As the guy who wrote “Everything I know about Business I learned from Star Trek” (not to mention similar stories that dredge business lessons out of golf, Wayne Gretzky and the Winter Olympics), I am a sucker for articles that mine pop-culture artifacts for business insights.
Inc Magazine online has a great story on “What You Can Learn from Starbucks.” http://www.inc.com/resources/marketing/articles/20050401/starbucks.html
Writer Adam Hanft admits that Starbucks’s success has been covered to death, but maintains there are lots of things still to learn from the purveyor of the expensive hot water and cheap meeting rooms. As he points out, nothing is random at Starbucks; everything is calculated to enhance brand image or add value to the customer experience. As he writes:
“My local Starbucks in New York City even has a little tray at the register with the business cards of the manager and the assistant manager. Very clever. Makes them feel good, and it lets customers know that someone is in charge and accountable no less -- an increasingly rare commodity in today's retail environment.”
Hanft sums up with this humbling insight… humbling because it is something we could all be doing if we were clever enough:
“In today's hyper price-sensitive world, where all of us are faced with driving down costs every day, it's easy to forget that markets -- if developed properly -- have more upward elasticity than many give them credit for. Of course, commanding this higher price demands relentless attention to the brand delivery system I've been talking about.”