John Moore’s Marketing Lessons from Starbucks

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Last week was the first event of this year for Texchange (my first as President). The speaker was John Moore, author of Tribal Knowledge and top marketing blog, Brand Autopsy.

The title of John’s presentation was "Business Wisdom Brewed from the Grounds of Starbucks". John was a senior marketing guy at Starbucks and Whole Foods. I told him Texchange was an audience of (mostly) B2B entrepreneurs and executives, yet his seemingly B2C message didn’t disappoint.

The lessons learned from Starbucks are applicable to any company. Essentially your employees are your marketing. The culture and passion inside is what becomes visible outside. John calls it inside out marketing.

Another point I should make, that I brought up to my discussion table. In order to create a brand like Starbucks, or any great brand, the key is to decide what NOT to do. Again, what NOT to do. Strip away activities, messages, and resources from anything not core to your core.

He presented several principles to the audience. Here are the two I liked most:

Building the Business Creates the Brand

GIST:  Starbucks was too busy building a business to worry about something as nebulous as branding. Because Starbucks was busy working in and on the business, the by-product was the creation of a powerful brand which connects on so many levels with people around the world. Rarely, if ever, can you sprinkle magical branding dust to create an enduring and endearing brand. Starbucks Tribal Knowledge tells us you cannot create a brand before you create a business. Your business creates your brand.

Make the Common Uncommon

GIST:  Starbucks has taken the common cup of coffee and made it uncommonly better by focusing on higher-quality coffee beans, longer roasting styles, and more intense and enjoyable coffee experiences.  Why? … because the marketplace is chock-full with all-too-similar goods and services in every category imaginable.  Lasting brand loyalty is built on making the common uncommon—because while a price advantage, or more convenient locations, or whiz-bang product features may vanish tomorrow, uncommon quality attracts and connects with your customers in a powerfully personal and permanent way.

2 Responses

  1. Unfortunately, Starbucks has flipped those notions on their head as Starbucks “the brand” has taken precedence over Starbucks “the business” or Starbucks “the place you go to for the best cup of coffee.”

  2. Kris says:

    Many brands aspire to achieve the personal relationships with their customers that Starbucks has developed. There is no other business I frequent where the staff actually knows my name and order, like the staff at my Starbucks. As an experiential marketer, I strive to create emotional attachments between brands and consumers–one could only hope that someday those experiences can be the pivotal moment where brands begin touching people the way Starbucks touches people. To learn more about experiential marketing, feel free to check out my blog at http://www.alternativemarketing101blog.com.

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