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September 17, 2007

Richard Florida

Think Big!

« Talent, Talent, Talent | Main | Loyal Employees Stay Home »

Fabulous article in the WSJ today about consumer spending.  Why do some companies get it and others stand idly by?  Propel, Starbucks, the Luna Bar, Zara, Starwood all had my vote years ago. 

Check out the story here Brands

Posted by Rana


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Wendy Waters

Interesting article. It somewhat talks around what I think is the real innovation for these companies -- they sell not just a product but an image and a lifestyle, and, they do it subtly, allowing the consumer to "discover" the product themselves to a large degree.

Coke and Pepsi hit you over the head with advertising. It's over done. You know you're being marketed to.

How often do you see a Starbucks ad? I never do. I see Starbucks everywhere, and I see Starbucks sponsoring events that I enjoy, like a Shakespeare festival or a charity running race. They sell themselves as being part of a lifestyle in this more subtle way.


The most ads I see for starbuck are actually in starbucks.... also, on the sponsor stuff, i think starbucks gives their local and regional managers a lot of space in terms of their engagement with their local communities...

Michael Wells

Starbucks doesn't need billboards. Their recognizable brand is on awnings in every city and shopping mall in America. While the layouts of the shops differ to fit different consumer groups (some are more officelike, others more denlike with easy chairs), the logo, counters & products are uniform.

One thing I've noticed is that their employees are happy, communicative and positive -- except those in airports, who tend to be sullen and act like minimum wage slaves. Does Starbucks contract out the airport business?


Michael - you hit the nail on the head with the Starbucks' in airports (yes, they are typically contracted out). If I were Starbucks, I would not contract out their operations to third-party employers like Aramark, HMSHost, etc. who are notorious for unfriendly employees at airports. Starbucks' friendly, well-trained, and well-compensated employees are such an important and integral part of their brand and customer experience that I think it really damages them to go this other route in airports (which should be a natural market for them anyways). Hopefully airport authorities can and are structuring future concessions contracts so that concessionaires have more leeway in hiring. The third-party vendors of name brand retailers at airports also seems to affect other brands as well, including Burger King, etc.

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