive to what we think a retail food chain with a drive through window should be. But kudos to Starbucks for recognizing that getting their order fast is not important for all their customers.
For Starbucks, the barista IS the Starbucks Experience. Always has been. Go into any Starbucks and try to stump the barista with a drink they cannot make. It usually cannot be done. Combine their coffee-making expertise with their knack for remembering their regular customer’s favorite drink and you have the Starbucks Experience. In the end, it is not the chairs but the barista that makes the difference.
When you walk into a Starbucks, you are fully immersed into the brand. The aroma, the music, the comfy chairs. It is all around you. But that is just the atmosphere. The interactive part of the brand is the barista. So automating this crucial brand touchpoint for customers inside the store is a total disconnect.
People in the drive through, however, have a different expectation of the Starbucks brand. They want their drink made to order and delivered fast so that there is not a back-up at the drive through. That is only way for the drive through customers to rate the Starbucks Experience.
Hats off to Starbucks for keeping the customer in mind and understanding key touchpoints.
Now, can we go back to the olden days when the barista would write the name of the drink on the cup with a Sharpie instead of slapping a pre-printed label on the outside?